Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum
   You are in: Museum of History >> Hall of Explorers >> Juan Ponce de León

American’s Four United Republics: Discovery-Based Curriculum

For More Information go to America's Four United Republics Curriculum


Juan Ponce de León


In 1513 he discovered Florida.

Juan Ponce de Leon bys Stan Klos

Click on an image to view full-sized


Juan Ponce de Leon


PONCE DE LEON, Juan (pon'-thay-day-lay'-one), Spanish officer, born in San Servas, province of Campos, in 1460; died in Cuba in July, 1521. He was descended from an ancient family of Aragon, was in his youth page of the infante, afterward Ferdinand VII, and served with credit against the Moors of Granada. According to some authorities, he accompanied Columbus in his second voyage to Hispaniola in 1493, but Washington Irving and other modern historians say that he only sailed in 1502 with Nicolas de Ovando (q. v.), who was appointed governor of that island.


He took an active part in the pacification of the country, and became governor of the eastern part, or province of Higuey, where the natives had frequent intercourse with those of the island of Borinquen (Puerto Rico). From them he acquired information about that island, and hearing that it contained abundance of gold, he obtained permission to conquer it. In 1508 he sailed with eighty Spanish adventurers and some auxiliary Indians, and in a few days he landed in Borinquen, where he was well received by the natives. The principal cacique, Aguainaba (q. v.), accompanied him to all parts of the island, and Ponce collected many samples of gold, and was astonished at the fertility of the soil.


In 1509 he returned to Hispaniola to report, and in quest of re-enforcements, but the new governor, Diego Columbus, gave the command of the expedition to Diego Ceron, and sent Ponce as his lieutenant. The latter, through his protector, Ovando, in the court of Spain, claimed the appointment of governor of Borinquen, and in 1510 he obtained it. He sent Ceron to Hispaniola, began the construction of the first city, calling it Caparra, and sent his lieutenant, Cristoval de Sotomayor, to found another city in the southwest near the Bay of Guanica.


Soon he began to distribute the Indians among his officers, as had been done in Hispaniola, and Aguainabo's brother and successor, of the same name, began a war of extermination against the invaders. He was defeated in successive encounters, and the natives called the Caribs of the Lesser Antilles to their help, but Ponce conquered the whole island.


In the beginning of 1512 Ponce was deprived of his government, and, broken in health by wounds, resolved to go in search of the fountain of eternal youth, which, according to the reports of the natives, existed in an island called Bimini. He gathered many of his former followers and other adventurers, sailed on 3 March, 1512, with three caravels from the port of San German, and visited several of the Bahama islands, but was told that the land in question lay farther west.


On 27 March he landed in latitude 30 N, a little to the north of the present city of St. Augustine, on a coast which, on account of the abundant vegetation, he called Florida Island. He sailed along the coast to a cape, which he called Corrientes, but, disappointed in his search for the fountain of youth, returned to Puerto Rico on 5 October and sailed for Spain, where he obtained for himself and his successors the title of Adelantado of Bimini and Florida.


In 1515 he returned with three caravels from Seville and touched at Puerto Rico, where, finding that the Caribs had nearly overpowered the Spanish garrison, he remained to expel them, and founded in the south of the island the city of Ponce.


In March, 1521, he made a second attempt to conquer Florida, and, sailing with two ships from San German, reached a point about fifty miles to the south of his former landing-place. He began to explore the interior, but found a warlike people, and, after many encounters with the natives, was obliged to re-embark, with the loss of nearly all his followers. Not desiring to return after his defeat to Porto Rico, he retired to the island of Cuba, where he died shortly afterward, in consequence of a wound from a poisoned arrow.


His remains were subsequently transported to the city of San Juan de Puerto Rico, and rest in the church of San José. A monument has been erected to his memory recently in that city. His autograph, which it is believed has never before appeared in America, was obtained from Spain through the courtesy of General Meredith Read.

Start your search on Juan Ponce de León.

America's Four United Republics Exhibit - Click Here

Unauthorized Site: This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected, associated with or authorized by the individual, family, friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated sites that are related to this subject will be hyper linked below upon submission and Evisum, Inc. review.

