Alabama
Hernando de Soto Trail - Childersburg
An Exercise in Caution
The De Soto Trail panel in
Childersburg leaves no doubt
that the route of the expedition
through Alabama is a hotly
debated issue.
Signpost to the Past
For nearly seventy years, this
monument in Childersburg has
pointed the way to the nearby site
of  Old Coosa, a 19th Century
Creek village that some believe
was identical with the "Coca" or
"Cosa" of the de Soto expedition.
To say that the route of Spanish conquistador
Hernando de Soto through Alabama is disputed
is putting it mildly.  There is probably no aspect
of the state's history that has ever been debated
with as much passion.

One school of thought, the so-called Hudson
theory, holds that the expedition passed much
further to the north than previously believed. In
fact, he places the key Native American town of
Coosa (closely identified with the Creek or
Muscogee Indians of Alabama) far inside of
Northeast Georgia. A second, or Alabama theory,
favors a more southerly route. The third major
theory, advanced by the U.S. DeSoto
Commission back in the 1930s also favors the
southern route.

The DeSoto Commission placed Coosa at a
Native American site near Childersburg,
prompting the community's long identification
with the Spanish explorers. While the various
theories disagree as to this possibility, all
generally agree that - regardless of the location
of Coosa - the expedition probably passed
somewhere near Childersburg on its way down
the Coosa River.
The Cosa Monument stands next
to U.S Highway 280 in
Childersburg. In addition to
commemorating the passage of
the Spanish explorers, the small
roadside park also memorializes
the sacrifices of local veterans.
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