Juan Ponce de Leon Facts

Juan Ponce de Leon Facts
Juan Ponce de Leon was a Spanish explorer born in 1474 in Santervas de Campos, Castille. His parents' identity is unknown but it is believed they were influential and noble people. As a young man he was Pedro Nunez de Guzman's squire, and then as a soldier who participated in Spain's re-conquest in 1492. Juan Ponce de Leon accompanied Christopher Columbus' second voyage to the New World in 1493, where he soon became a frontier governor and was granted land and Indian slaves. At the persistence of the Spanish crown, Juan Ponce de Leon set out to discover new lands. In 1513 he set foot on Florida's land.
Interesting Juan Ponce de Leon Facts:
Juan Ponce de Leon is believed to be the first European to set foot on Florida's land.
When Christopher Columbus returned to Spain following his second voyage to the New World, Juan Ponce de Leon stayed behind. He became the governor of Higuey, a Dominican province.
Juan Ponce de Leon married an innkeeper's daughter named Leonora. Together they had one son named Luis, and three daughters named Juana, Isabel, and Maria.
Juan Ponce de Leon believed that the nearby island of Puerto Rico (then Borinquen) had gold so he took the island from the Natives with brutal force. He then claimed the island for Spain.
Juan Ponce de Leon was named governor of Borinquen, but his post did not last. He was removed from his position in 1511 once news of his brutal treatment of the Natives reached Spain.
Juan Ponce de Leon was then given permission to search for the next island (Bimini) which he believed had the fountain of youth.
In 1513 Juan Ponce de Leon set sail with three ships (Santa Maria, Santiago, and San Cristobal) and a crew of approximately 200. They reached Florida in April, naming the new land 'Pascua de Florida", which means "feast of flowers".
After discovering Florida Juan Ponce de Leon returned to Puerto Rico, where he ended a rebellion by the Natives.
Juan Ponce de Leon returned to Spain and was named the Captain General by Spain's king.
Juan Ponce de Leon set sail again to return to Puerto Rico. He then began to search again for the island Bimini where he believed he would find the fountain of youth.
In 1521 Juan Ponce de Leon set sail for the last time, again searching for Bimini. His crew of 200 men landed in Florida once again. Many of his crew and himself were wounded by the Native American's arrows.
Juan Ponce de Leon died in 1521 in Havana, Cuba from the wound he received in Florida.
The house that Juan Ponce de Leon had built for his family near Salvaleon de Higuey still stands today.
Juan Ponce de Leon is believed to have had a greyhound dog with him during some of his conquests. The dog's name was Bercerillo. The Indians were more afraid of dogs than of the Spaniards.
Juan Ponce de Leon is buried in San Juan, on the island of Puerto Rico.
His gravestone reads, "Here rest the bones of a valiant LION (Leon), mightier in deeds than in his name."


Related Links:
Facts
Biography Facts
Animals Facts








Educational Videos