Fountain of Youth
Connecting History to Fiction
Ponce de Leon and the Man in the Yellow Suit
Juan Ponce de León was the first Spanish explorer to arrive in Florida. Early Spanish explorers were known as conquistadors or "conquerors."
Early Exploration In 1493, Ponce de León sailed with Christopher Columbus on Columbus' second voyage to the Americas. He and his family settled on an island in the Caribbean. In 1506, Ponce de León discovered a nearby island. While there, he found large deposits of gold. Soon after his discovery, he left the island. He returned in 1508 on orders from the king of Spain to explore and colonize the island. He renamed the island Puerto Rico. He was the island's governor for two years until the king replaced him with Columbus' son.
Hurt by the King's action, Ponce de León sailed again, this time north through the towards Florida. He was in search of new lands and treasures. He had also heard of a mythical fountain of youth. Indians spoke of a legendary, magical spring whose water was believed to make older people young again. Ponce de León explored many areas for both gold and the mythical fountain, but he never found either.
In late March of 1513, his ships landed on Florida's east coast where he claimed the beautiful land for Spain. Since he had discovered this country of lavish landscape and beautiful beaches, he was entitled to name it. He named it La Florida (LAH flow REE dah) or "place of flowers."
What do Ponce de Leon and the Man in the Yellow Suit have in common?