Juan Ponce De León

The Spanish explorer and conquistador.


He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. How he became governor... He took 50 soldiers and a single ship, settling near what is now San Juan. A year later, he returned to Hispaniola, having found much gold and opportunity. The expedition was deemed a success, and he was named governor of Puerto Rico. But soon after in 1509 a struggle between the son of Christopher Columbus and the Spanish crown resulted in Ponce de León losing his governorship of Puerto Rico. He was Born in Spain in 1460

His Last exploration

In February 1521, Ponce de León left Puerto Rico for a second exploration of Florida. Records are scarce, but some accounts describe a poorly organized trip. The expedition landed somewhere on the western side of the Florida peninsula, where it was soon attacked by Calusa warriors. Ponce de León was wounded in the confrontation, possibly by a poison arrow to his thigh. The expedition sailed back to Cuba, where he died in July 1521.
Juan Ponce de León founded the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico and landed on the mainland of North America, a region he dubbed “Florida.” it is believed he began his quest as part of Christopher Columbus's second expedition in 1493. During his later explorations, he employed the skills and tactics he’d learned in the military to subdue and control the native peoples of the Caribbean. Also built settlements in Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic), started farms and constructed defenses in hopes of establishing an island colony for Spain.

Juan Ponce de León Legacy

Juan Ponce de León was a product of his time—ambitious, hardworking and ruthless when the occasion called for it. He built a small financial empire that helped advance Spanish colonization in the Caribbean, and he might have gone even further had he been able to avoid political intrigue with the Columbus family.

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