Research Links

  • Mariner Museum
  • Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

    Copyright© 2000 by Evisum Inc.TM. All rights reserved.
    Evisum Inc.TM Privacy Policy

  • Search:

    About Us



    Image Use

    Please join us in our mission to incorporate America's Four United Republics discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The People Click Here


    Childhood & Family

    Click Here


    Historic Documents

    Articles of Association

    Articles of Confederation 1775

    Articles of Confederation

    Article the First

    Coin Act

    Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence

    Emancipation Proclamation

    Gettysburg Address

    Monroe Doctrine

    Northwest Ordinance

    No Taxation Without Representation

    Thanksgiving Proclamations

    Mayflower Compact

    Treaty of Paris 1763

    Treaty of Paris 1783

    Treaty of Versailles

    United Nations Charter

    United States In Congress Assembled

    US Bill of Rights

    United States Constitution

    US Continental Congress

    US Constitution of 1777

    US Constitution of 1787

    Virginia Declaration of Rights


    Historic Events

    Battle of New Orleans

    Battle of Yorktown

    Cabinet Room

    Civil Rights Movement

    Federalist Papers

    Fort Duquesne

    Fort Necessity

    Fort Pitt

    French and Indian War

    Jumonville Glen

    Manhattan Project

    Stamp Act Congress

    Underground Railroad

    US Hospitality

    US Presidency

    Vietnam War

    War of 1812

    West Virginia Statehood

    Woman Suffrage

    World War I

    World War II


    Is it Real?

    Declaration of

    Digital Authentication
    Click Here


    America’s Four Republics
    The More or Less United States

    Continental Congress
    U.C. Presidents

    Peyton Randolph

    Henry Middleton

    Peyton Randolph

    John Hancock


    Continental Congress
    U.S. Presidents

    John Hancock

    Henry Laurens

    John Jay

    Samuel Huntington


    Constitution of 1777
    U.S. Presidents

    Samuel Huntington

    Samuel Johnston
    Elected but declined the office

    Thomas McKean

    John Hanson

    Elias Boudinot

    Thomas Mifflin

    Richard Henry Lee

    John Hancock
    Chairman David Ramsay]

    Nathaniel Gorham

    Arthur St. Clair

    Cyrus Griffin


    Constitution of 1787
    U.S. Presidents

    George Washington 

    John Adams
    Federalist Party

    Thomas Jefferson
    Republican* Party

    James Madison 
    Republican* Party

    James Monroe
    Republican* Party

    John Quincy Adams
    Republican* Party
    Whig Party

    Andrew Jackson
    Republican* Party
    Democratic Party

    Martin Van Buren
    Democratic Party

    William H. Harrison
    Whig Party

    John Tyler
    Whig Party

    James K. Polk
    Democratic Party

    David Atchison**
    Democratic Party

    Zachary Taylor
    Whig Party

    Millard Fillmore
    Whig Party

    Franklin Pierce
    Democratic Party

    James Buchanan
    Democratic Party

    Abraham Lincoln 
    Republican Party

    Jefferson Davis***
    Democratic Party

    Andrew Johnson
    Republican Party

    Ulysses S. Grant 
    Republican Party

    Rutherford B. Hayes
    Republican Party

    James A. Garfield
    Republican Party

    Chester Arthur 
    Republican Party

    Grover Cleveland
    Democratic Party

    Benjamin Harrison
    Republican Party

    Grover Cleveland 
    Democratic Party

    William McKinley
    Republican Party

    Theodore Roosevelt
    Republican Party

    William H. Taft 
    Republican Party

    Woodrow Wilson
    Democratic Party

    Warren G. Harding 
    Republican Party

    Calvin Coolidge
    Republican Party

    Herbert C. Hoover
    Republican Party

    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Democratic Party

    Harry S. Truman
    Democratic Party

    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Republican Party

    John F. Kennedy
    Democratic Party

    Lyndon B. Johnson 
    Democratic Party 

    Richard M. Nixon 
    Republican Party

    Gerald R. Ford 
    Republican Party

    James Earl Carter, Jr. 
    Democratic Party

    Ronald Wilson Reagan 
    Republican Party

    George H. W. Bush
    Republican Party 

    William Jefferson Clinton
    Democratic Party

    George W. Bush 
    Republican Party

    Barack H. Obama
    Democratic Party

    Please Visit

    Forgotten Founders
    Norwich, CT

    Annapolis Continental
    Congress Society

    U.S. Presidency
    & Hospitality

    © Stan Klos





    Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum