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Ponce De Leon and the Fountain of Youth

Posted on Sunday, 26 May, 2013 | Comment icon 25 comments | News tip by: the L

Image credit: Agustin Anavitate

Did the Spanish explorer really go searching for the fabled fountain or was this nothing but a myth ?

The story goes that Juan Ponce de León departed Puerto Rico in 1513 on a quest to discover the location of the Fountain of Youth, a mythical wellspring said to grant everlasting life. While his goal was to reach what would later become known as the Bahamas, Ponce instead found himself landing along the coast of Florida where he staked a claim on behalf of the Spanish crown.

There is however a problem with this story. The idea that Ponce set sail to find the Fountain of Youth didn't arise until some years after his death and appears to have been a fabrication aimed at discrediting him. Instead, it is believed that Ponce was granted Bimini as a consolation prize from King Ferdinand after he had been forced to surrender his governorship. His purpose for setting sail was to find and claim the islands, not to find the Fountain of Youth as was later suggested.

"Half a millennium ago, in 1513, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León departed Puerto Rico for the verdant island of “Bimini”—an uncharted land in what is now the Bahamas."

  View: Full article |  Source: Smithsonian Magazine

  Discuss: View comments (25)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #16 Posted by colorqueen on 27 May, 2013, 15:22
There are a lot of fascinating stories about the explorers that most people are not aware of.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Explorer1948 on 27 May, 2013, 15:56
this book cuts to the chase without any of the hoopbla --- this website lays it out -- and as far as he "discovering" the gulf stream, i have a bridge in brooklyn for sale - cheap -- the french and british knew about the "stream" because they had already mapped florida and it is almost impossible to sail the coast of florida and not know of the stream -- might i encourage people to read and look at the map of Waldseemuller as it already shows Florida as a peninsula de Leon didn't "discover" anything
Comment icon #18 Posted by regeneratia on 28 May, 2013, 16:22
The history we get in school is strongly skewed. As I raise my child, I make him aware that things are not as we have been told and that the searth for truth is the utmost sign of intelligence.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Doug1o29 on 28 May, 2013, 17:58
Old Fumble-finger strikes again. Sorry. Doug
Comment icon #20 Posted by Doug1o29 on 28 May, 2013, 18:25
We depend for much of our "knowledge" of early history on just one or two accounts, or even some made up ones. We know about Wallace because of a blind minstrel named "Harry" who collected the stories. This was about 20 years after the fact and a few "errors (like Wallace' genealogy) had already crept into the story. Only one account tells us of Christians being burned to light Nero's garden parties. That was by Tacitus and is believed to be a later Christian redaction. We have only Caesar's account of Gauls being sacrificed by burning in huge wicker... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by regeneratia on 31 May, 2013, 3:01
Who is fumble finger? Oh I get it. no need to respond.
Comment icon #22 Posted by regeneratia on 31 May, 2013, 3:03
History is a propaganda tool.
Comment icon #23 Posted by WoIverine on 31 May, 2013, 15:39
Hmmm, having been to the actual Fountain at St. Augustine a few times, I would bet the community there would highly disagree.
Comment icon #24 Posted by nohands on 31 May, 2013, 22:21
its just so nice that they made these stories.... its gives excitement to all who are young anytime of their lives.... in other sense it drives tourist also... lol making money thus gives you the capacity to try stem cell therapy toinks lol
Comment icon #25 Posted by VNICA on 6 June, 2013, 1:24
It would be nice if history that is taught to our children was truthful. I am still p***ed that we celebrate "Columbus Day" since the guy did not "discover" America and there were plenty of other peoples here first.

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