Florida’s First Spanish Explorer
Juan Ponce de León landed along Florida’s east coast near St. Augustine, naming the new land “La Florida” (“Place of Flowers”). One goal of his exploration in the region was to locate Bimini, whose legendary spring, referred to by Native Americans as the “fountain of youth”, was believed to make older people young again. His interaction with the Calusa Indians in 1521 ended badly when Juan was shot with an arrow. He would later die of this wound in Cuba.