Ponce de Leon Explores Florida

Ponce de Leon was the governor of Puerto Rico and due to political intrigue within the Spanish Empire he was encouraged to explore a new “island” that was said to be to the Northwest. On March 4th 1513, he set forth on an expedition that he financed from Puerto Rico. On April 2nd they sited land, and which they called Florida. To this day the exact location of the landing has been disputed, some believe it was where St Augustine is today others believe it is Melbourne Beach. After exploring the area the fleet explored further south. Leon sailed through the Florida Keys and then up the West coast of Florida. After eight months he returned to Puerto Rico. Ponce de Leon was greeted as a hero in Spain and given a further charter to explore Florida. He sailed with a new fleet in 1515, but when Ferdinand died in Spain the exploration was cut short.

In 1521 Ponce de Leon led another expedition to Florida. This one goal was to settle Florida. They arrived at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. There they were attacked by the Calusa indians. Leon was injured in the attack by a poison arrow. He soon died from his wounds and that ended the expedition. Over the years the story has taken hold that Leon was seeking the mythical fountain of youth. That story seems not based on historic evidence

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