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Florida Gets Ready to Celebrate 500 Years

Florida Gets Ready to Celebrate 500 Years

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (970 WFLA)The Sunshine State is preparing to celebrate a major milestone.

Tuesday will mark the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's expedition widely regarded as the discovery of Florida.

The explorer was the Governor of Puerto Rico in 1513 when Spain granted him the authority to search for new land north of the Caribbean.

Legend has said that de Leon was exploring Florida in search of a Fountain of Youth, although there was no record of it.

Historians have argued for years over whether Ponce de Leon was the first European to set foot in Florida, but nonetheless, the Spaniard has become synonymous with Florida's history.

According to historical records, de Leon died in Havana, Cuba in 1521.  Many believe, de Leon was mortally wounded during a battle with a native tribe during an expedition to southwest Florida.

Historians believe the site of the battle was near Port Charlotte.

Dozens of events are planned this week across the state, although, St. Augustine will be the center of the celebration.


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