The town of Mabila (or Mavila, Mavilla, Mauvilla) was a small fortress town known to Chief Tuskaloosa in 1540, in a region of present-day central Alabama. The exact location has been debated for centuries, but southwest of present-day Selma, Alabama, is one possibility. Mabila was a Trojan-horse, fake village concealing over 2500 native warriors, planning to attack the expedition of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540.
Sylvia Flowers, "DeSoto's Expedition", U.S.
National Park Service, 2007, webpage:
thumb|310px |DeSoto's route: map shows Mabila (lower left, in green circle) in Hernando de Soto's extensive expedition though Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and into Arkansas.
When Hernando de Soto had first met Tuskaloosa at his home village, and asked him for supplies, Tuskaloosa advised them to travel to another of his towns, known as Mabila, where supplies would be waiting. A native messenger was sent ahead to Mabila, but when Tuskaloosa and the first group of Spaniards arrived, Tuskaloosa simply asked them to leave. When a fight broke out between one soldier and a native, many hidden warriors emerged from houses and began shooting arrows. The Spaniards fled, leaving their possessions inside the fortress. The full conflict that resulted is called the Battle of Mabila.
The single primary source about DeSoto's expedition was
written by Hernández de Biedma. Another account usually
described as that of DeSoto's aide Rodrigo Ranjel,
survives only partially in a summary history written by
Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés. That secondary
source had a strong influence on the formation of the
text generally known as the Relaçam of the
" Gentleman of Elvas" and then, in turn, on the
writing of Garcilaso de la Vega's Florida del Inca.
(see review of The Hernando de Soto Expedition:
History, Historiography, and Discovery in the Southeast
in Journal of Interdisciplinary History 30.3,
Winter 1999, webpage: