Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Honoring explorer Juan Ponce de Leon

Mural by Addison Burbank first exhibited at the 1933 A Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago.
Historians don’t know the date Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon was born, and they aren’t too sure about the year either (some say 1460, others say 1474 or 1475). What is known is that when he was governor of Puerto Rico and overseeing mining of gold there, he set sail for the island of Bimini in search of more gold, and ended up on the east coast of Florida (which he thought was another island) on Easter Sunday, March 27, 1513. He named the land La Florida because of the lush vegetation he found and the season, which the Spanish called Pascua Florida or Festival of Flowers. The name stuck. Historians generally agree he probably was looking for gold and slaves, not the legendary Fountain of Youth, though the myth persists in popular culture.

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