Juan Ponce de Leon
BY: SOPHIA H. AND MAURIZIO I.
Juan Ponce de Leon is a Spanish explorer who conquered the island of Puerto Rico
and explored the coastline of Florida, which he claimed for the Spanish crown.
Juan Ponce de Leon was born in 1460 in Santrevas de Campos, near the Spanish
town of Palencia. He died in Havana, Cuba in 1521 from a wound he received during
his 2nd expedition to Florida.
His lineage was from a noble family.
He was well educated and would have been taught several languages, physics,
geometry, math, and astronomy.
When he was young he served as a page for the Spanish court
Next he became a soldier for the Spanish army that defeated the Moors who were
trying to conquer Spain
Later on he became an explorer and a soldier
Ponce de Leon was married to Leonora and had four children:
one boy and three girls
Back Voyages Next
Juan Ponce de Leon joined the 2nd expedition of Christopher
Columbus on September 1493
He was one of 1200 sailors, colonists, and soldiers of the
The fleet reached the Caribbean in November 1493. Their
primary destination was Hispaniola. They anchored on the
coast of Boriquen.
In 1504 he assisted the Governor of Hispaniola to crash an
Indian uprising. For his help the governor gave him land and
appointed him to be a provincial governor.
On June 12,1505 he established a town called Salvaleon.
Back Voyages Next
In 1508, he went on an official expedition to San Juan
Bautista, which is later known as Puerto Rico) with 50 men on
1 ship. He found a large quantity of gold and fertile land and
was appointed governor of that island.
On March 4, 1513, 200 men including himself went on 30
ships to Florida. He is credited for the discovery of Florida.
Impressed with its floral beauty and having landed at
Eastertide, he named the land Florida, from the Spanish
Pascua Florida, "flowery Easter."
In 1521, he organized another expedition to Florida with 200
men, 50 horses, and domestic animals on two ships which was
met with a strong resistance from native Indians..
Purpose of Journey/Route of
Back Expedition Next
Juan Ponce de Leon joined Columbus‟s 2nd expedition looking for an adventure
and work after being a soldier in the Spanish army in search of a challenge and
He set on the expedition to Puerto Rico in search of precious metals, especially
gold , and fertile land.
Most historian believe Juan Ponce De Leon‟s expedition to Florida was in search
of gold and to expand the Spanish Empire. He organized the expedition after
the king of Spain removed him from the Governorship of Puerto Rico.
There is also a legend that he was seeking a spring with waters having the power
of restoring youth when he started his expedition to Florida.
Juan Ponce de Leon encountered many difficulties during his expeditions
including starvation, difficult voyages and war with native Indians.
During his expedition to Puerto Rico, his crew ran out of food and was forced
to return to and that is why they had to go back to Hispaniola.
On his expedition to Florida his crew encountered the Gulf Stream which
pushed their small ship further away from their destination because of it‟s
In Florida on the second journey his crew and him got attacked by Indians
Ponce de Leon was hit with a poison tipped arrow. His crew took him to
Havana, Cuba for treatment of his wound, but he died there in July, 1521
Other Notable Occurrences
The fountain of youth is a mythical fountain that many people
including Ponce de Leon thought that would turn you from old to
young if you drank from it
Juan Ponce de Lion was said to be motivated by the search for this
mythical „fountain of youth‟ for his expedition to Florida.
During the conquest he shared the honours with a famous greyhound
dog named Bercerillo. He had a belief that the Indians were more
afraid of ten Spaniards with the dog than one hundred without him.
Juan Ponce de Leon was also one of the fairer Europeans to the natives.
He established the oldest European settlement in Puerto Rico.
He assisted the expansion of the Spanish Empire in the Caribbean and
Ponce de Leon was the first European to set foot on Florida
He was the first to discover the Gulf Stream.
Ponce de Leon was famous for searching for the “Fountain of Youth”.
There are many cities and places in Puerto Rico and Florida that carries his
name to date.
Ponce de Leon Park
BackJuan Ponce de Leon Quiz
1) In 1504 he assisted the Governor of Hispaniola to help a rebellion
group rise to power over the Spanish.
2) Ponce de Leon was a soldier in the war against the Moors in Spain
before becoming an explorer.
3) Ponce de Leon discovered the fountain of youth.
4) Ponce de Leon is credited for discovery of the “Gulf Stream” around
Florida. True False
5) Juan established the oldest European settlement in Puerto Rico.
Burton ,Rosemary, Cavendish, Richard, Stonehouse, Bernard. Journeys of the Great
Explores”. AA publishing. Print. 1994,2001.
Jean Fritz. Around the world in a hundred years from Henry Hudson to Magellan. New
York: Putnam and Grosset group. Print.1994
“Juan Ponce de Leon” http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/juan-ponce-de-leon.htm. N.p.
Web. Accessed on April 22, 2010.
“Juan Ponce de Leon” http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/lessons/de_leon/de_leon1.htm.
N.p.Web. Accessed on April 21, 2010
“Spanish Florida” http://www.answers.com/topic/spanish-florida. Web Accessed on
April 24, 2010
“Misconceptions and Myths Related to the Fountain of Youth
and Juan Ponce de Leon‟s 1513 Exploration Voyage ”
http://www.newworldexplorersinc.org/FountainofYouth.pdf , Accessed on April 23,2010
“Juan Ponce de Leon” http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Juan_Ponce_de_Leon.aspx,
Accessed on April 25, 2010