Juan Ponce de Leon


Juan Ponce de León was born and baptized in 1474 in the village of Santervás de Campos, in Spain.


He fought as a soldier in the Spanish army against the Muslims (Moors) in southern Spain, after serving as page to Don Pedro Nunuz de Guzman, a Spanish knight.


Ponce de León joined Christopher Columbus during his second voyage for the new world, along with approximately 1200 sailors.

September 25, 1493

He stayed back in Santo Domingo, Hispaniola, after Christopher Columbus returned to Spain.


Ponce de León was assigned the task of crushing the native Taínos, who were considered to be rebellions in Hispaniola. He was appointed by governor Nicolás de Ovando, to bring order to a colony


Ponce de León established a new town in Higüey and named it Salvaleón. In the same year, he married Leonora, who was the daughter of an innkeeper.


On account of his earlier exploration and stories heard from the native Tainos, Ponce de León was sure of the presence of gold on the Boriquen island.


Ponce de León returned to Hispaniola in early 1509 bringing back a good quantity of gold with him. He was appointed as the governor of San Juan Bautista ; was instructed to extend the settlement


Ponce de León was given a royal contract which outlined his rights and authority to search for the 'Islands of Bimini' also spelled Benimy (in the Bahamas).


Ponce de León set out from San German in Puerto Rico with three ships, at his own expense, on March 4, 1513. After traveling for a few days, the fleet sighted land.


Ponce de León secured a second grant, which gave him the power to make settlements on the Islands of Bimini and Florida. He was also knighted and given a personal coat of arms.

September 27, 1514

Ponce de León set out with two ships which consisted of some 200 men, including priests, farmers, and artisans, in order to colonize Florida. He landed on the west coast of Florida.

February 26, 1521