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Juan Ponce De Leon

Essay by   •  October 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  676 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,685 Views

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The explorer that I chose to write this paper on is the famous Juan Ponce de Leon. I selected him for a number of reasons. First of all, our textbook doesn't give a large amount of information about him so it gave me the ability to do more research on him and expand my knowledge on this particular explorer. Secondly, I chose him because he was well-educated, determined, and had a passion for finding the "Fountain of Youth". The characteristics that he and I have in common are perseverance, bravery, and dedication.

Ponce de Leon had several different voyages; each leading to a new exploration. The area I chose to write about that Ponce de Leon explored is Florida (Roark, 2007). However, he didn't do this in just one excursion. It all started with his voyage with Christopher Columbus, a fellow Spanish explorer, on September 25th, 1493 as he set sail from Cadiz with 16 ships and about 1500 men; one of them being Juan Ponce de Leon. Columbus explores what is now called Jamaica and Haiti and encounters numerous hostile native Indian tribes, all the while Ponce de Leon continues to gain a wealth of experience from this voyage.

Barely over a year later, on September 29th, 1494, Columbus decides to return to Spain but Ponce de Leon decides to stay in Santo Domingo; now called the Dominican Republic, traveling between there and Hispaniola. From this point on, he is the leader of his own voyages with crews to amount to hundreds of men at times, following his lead and guidance. In 1504, when a small Spanish garrison was overrun by the Taínos in Higüey on the eastern side of the Hispaniola island, Ponce de León was assigned a major role in crushing this rebellion (Juan Ponce de Leon: Elizabethan Era, 2011). Nicolas de Ovando, governor of Hispaniola, must have been impressed with Ponce de León as he appointed him governor of the new province. In addition, Ovando awarded him a substantial land grant along with sufficient Indian labor to farm his new estate.

Charles V grants Juan Ponce de Leon a patent authorizing him to discover the Island of Bimini. This leads him to his search for the "Fountain of Youth". Ponce de León was looking for the waters of Bimini to cure his aging (Juan Ponce de Leon: Wikipedia, 2011). As Ponce de Leon set out in search of this alleged "Fountain of Youth" on March 3rd, 1513, he comes within sight of the coast of what is now more commonly called Florida. At first, he named the land Pascua de Florida which was Spanish for Feast of Flowers as they first spotted the land on Palm Sunday.

Later that year, after taking possession of the land, Juan decided to return to Puerto Rico. It was then that his friend, Pedro Nunez de Guzman, secured a second grant giving him power to settle the Island of Bimini and the Island of Florida. At the time, in September of 1514, Florida was believed to be just an island.

A few years later, Ponce de Leon set out with

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