On this day in 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon lands near present-day St. Augustine to explore the Florida coast. He was searching for a “Fountain of Youth,” a magical water source said to bring eternal youth. (He didn’t find it.)
Ponce de Leon made a detailed exploration of what he thought was an island, and named it “La Florida” because he discovered it during the Easter “Pascua Florida,” or “Feast of Flowers” feast.
Ponce de Leon will return in 1521 and try to set up a permanent colony. However he will be wounded after a battle with Native Americans. His force will retreat to Cuba, where he will die.