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Juan Ponce de Leon Facts

Juan Ponce de Leon

Facts about Juan Ponce de Leon

Juan Ponce de Leon Biography Summary: Juan Ponce de Leon (1474 - 1521) was famous for being the first European to explore Florida.

A courageous young man set sail to find his fortune and found a land he called Florida. He settled himself in the new town of Higuey and began a family with his wife Leonora.

His family barely escaped a raid on the home by a party of Caribs from a neighboring island, they killed many of the inhabitants and burned the settlement to the ground but his family managed to escape.

For his efforts in exploring the New World Juan would be knighted by his King and also given his own personal coat of arms

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact Sheet: Who was Juan Ponce de Leon? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Juan Ponce de Leon.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1474 - 1521 *** Full Name: Juan Ponce de Leon *** Occupation: Spanish Explorer and Conquistador *** Date of Birth: Juan Ponce de Leon was born in 1474 *** Place of Birth: Juan Ponce de Leon was born in Santervas de Campos in Castile *** Family background: It is said he is descended from an influential and distinguished family with ties to Rodrigo Ponce de Leon the Marquis of Cadiz *** Early life and childhood: Nothing has ever been recorded with regard to his early life or childhood *** Education: Juan Ponce de Leon would have received an education befitting his station ***

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 1: Juan Ponce de Leon was born in 1474 and during the 15th century period in history when which is described as the late middle ages to early Renaissance and early modern period.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 2: Early on as a soldier he took part in the Spanish campaigns against the Moors in Granada and also completed the re-conquest of Spain during 1492.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 3: As work for soldiers in his home country became scarce, as with many of his contemporaries, he began to look further afield.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 4: In the later part of 1493 he joined Christopher Columbus as one of two hundred gentleman volunteers on his second voyage to the New World together with colonists and twelve hundred sailors.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 5: In November of 1493 the fleet reached the Caribbean visiting several of the islands before finally arriving at Hispaniola and dropping anchor at what would become known as Puerto Rico.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 6: This would be the first time Juan would set eyes on a land that would become pivotal to his future.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 7: There is strong suggestion that he made a return trip to mainland Spain during the next few years, returning with Nicolas de Ovando.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 8: They made their return to Hispaniola in 1502 and Ovando had been appointed as governor and tasked with bringing order to the colony.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 9: Ovando saw this as an opportunity to overpower the native Tainos people and consequently authorized the Jaragua Massacre that took place in November of 1503.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 10: In 1504 Juan was sent to put down a rebellion that the Tainos people had started at a small garrison in Higuey on the eastern side of the island.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 11: As a result another massacre ensued this time with de Leonís involvement and for which he would be handsomely rewarded by Ovando.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 12: With his new estate and sufficient Indian labor to run the farm he soon began to sell produce as well as livestock at Boca de Yuma which was nearby and where ships stopped to resupply.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 13: Queen Isabella died in 1504 and she was all that had held the King in check when it came to exploiting the native people. Without her King Ferdinand gave permission for the native people to be subjugated in 1509 and to use them to mine the gold.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 14: De Leon married Leonora around this time and together they had four children, three daughters, Juana, Isabel and Maria and a son, Luis.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 15: De Leon would receive permission from Ovando to explore a local island rumored to have many riches. With a ship and fifty men they set out in July 1508 and anchored in the San Juan Bay and having surveyed the local area found a spot about two miles from the shore where he organized the building of a fortified house and a storehouse.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 16: He returned to Hispaniola a year later in search of supplies but with a healthy cargo of precious metal.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 17: In 1509 Ovando was replaced by Diego Colon who was a son of Christopher Columbus.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 18: King Ferdinand had become aware of rumors of further islands situation northwest of Hispaniola and encouraged him to explore the area without Colonís knowledge.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 19: In March of 1513 De Leon, two hundred men and three ships set sail heading in a northwesterly directly and crossed open water for some days before sighting land that de Ponce would call La Florida. Having explored the area for around five days they group moved further South and would come across a current so strong it forced one vessel out of sight and was not seen for two days and they others were forced to anchor, this would be the first encounter with the Gulf Stream.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 20: They further explored the coastline and travelled around what is today Tampa Bay and possibly Pensacola. Having gone slightly off course the managed to retrace their steps back towards the Florida Keys and in July reached Grand Bahama.

Juan Ponce de Leon Fact 21: His last voyage to Florida took place in 1521 with two ships consisting of two hundred men that included farmers, artisans and priests, domestic animals and fifty horses as well as farming equipment. Once they had reached landfall they were attacked by Calusa braves and de Leon was struck in the thigh with a poisoned arrow. The colonist gathered and set sail for Havana, Cuba where Juan Ponce de Leon died in July of 1521 aged forty seven years. His body laid to rest initially in Puerto Rico but later moved to the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista.

Juan Ponce de Leon Influence & Legacy: Legacy:- Juan Ponce de Leon is widely credited with being the first to find Florida although there is some suggestion he may not have been.

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