Fountain of Youth Florida history

September 8, 2017
Searching for the Fountain of

On April 2, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León along with his crew became the very first recorded Europeans setting eyes on Florida. Legend keeps which they made this breakthrough while searching for the Fountain of Youth, a magical liquid source supposedly with the capacity of reversing aging and curing vomiting. A closer appearance, however, shows that the water fountain likely provided little to no inspiration with their voyage. In fact, no enduring documents through the time, including letters from Ponce de León himself, ever before mention these types of a fountain. Just later on did Spanish and U.S. writers link both, therefore switching Ponce de León into a poster guy for gullibility.

Tales of sacred, restorative seas existed well before the birth of Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León around 1474. Alexander the truly amazing, for example, had been believed to have come across a recovery “river of paradise” when you look at the fourth century B.C., and comparable legends cropped up in such disparate places as Canary isles, Japan, Polynesia and England. Throughout the old, some Europeans also thought in mythical master Prester John, whoever kingdom allegedly included a fountain of childhood and a river of silver. “You could locate that until these days, ” said Ryan K. Smith, a history professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. “People are touting miracle cures and miracle oceans.”

Spanish resources asserted that the Taino Indians of the Caribbean also spoke of a miracle water fountain and rejuvenating lake that existed somewhere north of Cuba. These hearsay conceivably reached the ears of Ponce de León, who's considered to have accompanied Christopher Columbus on his 2nd voyage towards "" new world "" in 1493. After assisting to savagely crush a Taino rebellion on Hispaniola in 1504, Ponce de León ended up being issued a provincial governorship and a huge selection of acres of land, in which he used forced Indian work to increase crops and livestock. In 1508 he got royal authorization to colonize San Juan Bautista (today Puerto Rico). He became the island’s very first governor a year later on, but ended up being shortly pushed out in an electrical have trouble with Christopher Columbus’ boy Diego.

Having remained in the great graces of King Ferdinand, Ponce de León got an agreement in 1512 to explore and settle an island called Bimini. No place either in this contract or a follow-up agreement was the elixir of youth mentioned. By contrast, certain guidelines got for subjugating the Indians and divvying up any gold found. Although he might have claimed to know particular “secrets, ” Ponce de León similarly never mentioned the fountain inside the known communication with Ferdinand. “exactly what Ponce is truly selecting is islands that'll come to be part of just what he hopes is going to be a profitable brand-new governorship, ” said J. Michael Francis, a history professor on University of Southern Florida St. Petersburg. “From every little thing I can gather, he had been generally not very interested or believed that he would find some kind of miraculous springtime or lake or human anatomy of water.” At least one historian suggests that perhaps Ferdinand, who'd recently hitched a female 35 many years his junior, told Ponce de León maintain their eye away for it. But other professionals dispute this.

Regardless, Ponce de León put sail in March 1513 with three vessels. According to very early historians, he anchored from the eastern shore of Florida on April 2 and emerged ashore a day later, choosing the name “La Florida” simply as it had been the Easter period (Pascua Florida in Spanish). Ponce de León after that journeyed down through the Florida Keys and up the western coastline, where he skirmished with Indians, before you begin a roundabout journey back again to Puerto Rico. Along the way he purportedly found the Gulf flow, which proved to be the fastest route for cruising back again to Europe.

Eight years later, Ponce de León returned to Florida’s southwestern coastline so as to establish a colony, but he had been mortally wounded by an Indian arrow. Before making, he sent letters to his brand new king, Charles V, also to the long term Pope Adrian VI. Again, the explorer made no mention of the Fountain of Youth, focusing instead on his need to settle the land, distribute Christianity and discover whether Florida was an island or peninsula. No log of either voyage has survived, no archaeological impact features previously already been uncovered.

However, historians began linking Ponce de León with all the Fountain of Youth shortly after his death. In 1535 Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés accused Ponce de León of seeking the water fountain being heal his intimate erectile dysfunction. “he had been being discredited [as] an idiot and weakling, ” Smith explained. “This is machismo culture in Spain on height associated with Counter-Reformation.” The accusation is nearly truly untrue, Smith added, since Ponce de León fathered several kiddies and ended up being under 40 yrs old at the time of his first expedition.

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