TBT: 501 years marks Ponce de Leon’s sighting of Florida

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Today’s Flashback Thursday is brought to you by Ponce de Leon, 501 years ago today, with the Spanish “discovery” and naming of Florida.

The Spanish explorer left Puerto Rico under contract from Ferdinand to voyage some more and was given preemptive rights to whatever he discovered on new islands for a period of three years.

Ponce de Leon set out with three ships and 200 men at his own expense on March 4, 1513. They sailed northwest along the Bahamian islands, and on March 27 would sight what they believed to be a new island. It was Easter Sunday. They sailed for another several days before reaching what Ponce de Leon named “La Florida”.

The conquistador’s subsequent trips to “his” Florida did not go so well — at least three times he was repelled by Calusa Tequesta warriors. On his last trip to Florida, Ponce de Leon was struck by what is believed to be a poisoned arrow. He made it to Havana where he died of the wound.


Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.