Friday, October 8, 2010

Something Historical This Way Happened

To garner the title of "First" isn't always as desirable as it seems sometimes.

In late March of 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon's ships landed on the east coast of Florida near present day St. Augustine. He claimed this beautiful land for Spain and called it La Florida or "Place of Flowers".

He was searching for gold as well as the fabled "Fountain of Youth". His search continued down the east coast to Cape Canaveral or "Cape of Currents", down along the Keys and then up the west coast where Leon's ships finally entered the Charlotte Harbor area.

In my town there is a little park on the banks of Charlotte Harbor called Ponce de Leon Park. There are a couple of historical markers there as well as a few statues of Senor Leon. One of the markers it entitled, "First White Man Dies in America".

The marker reads...

Pine Island is south by southwest of the banks of the Ponce de Leon Park beyond the horizon.

The Colonel and I are into history so it's interesting that something of this historical magnitude happened near where we live.

It's not a laughing matter (although sometimes laughter is the only way to mitigate our fears of our own mortality) when someone loses their life, no matter how long ago, but I can't help thinking and betting my last eight-reales that on May 24, 1513, the first white man to die in America never put his quill to parchment and wrote,

"Dear Diary,

82 degrees and sunny with a light breeze. Can't explain why but I've got such a warm and fuzzy about today..."

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