Ponce de Leon     By: Anna Leenerts

Introduction

Ponce de Leon was a very well known Spanish explorer. Everyone saw him as a great success. He traveled the seas looking for the Fountain of Youth. Although nobody saw it, he had his “ups and downs.” Ponce de Leon was a great explorer.

In the Beginning

Ponce de Leon was born around 1460 in Santeveras de Campos, Spain. Although he was not born into a very wealthy family, he was born to a noble family. Boys born to a noble family were sent to other families to prepare them to become knights. That’s exactly what Ponce de Leon did.

What Inspired Ponce de Leon to be an Explorer?

Ponce de Leon was sent to live with Don Pedro Nunez de Guzman. That’s when he knew he wanted to be an explorer. He learned how to read, write, serve families, practice religion, hunt, and prepare for battle. Then he learned about the Fountain of Youth. Like many other explorers, he could not hold back his excitement for it anymore.

What was the Fountain of Youth and Why did he want to Explore it?

The Fountain of Youth is a mythical fountain where rumors were told to find the Fountain of Youth on a Caribbean island called Bimini. The rumors said that those who drank from the miraculous waters would be “renewed” and would be able to live forever. After hearing about the Fountain of Youth his interest overwhelmed him. In 1513 he led a private journey to Bimini from Puerto Rico. In one months time, he and his men landed, but they were not where they wanted to be.

In 1513 Ponce de Leon led a private journey to Bimini from Puerto Rico. In one months time he and his men landed on the coast of Florida instead. Although he did not mean to, he explored the new land to see if anything interesting was on it. When he was done exploring the land he returned back home, but not before naming the it “ La Florida” because of its lavish landscape and beautiful beaches. “La Florida” means “Place of Flowers”.

Last Days

In Ponce de Leon’s last days, he sailed again for Florida in 1513. He sailed with two ships and 200 men with an intent on settling the island. This time when he was sailing toward Florida, he was hit with an arrow during an Indian attack. As soon as Ponce de Leon was hit, he and his men fled back to Cuba to try to heal him. Unfortunately, he soon died of the wound.

Conclusion

Ponce de Leon had a huge affect on our lives. He discovered and named Florida, was named the military governor of Bimini, governor of Puerto Rico, and governor of the Higuey region of Hispaniola. He died in July 1521 when he was 61 years old. Ponce de Leon will hopefully be remembered and know for all his great adventures, discoveries, and accomplishments.

Quotes

The mines are running well, though war is no help since every day more Caciques rebel and refuse to go (to work). The Caribs have always been bad for this island.

- Ponce de Leon

Among my services I have discovered at my own cost and expense, the Island La Florida, and others in its district, that have not been mentioned as they are small and inconsequential.

- Ponce de Leon

The Discovery of Florida