The same year, 1513, Ponce de Leon, an old Spanish soldier in the wars with the Moors, a companion of Columbus in his second voyage, and till now governor of Porto Rico, began exploration to the northward. Leaving Porto Rico with three ships, he landed on the coast of an unknown country, where he thought to find not only infinite gold but also the much-talked-about fountain of perpetual youth. His landing occurred on Easter Sunday, or Pascua Florida, March 27, 1513, and so he named the country Florida. The place was a few miles north of the present town of
St. Augustine. Exploring the coast around the southern extremity of the peninsula, he sailed among a group of islands, which he designated the Tortugas. Returning to Porto Rico, he was appointed governor of the new country. He made a second voyage, was attacked by the natives and mortally wounded, and returned to Cuba to die.
See also: 1498