Panfilo de Narvaez, a Spanish soldier and
explorer, was given the right to conquer and
govern Florida and the unexplored land of the
northern Gulf of Mexico coast. He landed in
Tampa Bay in 1528 and marched north in
search of gold. The expedition lost contact
with its ships and had to build new boats at the
shore of Apalachee Bay in northwestern
Florida. While here Narvaez did much
exploring in what is now Bay County.
In 1538, Hernando De Soto, another Spanish
explorer, was named governor of Cuba and
Florida and began a three year expedition
throughout much of the southeastern United
States in search of the gold he never found.