Florida’s History Continues……
The Founding of Florida
By the late 1400’s Florida’s Glades Period was drawing to a close. As in human nature, the indigenous people strived to create more progressive and efficient lifestyles. Previously known as cultures, it is around this time various groups formed what we now call tribes. The Indians of this era are known as historic Indians or Pre Columbian Indians. The dawn of her Historic Contact period was breaking. Florida’s native Indians still lived as they had for centuries. Each geographic area of the state was home to its own tribe with their own customs and speaking their own language. At the beginning of this era it is conservatively estimated that there were about 100,000 Indians living in Florida. Some scholars put this number as high as 350,000. Accepting the first estimate, the distribution is thought of as this: Timucuans in the northeast, 40,000; Apalachee and Pensacola in the northwest, 25,000; Tocobaga in the west-central, 8,000; Calusa in the southwest, 20,000; Tequesta in the southeast, 5,000; Jeaga, Jobe and Ais in the east-central, 2,000. There most likely were other tribes as well as some subgroups such as the Saturiwa, Santaluces, Boca Ratones, and Tocobaga. Fragments of written evidence, such as hand written ship logs and guides began to appear.
By this time European expeditions were well underway to what was called the “New World”. The term "New World" was coined by Spanish scholar Peter Martyr d'Anghiera in a letter dated November 1st, 1492 in which he referred to Columbus’ first voyage to America. He once again used the term in a subsequent letter a year later. In 1516, Martyr published a work whose title began De Orbe Novo meaning "On the New World". In 1524, the term was also used by Giovanni da Verrazzano in a record of his voyage that year along the Atlantic coast of land that is now part of the United States and Canada. The term refers to the lands in the Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, upon their discovery by European explorers. The New World conquests expanded the geographical horizon of the European middle Ages. Previously it was believed the world as consisting of Europe, Asia, and Africa; these countries were ultimately considered the Old World. Also by this time as well, a burgeoning slave trade was in place. After conquering a New World settlement most native Indians were enslaved to provide their captors service in working plantations, mining gold, silver, and precious stones, and as house servants. It was not unheard of for an island to exhaust its supply of slaves, at which time slaving expeditions were organized to neighboring lands. It is believed that some of these slaving expeditions were sent to imprison Florida’s indigenous inhabitants and carry them back to the conquered lands as slaves.
Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León y Figueroa is credited with the founding, and also the naming of Florida. Juan Ponce de León was born in the village of Santervás de Campos in the northern part of what is now the Spanish province of Valladolid. Although early historians placed his birth in 1460, more recent evidence shows he was likely born in 1474. His family genealogy is extremely confusing and poorly documented. There is no consensus on who his parents were but it seems that he was a member of a distinguished and influential noble family. His relatives included Rodrigo Ponce de León, the Marquess of Cádiz and a celebrated figure in the Moorish wars. Ponce de León was also related to another notable family, Núñez de Guzmán, and as a young man he served as squire to Pedro Núñez de Guzmán, Knight Commander of the Order of Calatrava. A big contemporary chronicler, Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes, states that Ponce de León became an experienced soldier fighting in the Spanish campaigns that defeated the Moors in Granada and completed the re-conquest of Spain in 1492.
When the war against the Emirate of Granada ended, there was no apparent need for his military services at home and like many of his contemporaries; Ponce de León looked abroad for his next opportunity. In September 1493, some 1200 sailors, colonists, and soldiers joined Christopher Columbus for his second voyage to the New World. Ponce de León was a member of this expedition, one of 200 “gentleman volunteers.” The fleet reached the Caribbean in November 1493, and visited several islands before arriving at their primary destination in Hispaniola. In particular they anchored on the coast of a large island the natives called Boriquen but would eventually become known as Puerto Rico. This was Ponce de León’s first glimpse of the place that would play a major role in his future. From here there is no trace of Ponce de León’s activities for the next several years. Historians are divided on what he did during this time, but it is possible that he returned to Spain at some point and made his way back to Hispaniola with Nicolás de Ovando.
