FLORIDA HISTORY: Juan Ponce de León First Landed on Florida Peninsula 507 Years Ago Today
By Space Coast Daily // April 2, 2020
The peninsula was mistaken for an island, which Ponce de León named “La Florida"
Juan Ponce de León first sighted the Florida peninsula on March 27, 1513, although he did not go ashore until April 2
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Juan Ponce de León first sighted the Florida peninsula on March 27, 1513, although he did not go ashore until April 2.
The peninsula was mistaken for an island, which Ponce de León named “La Florida.”
Ponce, who was most recently the governor of Puerto Rico, set sail from that island on March 4 with three ships and approximately 200 men, heading north toward an unknown landmass referred to as Biminy.
After sailing northwest for several weeks along what is now known as the Bahamas, they spotted an island that was unfamiliar to the sailors.
Many now believe that island was actually mainland Florida. On April 2 the fleet again sighted land and Ponce named the island, claiming it for Spain.
The party did not attempt to establish a permanent settlement on the newly discovered land, but instead sailed around the southern tip of Florida and up the west coast making intermittent forays on land.
They eventually returned to Puerto Rico on October 19. In 1521 Ponce again sailed to Florida, this time to colonize it, but soon after landing in southwest Florida, the party was attacked and Ponce received a fatal injury.
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