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Ponce de León discovers Florida

By @ 04/02/10 in April

poncedeleonApril 2, 1513

During the Age of Exploration, few nations were as prolific as Spain. Along with Christopher Columbus, it hired conquistadors to travel to the New World and claim land for its empires. One of these men was Juan Ponce de León, who founded the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico. Ponce de León is also credited as the first European to land on and explore the territory of Florida, a feat accomplished on his search for the fabled Fountain of Youth. Though others had probably sighted Florida, León was the only man to claim it for the Spanish crown, and dubbed it Pascua Florida, a nod to the concurrent Easter feast of the time. He returned to Florida eight years later to establish a colony, but after a skirmish with the natives, was mortally wounded and died in Cuba, where he and his party had retreated. His legacy wasn’t forgotten though, and Spain’s first Floridian settlement, St. Augustine, was established in 1565. Spain maintained a grasp on Florida until 1819, when it was ceded to the U.S.

Research the Age of Exploration. What was it, and what did it mean to American history?