In 1502 the newly appointed governor, Nicolás de Ovando, arrived in Hispaniola. His directive from the Spanish Crown was to bring order to a colony in disarray. One of Ovando’s priorities was to complete the subjugation of the native Taínos. In 1504, when a small Spanish garrison was overrun by the Taínos in Higüey on the eastern side of the island, Ponce de León was assigned a major role in crushing this rebellion. Ovando must have been impressed with Ponce de León—he appointed him frontier governor of the new province, Higüey. In addition, Ovando awarded him a substantial land grant along with sufficient Indian labor to farm his new estate. Ponce de León prospered in this new role. He found a ready market for his farm produce and livestock at nearby Boca de Yuma where Spanish ships made a final call for supplies before the long voyage back to Spain. In 1505 he was authorized by Ovando to establish a new town in Higüey, which he named Salvaleón. Around this same time, Ponce de León married Leonora, the daughter of an innkeeper. They had three daughters, Juana, Isabel and Maria; and one son, Luis. He built a large stone house for his growing family; a house that still stands today near the city of Salvaleón de Higüey.
Appointed the first Governor of Puerto Rico by the Spanish crown, Ponce de León had occasion to meet with the Tainos who visited his province from neighboring Puerto Rico. They told him stories of a fertile land with much gold to be found in the many rivers. Inspired by the possibility of riches, Ponce de León requested and received permission from Ovando to explore the island. His first reconnaissance of the island is usually dated to 1508 but there is evidence that he had made a previous exploration as early as 1506. This earlier trip was done quietly because the Spanish crown had commissioned Vicente Yáñez Pinzón to settle the island in 1505. Pinzón did not fulfill his commission and it expired in 1507, leaving the way clear for Ponce de León. His earlier exploration had confirmed the presence of gold and gave him a good understanding of the geography of the island. In 1508, Ferdinand II of Aragon gave permission to Ponce de León for the first official expedition to the island, which the Spanish then called San Juan Bautista. This expedition, consisting of about 50 men in one ship, left Hispaniola on June 12, 1508 and eventually anchored in San Juan Bay, near today’s city of San Juan. Ponce de León searched inland until he found a suitable site about two miles from the bay. Here he erected a storehouse and a fortified house, creating the first settlement in Puerto Rico, Caparra. Although a few crops were planted, they spent most of their time and energy searching for
gold. By early 1509 Ponce de León decided to return to Hispaniola. His expedition had collected a good quantity of the precious metal but was running low on food and supplies. The expedition was deemed a great success and Ovando appointed Ponce de León governor of San Juan Bautista. This appointment was later confirmed by Ferdinand II on August 14, 1509. He was instructed to extend the settlement of the island and continue mining for gold. The new governor returned to the island as instructed, bringing with him his wife and children. Back on his island, Ponce de León parceled out the native Tainos amongst himself and other settlers using a system of forced labor known as encomienda. The Indians were put to work growing food crops and mining for gold. Many of the Spaniards treated the Tainos very harshly and newly introduced diseases like smallpox and measles took a severe toll on the local population. By June 1511 the Taínos were pushed to a short-lived rebellion, which was forcibly put down by Ponce de León and a small force of troops armed with crossbows and arquebuses.
Even as Ponce de León was settling the island of San Juan, significant changes were taking place in the politics and government of the Spanish West Indies. On July 10, 1509, Diego Colón, the son of Christopher Columbus, arrived in Hispaniola as acting Viceroy, replacing Nicolás de Ovando. For several years Diego Colón had been waging a legal battle over his rights to inherit the titles and privileges granted to his father. The Crown regretted the sweeping powers that had been granted to Columbus and his heirs and sought to establish more direct control in the New World. In spite of the Crown’s opposition, Colón prevailed in court and Ferdinand was required to appoint him Viceroy. Although the courts had ordered that Ponce de León should remain in office, Colón circumvented this directive on October 28, 1509 by appointing Juan Ceron chief justice and Miguel Diaz chief constable of the island, effectively overriding the authority of the governor. This situation prevailed until March 2, 1510 when Ferdinand issued orders reaffirming Ponce de León’s position as governor. Ponce de León then had Ceron and Diaz arrested and sent back to Spain. The political struggle between Colón and Ponce de León continued in this manner for the next few years. Ponce de León had influential supporters in Spain and Ferdinand regarded him as a loyal servant. However, Colón's position as Viceroy made him a powerful opponent and eventually it became clear that Ponce de León's position on San Juan was not tenable. Finally, on November 28, 1511, Ceron returned from Spain and was officially re-instated as governor. Rumors of undiscovered islands to the northwest of Hispaniola had reached Spain by 1511 and