The search for a fountain of eternal youth has inspired adventurers and explorers throughout the ages. From the ancient Greeks onwards until the 15th and 16th centuries when the legend of a life giving fountain became associated with one particular Spanish nobleman as he made his way from the Caribbean to the American mainland, discovering lands and gathering riches.
Born in 1474, Juan Ponce de Leon came from noble stock in the Spanish court of Aragon. He made his first voyage across the Atlantic as part of the 1200 strong crew of Christopher Columbus’ 2nd great voyage in 1493. Most probably just a young foot soldier at the time, he would rise up the ranks in the years to come serving the governor of Hispanola, the island now divided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In 1504 he helped establish the colony on the island by quelling the rebellion of a local tribe in bloody fashion, for which he was rewarded by being named as governor of the eastern region of the island.