The Quest of Ponce de Leon
On September 27, 1514, the Spanish crown granted explorer Juan Ponce de Leon the title Military Governor of Bimini (an island in the Bahamas) and Florida. With this title and the implied permission it contained to colonize those regions, Ponce de Leon sailed for Florida in 1521.
He landed with 200 men and two ships near Charlotte Harbor on Florida's west coast. His arrival did not go unnoticed. Soon the party was attacked by Seminole Indians. During the assault an arrow struck and mortally wounded Ponce de Leon. He returned to Cuba where he died that same year.
This fatal trip was the Spanish explorer's second visit to Florida. In April 1513, Ponce de Leon landed at the site of modern day St. Augustine and named the region Florida because of the lush, florid vegetation which grew there. Thinking he had found the island of Bimini, he searched for the mythical Fountain of Youth which was said to rejuvenate those who drank from it.
Subsequent Spanish incursions in North America led to the founding of a permanent settlement at St. Augustine in 1565. While a fountain of youth was never found, many Americans today enjoy rejuvenating vacations and retirement in Florida.