Ponce de Leon

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Spanish 10th essay Ponce De Leon Don Juan Ponce de Leon "To bad he had to kick the bucket!" Don Juan Ponce de Leon was a Spanish conqueror and explorer. He was born around 1460 in San Tervas de Campos, Spain. Ponce de Leon lived during an age of great discovery and excitement. Ponce de Leon is well known, claiming and naming what is now Florida, the discovery of Puerto Rico, and his never-ending search for the old time classic, the Fountain of Youth! On November 19, 1493 Ponce de Leon was one of the first Europeans to see the small island of Borinquen, the Indian name for Puerto Rico. Ponce de Leon sailed to Puerto Rico in 1506 with two hundred men to the island and found out that it had rich gold deposits. He enslaved the natives, and forced them to mine gold for him. Ponce de Leon left Puerto Rico and returned again in 1508 this time he brought with him only fifty men.

On this voyage his ship went through a terrible storm that caused him to run onto the rocks on two occasions. The crew was forced to throw over much of their supplies in order to keep the ship from sinking. After Ponce de Leon finally arrived in Puerto Rico he became the governor of the island. This caused him to become very wealthy, and the most powerful man on the island, who only received orders from the kind himself! In 1511 King Ferdinand ordered Ponce de Leon replaced as governor by Diego Columbus. Life for Ponce de Leon would have been difficult if he stayed in Puerto Rico since much of his power over the island was taken when his rank was taken away. It was at this time that Ponce de Leon began his search for the Fountain of Youth. Many historians feel it was not only to discover the LENGENDARY waters, but also for the gold and silver that was supposed to be at the sight of the fountain. Ponce de Leon explored many regional islands in his search for the Fountain of Youth, including the Bahamas and Bimini.

It was during Ponce de Leon's search for the Fountain of Youth that he came to a land that he eventually named, La Florida or "land of flowers". He made two visits to this new land. On his first visit the native inhabitants were friendly to Ponce de Leon and his men. It is believed that this meeting was in the area of Florida now known as St. Augustine. But on his second visit in which Ponce de Leon intended to colonize Florida, the Indians became hostile, violent, and extremly RESISTANT! During the battle of the Sanibel Island, Ponce de Leon was shot in the stomach with a poison arrow. His men got him off the battle grounds, which was where he was, fighting with the soldiers, and brought him to Cuba as fast as possible. He never recovered, and eventually died from this DEVISTATING arrow blow.

Ponce de Leon was a great explorer of his time. During his conquering of Puerto Rico, search for the Fountain of Youth and discovering Florida. For these reasons he should be remembered as a great man who displayed bravery and leadership among his comrades!