DeSoto County, Mississippi

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DeSoto County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. DeSoto County is part of the Metropolitan Memphis (TN-AR-MS) Statistical Area. Its county seat is Hernando[1]. As of 2000, the population was 107,199. By 2009, the county grew to an estimated population of 158,719. It is now the third most populous county in Mississippi and the second most populous county in metro Memphis.



The county seat, Hernando, is named in honor of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, who allegedly died there in May 1542, although some believe that he died near Lake Village, Arkansas. See here for a list of sites associated with the de Soto Expedition.

Early History

At its organization on February 9, 1836, DeSoto County stretched from the Tennessee state line on the north to the Tate County line on the south; from the Mississippi River and Tunica County on the west to Marshall County on the east. A mistake in surveying placed the state line at what is now Winchester Road in Shelby County, Tennessee. In 1838, the line was resurveyed and moved to its present location.

Indian artifacts collected in DeSoto County link it with prehistoric groups of Woodland and Mississippian Indians.

The Mississippian Indians met Hernando DeSoto when he explored North Mississippi and, traditionally, came through DeSoto County. Some scholars project that DeSoto discovered the Mississippi River west of present-day Lake Cormorant, built rafts there and crossed to Crowley's Ridge, Arkansas. The National Park Service declared a "DeSoto Corridor" from the Chickasaw Bluff (Memphis) to Coahoma County, Mississippi.

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