Ferdinand was interested in forestalling further exploration and discovery by Colón. In an effort to reward Ponce de León for his services, Ferdinand urged him to seek these new lands outside the authority of Colón. Ponce de León readily agreed to a new venture and in February 1512 a royal contract was dispatched outlining his rights and authorities to search for "the Islands of Benimy". The contract stipulated that Ponce de León held exclusive rights to the discovery of Benimy and neighboring islands for the next three years. He would be governor for life of any lands he discovered but he was expected to finance for himself all costs of exploration and settlement. In addition, the contract gave specific instructions for the distribution of gold, Native Americans, and other profits extracted from the new lands. Notably, there was no mention of a rejuvenating fountain. Ponce de León equipped three ships with at least 200 men at his own expense and set out from Puerto Rico on March 4, 1513. The only contemporary description known for this expedition comes from
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas, a Spanish historian who apparently had access to the original ships' logs or related secondary sources from which he created a summary of the voyage published in 1601. The brevity of the account and occasional gaps in the record have led historians to speculate and dispute many details of the voyage. The three ships in this small fleet were the Santiago, the San Cristobal and the Santa Maria de la Consolacion. Anton de Alaminos was their chief pilot. He was already an experienced sailor and would become one of the most respected pilots in the region. After leaving Puerto Rico, they sailed northwest along the great chain of Bahama Islands, known then as the Lucayos.
By March 27, Easter Sunday, they reached the northern end of the Bahamas sighting an unfamiliar island, probably Great Abaco. For the next several days the fleet crossed open water until April 2, 1513, when they sighted land which Ponce de León believed was another island. He named it La Florida in recognition of the verdant landscape and because it was the Easter season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers). The following day they came ashore to seek information and take possession of this new land. The precise location of their landing on the Florida coast has been disputed for many years. Some historians believe it occurred at St. Augustine; others prefer a more southern landing at a small harbor now called Ponce de León Inlet; and some argue that Ponce came ashore even further south near the present location of Melbourne Beach. After remaining in the vicinity of their first landing for about five days, the ships turned south for further exploration of the coast. On April 8 they encountered a current so strong that it pushed them backwards and forced them to seek anchorage. The tiniest ship, the San Cristobal, was carried out of sight and lost for two days. This was the first encounter with the Gulf Stream where it reaches maximum force between the Florida coast and the Bahamas. Because of the powerful boost provided by the current, it would soon become the primary route for eastbound ships leaving the Spanish Indies bound for Europe. They continued down the coast hugging the shore to avoid the strong head current. By May 4 the fleet reached Biscayne Bay and took on water at an island they named Santa Marta, now Key Biscayne. On May 15 they were coasting along the Florida Keys, looking for a passage to head north and explore the west coast of the Florida peninsula. From a distance the Keys reminded Ponce de León of men who were suffering, so he named them Los Martires, meaning the Martyrs. Eventually they found a gap in the reefs and sailed "to the north and other times to the northeast" until they reached the Florida mainland on May 23. Again, the exact site of their landfall is controversial. The vicinity of Charlotte Harbor is the most commonly identified spot while some assert a landing further north at Tampa Bay or even Pensacola. Other historians have argued the distances were too great to cover in the available time and the more likely location was Cape Romano or Cape Sable. Here Ponce de León anchored for several days to take on water and repair the ships. They were approached by Native Americans who were initially interested in trading but relations soon turned hostile. Several skirmishes followed with casualties on both sides and the Spaniards took eight Indians captive. On June 14 they set sail again looking for a chain of islands in the west that had been described by their captives. They reached the Dry Tortugas on June 21. There they captured giant sea turtles, Caribbean Monk Seals, and thousands of seabirds. From these islands they sailed southwest in an apparent attempt to circle around Cuba and return home to Puerto Rico. Failing to take into account the powerful currents pushing them eastward, they struck the northeast shore of Cuba and were initially confused about their location. Once they regained their bearings, the fleet retraced their route east along the Florida Keys and around the Florida peninsula, reaching Grand Bahama on July 8. They were surprised to come across another Spanish ship, piloted by Diego Miruelo, who was either on a slaving voyage or had been sent by Diego Colón to spy on Ponce de León. Shortly thereafter Miruelo's ship was wrecked in a storm and Ponce de León rescued the stranded crew.
