What route did Europeans first take to get to the Mississippi River?

Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto became the first European to reach the Mississippi River during a treasure-hunting expedition in 1539-42.

Sailing from Havana, Cuba, De Soto landed at Tampa Bay, Florida, and traveled by a meandering route through what are now Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.

After crossing the river and reaching what are now Arkansas and Louisiana, he died of a fever and was buried in the Mississippi River.