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“L” is for Lady of Cofitachiqui

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  “L” is for Lady of Cofitachiqui, the leader of a powerful Indian chiefdom. She welcomed Hernando de Soto and his Spanish conquistadors in 1540 when they entered her territory [probably near the present site of Camden]. There are various Spanish accounts of the encounter. One describes her crossing of what is probably the Wateree River to Cleopatra's descending the Nile. However, another account ruefully regrets the Spaniard's mistreatment of the lady and her tribe. The Spaniards were disappointed that there was no gold in the area, but they were delighted to receive gifts of a large quantity of corn and pearls. They then took the lady and her retinue as hostages. Near the Cataloocheee River in what is now North Carolina, the lady of Cofitachiqui and her attendants escaped their captors and returned home.