Juan Ponce de Leon, after serving in the armies of Spain, embarked for the West Indies where he became active in the subjugation of the Indians, a service in which he was engaged many years. He was a soldier and led a military life until he was forty-five years of age or more. He appears in official civil life with his appointment as governor of the eastern part of Hispaniola (Haiti), known as the province of Higuey. Soon afterward he was appointed governor of the island of San Juan (now Porto Rico), which he had already partially explored and conquered from the Indians. This office he held until relieved (c1511) without prejudice, as a result of the decision of the Council of Spain to favor others, principally the heirs of Columbus, for the high positions in the West Indies. Hitherto, Spanish exploration had been directed south and west of the West Indies, but rumors had become current that lands had been found toward the north Yielding to the wanderlust that possessed these early Spaniards, Ponce asked permission of the King to explore in that direction.
Davis, T. Frederick
"Ponce de Leon's First Voyage and Discovery of Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 14
, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol14/iss1/5