Ponce de Leon is famous for his exploration efforts around the tip of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. His death is also famous, as he was struck by a poison arrow. He would eventually make it home one more time before passing away from the injury. Here are some interesting facts about this explorer to consider today.
1. He Sailed With Columbus
Before becoming an explorer in his own right at the turn of the 16th century, Ponce de Leon came to the New World with Christopher Columbus. He was part of the second expedition that occurred in 1493. His military experience was carved for these expeditions, which he earned from serving in the Spanish military in his younger years. His most famous military victory was being part of the battle that defeated the Moors at Granada.
2. A Governor of the New World
In 1508, when Ponce de Leon was exploring the islands of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, he would find himself in the position to conquer Puerto Rico. He did so and was named the governor of the new territory. He would continue serving in this position until 1521 when the poison of the arrow that struck him would take his life.
3. He Named Florida
The name of Florida actually comes from Ponce de Leon. He gave the land this name because he saw many flowers during his trip there. He also believed that the Fountain of Youth would be located in Florida because of its beauty and he longed to be able to stay young eternally. He never did find his Fountain of Youth and to this day, no one knows if such a place ever existed.
4. A Strange Birth
No one actually knows the year of Ponce de Leon’s birth. Some believe that he was born in 1460, while others believe he may have been born as late as 1474. This means he could have been in his 40’s, 50’s, or even 60’s when he died.
5. An Important Highway
Despite his land discoveries, they greatest thing that Ponce de Leon would locate is the Gulf Stream. This would allow for easier sailings from Europe to the New World so that wealth could be transferred and colonies established.
Ponce de Leon is not remembered fondly. He often treated the local population with brutality and many to this day feel like his death was earned. Even so, his name still lives on in history as one of the world’s great explorers.