From here the little fleet disbanded. Ponce de León tasked the Santa Maria with further exploration while he returned home with the rest of crew. Ponce de León reached Puerto Rico on October 19 after having been away for almost eight months. The other ship, after further explorations returned safely on February 20, 1514. According t a popular legend, Ponce de León discovered Florida while searching for the Fountain of Youth. Though stories of vitality-restoring waters were known on both sides of the Atlantic long before Ponce de León, the story of his searching for them was not attached to him until after his death. In his Historia General y Natural de las Indias of 1535, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés wrote that Ponce de León was looking for the waters of Bimini to cure his aging. A similar account appears in Francisco López de Gómara's Historia General de las Indias of 1551. Then in 1575, Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, a shipwreck survivor who had lived with the Native Americans of Florida for 17 years, published his memoir in which he locates the waters in Florida, and says that Ponce de León was supposed to have looked for them there. Though Fontaneda doubted that de León had really gone to Florida looking for the waters, the account was included in the Historia General de los Hechos de los Castellanos of Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas of 1615. Most historians hold that the search for gold and the expansion of the Spanish Empire were far more imperative than the any potential search for the fountain.
Upon his return to Puerto Rico, Ponce de León found the island in turmoil. A party of Caribs from a neighboring island had attacked the settlement of Caparra, killed several Spaniards and burned it to the ground. Ponce de León's own home was destroyed and his family narrowly escaped. Colón used the attack as a pretext for renewing hostilities against the local Taíno tribes. The explorer suspected that Colón was working to further undermine his position on the island and perhaps even to take his claims for the newly discovered Florida. Ponce de León decided he should return to Spain and personally report the results of his recent expedition. He left Puerto Rico in April 1514 and was warmly received by Ferdinand when he arrived at court in Valladolid. There he was knighted and given a personal coat of arms - the first conquistador to receive these honors. He also visited Casa de Contratación in Seville, which was the central bureaucracy and clearinghouse for all of Spain's activities in the New World. The Casa took detailed notes of his discoveries and added them to the Padrón Real, a master map which served as the basis for official navigation charts provided to Spanish captains and pilots. During his stay in Spain, a new contract was drawn up for Ponce de León confirming his rights to settle and govern the "islands" of Florida and Bimini. In addition to the usual directions for sharing gold and other valuables with the king, the contract was one of the first to stipulate that the Requerimiento was to be read to the inhabitants of the islands prior to their conquest. Ponce de León was also ordered to organize an armada for the purpose of attacking and subduing the Caribs, who continued to attack Spanish settlements in the Caribbean. Three ships were purchased for his armada and after repairs and provisioning Ponce de León left Spain on May 14, 1515 with his little fleet. The record of his activities against the Caribs is vague. There was one engagement in Guadeloupe on his return to Spain and possibly two or three other encounters. The campaign came to an abrupt end in 1516 when Ferdinand died. The king had been a strong supporter and Ponce de León felt it was imperative he return to Spain and defend his privileges and titles. He did receive assurances of support from Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, the regent appointed to govern Castile, but it was nearly two years before he was able to return home to Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, there had been at least two unauthorized voyages to "his" Florida, and Ponce de Leon realized he had to act soon if he was to maintain his claim. Not much is known about these “unauthorized voyages” however, some believe they were commissioned and/or funded by funded by Diego Colón. The possibility also exists that they were slave expeditions. Between de Leon’s voyages there were in fact four other documented voyages to Florida. Very rarely were slave expeditions documented but Paul Hoffmann in “A Voyage to the Island of Giants” does just that. According to Hoffman, Captain Pedro de Salazar led a slaving expedition to Florida between August 1514 and November 1516. Salazar’s voyage took him to Florida’s east coast where he imprisoned the natives as slaves to sell to the Spanish settlers of Hispaniola. Also during this voyage Salazar sailed up the coast and landed on one of the Carolina Barrier Islands. He found the natives friendly here until he tried to capture them. Finding Carolina’s Indians larger than the Caribbean Indians, Salazar began referring to them as “Giants”. Of the 500 slaves captured on this voyage only 150 made it back to Hispaniola, the rest died of starvation and disease on the voyage.
