The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore Florida. They were the first Europeans to walk across Texas. They were the first Europeans to see the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Ocean, and the Pacific Coast. And everything they saw, they claimed for Spain. In fact, Spain once claimed about two-thirds of the land that makes up the continental United States.
Spain’s explorations of the then-uncharted United States mostly were launched by land from Mexico, which the Spanish conquered in 1521. Spanish expeditions headed northward into the present-day American Southwest. They reached as far north as Northern California. They traveled as far east as Kansas. They also sailed along the Pacific Coast to Alaska.
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