Samuel Turner


This paper will reconsider a number of sources, both those commonly cited as well as some that are less well known, that are used in our interpretation and understanding of Juan Ponce de Leon's 1513 voyage of discovery to Florida. A number of ideas that are commonly accepted as fact are reexamined. These include the date of Ponce's first sighting of the east coast of Florida, the specific ship types used during the voyage, as well as the perception that the latitudes provided in our principal source for this voyage suffer from a "northing error." The Melbourne Beach landing theory will also be examined and considered in light of these findings. Additional historical information regarding Ponce is offered in order to place him in his contemporary historical context and illustrate some of the political circumstances that led to this voyage.