The exploratory voyage of Diego Miruelo in 1516 is so poorly documented, that some scholars question if it actually took place. Spaniard Diego Miruelo, a sea captain out of Havana, led his expedition of one solitary vessel from Cuba in 1516. Most accounts tell of Miruelo sailing up the west coast of Florida, trading with the Indians and obtaining gold. Another version states Miruelo was on a slaving expedition. The only evidence which could possibly give credence to the slaving theory is that the following year Juan Ponce de León was engaged in a lawsuit against Cuban governor Diego Velázquez del Cuellar for having allowed 300 Florida Indians to be captured and brought illegally to Cuba; this might possibly have resulted from Miruelo's expedition. Miruelo could not tell distinctly in which harbor he had anchored, later expeditions had great difficulty in identifying it. Scholars differ in opinion, some theorizing the harbor was Pensacola Bay, Apalachee Bay, or Tampa Bay. When Miruelo returned to Cuba and told of the beauty of the country he had visited, many persons were eager to go there.
Spanish conquistador, Francisco Hernandez de Córdoba is known to history mainly for the ill-fated expedition he led in 1517, in the course of which the first European accounts of the Yucatán Peninsula were compiled. Little is known of Córdoba's life before his exploration of the Yucatán. A native of Spain, he was living in Cuba in 1517, indicating that he had participated in the conquest of the island. He was also quite wealthy, as he both owned a landed estate, including a native town, and financed his expedition to Mexico
Together with some 110 discontented Spanish settlers in Cuba, Hernandez de Córdoba petitioned the governor, Diego Velázquez de Cuellar, for permission to launch an expedition in search of new lands and exploitable resources. This permission was granted after some haggling over terms, and the expedition consisting of three ships under Hernandez de Córdoba's command left the harbor of Santiago de Cuba on February 8, 1517, to explore the shores of southern Mexico. The main pilot was Anton de Alaminos, the premiere navigator of the region who had accompanied Christopher Columbus on his initial voyages; The pilots of the other two ships were Juan Alvarez and Camacho de Triana. During the course of this expedition many of Hernandez' men were killed, most during a battle near the town of Champotón against a Maya army while trying to obtain water. The expeditionaries had returned to the ships without the fresh water that had been the original reason to land. Furthermore, they saw their crew reduced by more than fifty men, many of them sailors, which combined with the great number of the seriously injured made it an impossibility to operate three ships. They broke up the ship of least draught burning it on the high sea, after having distributed to the others two its sails, anchors, and cables. The thirst began to become intolerable. Bernal writes that their tongues and throats cracked, and of soldiers who were driven by desperation to drink sea water. Another land excursion of fifteen men, in a place which they called Estero de los Lagartos, "Lizards' Estuary", obtained only brackish water which increased the desperation of the crew. The pilots Alaminos, Camacho, and Álvarez decided, on the initiative of Alaminos, to navigate to Florida rather than head directly for Cuba. Alaminos remembered his exploration of Florida with Juan Ponce de León, and believed this to be the safest route, although promptly upon arriving in Florida he advised his companions of the bellicosity of the local Indians. In the event, the twenty people — among them, Bernal and the pilot Alaminos — who debarked in search of water were attacked by natives, although this time they came out victorious, with Bernal nonetheless receiving his third injury of the voyage, and Alaminos taking an arrow in the neck. One of the sentries who had been placed on guard around the troop disappeared: Berrio, precisely the only soldier who had escaped unscathed in Champotón. But the others were able to return to the boat, and finally brought fresh water to alleviate the suffering of those who had remained with the boat, although one of them (according to Bernal, as always) drank so much that he swelled up and died within a few days. Now with fresh water, they headed to Havana in the two remaining ships, and not without difficulties — the boats were deteriorated and taking on water, and some mutinous sailors refused to work the pumps — they were able to complete their voyage and disembark in the port of Havana. Francisco Hernández de Córdoba barely reached Cuba; suffering from his mortal wounds, he expired within days of reaching the port, along with three other sailors. Bernal Díaz del Castillo was a member of the expedition and wrote about his journey. This was the Europeans' first encounter with an advanced civilization in the Americas, with solidly built buildings and a complex social organization which they recognized as being comparable to those of the Old World. They also had reason to expect that this new land would have