Ponce de León, Juan

born 1460, Tierra de Campos Palencia, Leon
died 1521, Havana, Cuba

Spanish explorer.

He may have accompanied Christopher Columbus's expedition in 1493 and later fought in the West Indies (1502), becoming governor of eastern Hispaniola. He colonized Puerto Rico (1508–09) and founded a settlement near modern San Juan. Rumours of a fountain of youth in the Bahamas inspired him to lead an expedition in 1513, but he landed instead on the northern coast of Florida near modern St. Augustine. He sailed along Florida's southern and western coasts, then returned to Spain to secure the title of military governor (1514). He sailed again to colonize Florida in 1521 but was wounded in an Indian attack and died in Cuba.

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▪ Spanish explorer
born 1460, Tierra de Campos Palencia, Leon
died 1521, Havana
 Spanish explorer who founded the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico and later discovered Florida (1513) while searching for the mythical fountain of youth.

      Born into a noble family, Ponce de León was a page in the royal court of Aragon and later fought in a campaign against the Moors in Granada. It is possible that he began his career of exploration in 1493 as part of Christopher Columbus' second expedition to the New World. In 1502 he was in the West Indies as a captain serving under Nicolás de Ovando (Ovando, Nicolás de), governor of Hispaniola. As a reward for suppressing an Indian mutiny, Ponce de León was named by Ovando to be the provincial governor of the eastern part of Hispaniola. Hearing persistent reports of gold to be found on Puerto Rico, Ponce de León in 1508–09 explored and settled that island, founding the colony's oldest settlement, Caparra, near what is now San Juan. He then returned to Hispaniola and was named governor of Puerto Rico but was soon displaced from the governorship through the political maneuvering of rivals.

      The Spanish crown encouraged Ponce de León to continue searching for new lands. He learned from Indians of an island called Bimini (in the Bahamas) on which there was a miraculous spring or fountain that could rejuvenate those who drank from it (the fountain of youth). In search of this fountain, he led a privately outfitted expedition from Puerto Rico in March 1513 and in April of that year landed on the coast of Florida near the site of modern St. Augustine. At the time he did not realize that he was on the mainland of North America and instead supposed he had landed on an island. He named the region Florida because it was discovered at Easter time (Spanish: Pascua Florida) and because it abounded in lush, florid vegetation. He coasted southward, sailing through the Florida Keys and ending his search near Charlotte Harbor on Florida's west coast. He then returned to Puerto Rico and thence to Spain, where he secured the title in 1514 of military governor of Bimini and Florida with permission to colonize those regions.

      In 1521 Ponce de León sailed again for Florida with two ships and 200 men, landing near Charlotte Harbor. On this occasion he was wounded by an arrow during an Indian attack, and he died after being returned to Cuba. Puerto Rico's third largest city, Ponce, is named in his honour.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ponce de León, Juan — • Concise biographical article on the explorer Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Ponce de León,Juan — Ponce de Le·ón (pŏnsʹ də lēʹən, lē ōnʹ, pōnʹthĕ thĕ lĕ ōnʹ, pōnʹsĕ), Juan. 1460 1521. Spanish explorer who sailed with Columbus on his second voyage (1493 1494) and discovered Florida (1513) while looking for the legendary Fountain of Youth. * *… …   Universalium

  • Ponce de León, Juan — ► (1460? 1521) Conquistador y navegante español. Conquistó la isla de Puerto Rico (1509), en la que ejerció como gobernador. Asimismo emprendió la colonización y fundó varias ciudades. Descubrió Florida. * * * (1460, Santervás de Campos,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ponce de León, Juan —  (1460–1521) Spanish explorer, discovered Florida …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Juan Ponce De León — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ponce de León. Juan Ponce de León Juan Ponce de León (c.1460 – juillet …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Juan Ponce de Leon — Juan Ponce de León (* um 1460 in Santervás de Campos (es.Wiki) [1], Provinz Valladolid, Spanien; † Juli 1521 in Havanna, Kuba) war ein spanischer Konquistador. 1508 gründete er Caparra (das spätere San Juan), die erste Siedlung in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Juan Ponce de León — (* um 1460 in Santervás de Campos, Provinz Valladolid, Spanien; † Juli 1521 in Havanna, Kuba) war ein spanischer Konquistador. 1493 nahm er an Christoph Kolumbus’ zweiter Reise nach Amerika teil. 1508 gründete er Caparra (das spätere San Juan),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ponce de León — Ponce de Leon ist der Name von: Juan Ponce de León, einem spanischen Konquistador einer Ortschaft im US Bundesstaat Florida, siehe Ponce de Leon (Florida) Pedro Ponce de León, einem Ordensmann Harald Ponce de Leon, dem Gründer und Projektleiter… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ponce de Leon —     Juan Ponce de León     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Juan Ponce de León     Explorer, b. at San Servas in the province of Campos, 1460; d. in Cuba, 1521. He was descended from an ancient and noble family; the surname of León was acquired through… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • PONCE DE LEÓN (J.) — PONCE DE LEÓN JUAN (1460 1521) Page à la cour royale d’Aragon, Juan Ponce de León commença sa carrière d’explorateur en 1495, en accompagnant Christophe Colomb lors de sa deuxième expédition vers le Nouveau Monde. Neuf ans plus tard, il se rendit …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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