Juan Ponce de León Biography
Born In: Santervás de Campos
Juan Ponce de Leon was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who is credited to have led the first European expedition to Florida. The major purpose of his expedition was to find gold and his quest for finding treasures led him to the southeast coast of what would become the United States. Further exploration of the region brought him to the place which he named “Florida”. De Leon was inspired by the legend of the ‘Fountain of Youth’ which was believed to be located in the Florida region and spent considerable time searching for the elusive spring which he could never find. Born in Spain, he was a brave young boy who grew up to become a soldier who fought against the Moors during the completion of the re-conquest of Spain in 1492. After the historic victory of the Spanish in the battle, he ventured abroad to seek out his fortunes. Adventurous by nature, he joined Christopher Columbus for his second voyage to the New World. The crew visited several places including a large island that would eventually become known as Puerto Rico. He returned home to Spain and after a few years led a European expedition for gold which took him to the modern-day United States. This voyage led him to a region in mainland North America which was rich with floral vegetation. He named this place “Florida”.