Ponce de Leon was
trained as a warrior and public servant. De Leon sailed on
the second voyage of Christopher Columbus and with his
family, settled on Hispaniola (Dominican Republic). Columbus
had been promised by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that
any lands he discovered would be his to govern and when he
died, that right would pass to his son. But, upon his death,
the king and queen did not hold up their end of the bargain.
Instead of Columbus, De Leon was asked by the king and queen
to colonize Puerto Rico. He did so easily.
In the meantime,
Diego Columbus had gone to court and won the right to govern
again. De Leon did not want to serve under Columbus. He had
heard Indian tales of great riches and a legendary Fountain
of Youth on an island named Bimini in the Bahama Islands. So
he sought and was granted the right to explore the Bahamas
and northward towards Florida. Six days after Easter Sunday,
1513, de Leon and his men landed in Florida near St.
Augustine. He named the land "Pascua Florida" which meant
"the place of flowers." He continued his explorations of the
Florida coasts, both east and west and realized that this
land was not a large island as he had previously believed.
He encountered Calusa Indians which turned out to be
Additional information about Juan Ponce de Leon