Thursday, January 15, 2015

First Contact: The Soto Expedition, Part 3: Ponce de Leon

Juan Ponce de Leon
Hernando de Soto was not the first to make contact with Native Americans in Florida.  As “The Inca” [Part 1] tells in his chronicles of the expedition, “The first Spaniard who discovered La Florida was Juan Ponce de Leon, a gentleman who was a native of Leon and a nobleman, having been governor of Puerto Rico.  Inasmuch as the Spaniards of that time thought of nothing except the discovery of new lands, he fitted out two caravels and went in search of an island they called Bimini or, according to others, Buyoca.  There, according to fabulous tales of the Indians, was a fountain that rejuvenated the aged.  He traveled in search of it for many days, lost, and without finding it.  At the end of this time he was driven by a storm on the coast to the north of Cuba, which coast he named Florida because of the day on which he saw it being Easter.”

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