This week in history Juan Ponce de León discovered Florida on April 8, 1513. Spain’s exploration of the region known as La Florida began in 1513 when Juan Ponce de León sailed to the area looking for riches and slaves. Within the next three years at least three other expeditions explored both the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. In 1521 Spanish slavers made it as far north as the Santee River in South Carolina. Other explorers also made their way to and through these southeastern regions. In 1528 Pánfilo de Narváez set out with some four hundred black and white men to explore and perhaps settle the Florida Gulf Coast. Only four men survived and in one of the great heroic sagas of the century made their way back to Mexico City after wandering for eight years. Between 1539 and 1543 Hernando de Soto and five hundred followers covered an area from Tampa Bay to Tampico,
“La Florida.” American Eras. Vol. 2: The Colonial Era, 1600-1754. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 126-129. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.
To learn more about early explorations of Florida, click here.
To learn more about Juan Ponce de León, click here.