Juan Ponce De Leon
Juan Ponce De Leon
b. 1460 Leon, Spain d.
The object of Ponce de Leon's quest was even harder to get than the riches
worth a great deal)
of distant lands other explores were after. He was searching for
the Fountain of Eternal Youth.
Ponce de Leon sailed with
on his second expedition to the New World in 1493, took part in the voyage to
in 1502, and in 1508 commanded an expedition to
Puerto Rico. It
was while serving as governor there that he heard the story, that had been
told over and over in the Spanish colonies, about an island to the west where
a certain spring of water kept all those who bathed in it young forever.
With the tale firing his imagination, he set out in search of this source of
water in April, 1513. On Easter Sunday he reached the shore of what he took to
be the island of
The place was a true Eden, with a thick green forest washed in beautiful
light, brilliantly colored birds all sweetly singing, and the delicate
fragrance of blossoms floating out to the ships. Mindful of the Easter holiday
or simply impressed by the flowers, Ponce gave the name
to his discovery. Several days later he landed near what is now
planted the Spanish flag, and claimed the region for his king. He then
traveled up and down the snake like coast of the peninsula, bathing in its
waters and making a point of inspecting his skin every few minutes for the
longed-for signs of his youth renewed. Sadly, finding none, he gave up his
search and sailed back to
Having reported on his explorations in
Ponce now found himself under orders to colonize it. Yet he waited to sail
back there, with two ship loads of settlers, until 1521.
They were all attacked by Indians, and Ponce was gravely wounded. He was taken
where, not long afterward, he died. His body was buried in
in the cathedral at
a city he had helped to found.
He had not died young.
Below are some sites and links for more information on Juan Ponce de
This site was last updated
08/04/2004 08:08 PM -0400