Ponce de León, Juan Ponce de León, Juan .1460–1521, Spanish explorer, first Westerner to reach Florida. He served against the Moors of Granada, and in 1493 he accompanied Columbus on his second voyage to America. From 1502 to 1504 he assisted in the conquest of Higuey (the eastern part of Hispaniola, now the Dominican Republic) and was made governor of that province. After finding gold on Boriquén (Puerto Rico) in 1508, he conquered the island and, as governor (1509–12), made a fortune in gold, slaves, and land. Hearing tales from the Carib of a wonderfully rich island called Bimini, said to be N of Cuba, Ponce de León secured a commission (1512) to conquer and colonize that land. There is a legend that he was seeking a spring with waters having the power of restoring youth. From Puerto Rico on Mar. 3, 1513, with three vessels, he sailed NE through the Bahamas, sighting the Florida peninsula (which he took to be an island) late in March and landing near the site of St. Augustine early in April. Probably because
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This note was uploaded on 12/26/2011 for the course AMH AMH2010 taught by Professor Pietrzak during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.