The Spanish in South Florida

The Spanish in South Florida


  • The Spanish in South Florida

Published Date

  • published 1940



The first voyage of Columbus in 1492 paved the way for later
explorers who carried the Spanish flag over a vast empire stretching from
Kansas to Chile and from the Carolinas to the Pacific. (1)

Ten years after the Santa Maria was wrecked on the coast of
Haiti, Alberto Cantina, a Portuguese mariner, published a map showing
the Florida peninsula. Credit for the discovery of Florida goes, however,
to Ponce de Leon who employed Anton de Alaminos of Palos, the pilot
who accompanied Columbus on his earlier voyages, to bring his ships
through the Bahamas to Bimini. His northward voyage brought him
nearly to the mouth of the St. Johns River on March 27, 1513. (2)

Ponce de Leon turned southward touching at the present site of
St. Augustine for fresh water and at Cape Canaveral because of a storm.
Continuing his coastwise journey he came upon an island which he
named Santa Marta. (2)

The exact location of this island has never been established. The
probability that it was one of those forming Biscayne Bay remains
undetermined even though it was somewhere in this vicinity that the
famous explorer was obliged to seek shore waters to avoid the Gulf
Stream current which he mentions in his report. (2)

Ponce de Leon sailed close to the Florida Reef as he rounded the
southern tip of the peninsula. He named this chain of keys "Los
Martyres." Following the westward sweep of these low islands he came,
at last, to an isolated group where his men discovered great