gold. All of this encouraged two further expeditions: the first in 1518 under the command of Juan de Grijalva, and the second in 1519 under the command of Hernán Cortés, which led to the Spanish exploration, military invasion, and ultimately settlement and colonization known as the Conquest of Mexico. Hernández did not live to see the continuation of his work; he died in 1517, the year of his expedition, as the result of the injuries and the extreme thirst suffered during the voyage and disappointed in the knowledge that Diego Velázquez had given precedence to Grijalva as the captain of the next expedition to Yucatán. The Spanish believed there must be a sea lane from the Gulf of Mexico to Asia. In 1517 and 1519, Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda had led several expeditions to map the western coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico, from the Yucatan Peninsula to Rio Panuco, just north of Veracruz. Ponce de Leon had previously mapped parts of Florida, which he believed to be an island. Alaminos's expedition eliminated the western areas as being the site of the passage, leaving the land between the Rio Panuco and Florida to be mapped. Alaminos persuaded the governor of Jamaica, Francisco de Garay, to finance an expedition to search the remainder of the Gulf. Garay outfitted four ships and placed them under the command of Alvarez de Pineda. He left Jamaica in early 1519 and sailed west to follow the northern coastline of the Gulf. At the western tip of Southern Florida, he attempted to sail east, but the winds were uncooperative. Instead, Alvarez de Pineda sailed west from the
Florida Keys to hug the Gulf Coast. On June 2, 1519, Álvarez de Pineda entered a large bay with a sizable Native American settlement on one shore. He sailed upriver for eighteen miles and observed as many as forty villages on the banks of the large, deep river he named "Espíritu Santo". Long assumed to have been the first European report of the mouth of the Mississippi River, the description of the land and its settlement has led many historians to believe he was describing Mobile Bay and the Alabama River. Álvarez de Pineda continued his journey westward. There is no reliable evidence that he ever disembarked on the shores of Texas, but he anchored off of Villa Rice de la Veracruz shortly after Hernán Cortés had departed. Cortés returned on hearing of Alvarez de Pineda's arrival. Alvarez de Pineda wished to establish a boundary between the lands he was claiming for Garay and those that Cortés had already claimed; Cortés was unwilling to bargain, and Alvarez de Pineda left to retrace his route northward.[ Shortly thereafter, he sailed up a river he named Las Palmas, where he spent over 40 days repairing his ships. The Las Palmas was most likely the Rio Grande. The expedition established the remainder of the boundaries of the Gulf of Mexico, while disproving the idea of a sea passage to Asia. It also verified that Florida was a peninsula instead of an island, and allowed Alvarez de Pineda to be the first European to see the coastal areas of western Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, lands he called "Amichel." His map is the first known document of Texas history and was the first map of the Gulf Coast region of the United States. After the repairs were made, the ships returned to Jamaica, presenting Garay with a map of the entire Gulf Coast "in more or less accurate proportions." Historian Robert Weddle believes that Alvarez de Pineda and many of his crew remained behind as settlers. In January 1520, Diego de Camargo set sail from Jamaica with supplies for the colony on the banks of the Panuco. On arrival, he found the Huastec tribe attacking the village. He was able to evacuate 60 colonists, but the remainder, including Alvarez de Pineda and his mother, Nina, were killed. In 1521 Ponce de León was finally able to organize a colonizing expedition back to Florida. It consisted of some 200 men, including priests, farmers and artisans, 50 horses and other domestic animals, and farming implements all on only two ships. The expedition landed on the southwest coast of Florida, in the vicinity of Caloosahatchee River or Charlotte Harbor. The colonists were soon attacked by Calusa braves and Ponce de León was injured when an arrow poisoned with the sap of the Manchineel tree struck his thigh. After this attack, he and the colonists sailed to Havana, Cuba, where he soon died of the wound. He was buried in Puerto Rico, in the crypt of San José Church from 1559 to 1836, when his remains were exhumed and later transferred to the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista There would be many more explorers and much history to be made before the land now known as Florida would be settled permanently. However, with its discovery by Juan Ponce de Leon the land had a name, was mapped, was being explored, La Florida’s was assured its place in the New World.
Please watch for the continuation of Historic Florida, as we delve into the specific, regional, history of the people and places of the Florida Peninsula in the next issue of The Floridian Magazine.