Florida - The Naming of a State

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Florida was named by Juan Ponce de León. Ponce de León was a Spanish conquistador who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second trip to the Americas. After having spent time in various holdings in the New World, he set sail with three ships in 1513. The exact reason why is disputed, but a common tale is that he was seeking the Fountain of Youth. Landing somewhere in Northeast Florida, he claimed the lands of "La Florida" (flowery) for Spain.

He landed in Florida on April 2nd, 1513, during the celebration of Pascua Florida (the Easter season). That may be the reason for the name, or simply a reference to the vegetation he found upon his arrival. Regardless, the name has been passed down since then and his hunt for the Fountain of Youth became legend.

While he is commonly credited with being the first European to set foot in Florida, there is some dispute of this as apparently he was met by at least one native that spoke Spanish.

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