Historic Markers Across Florida

Juan Ponce de Leon

Marker ID:  
Location: Overseas Highway (at milepost 78), 1.9 miles south of Old Florida Route 4A, Islamorada, FL
County: Monroe
Coordinates: N 24° 53.365    W 080° 40.568
  24.88941666    -80.67613333
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: WMXWP5


Juan Ponce de Leon

Juan Ponce de Leon was born in San Servas, Spain in 1460. He had served in the Spanish army and had accompanied Christopher Columbus in his second voyage in 1491. He was appointed governor of Haiti in 1511 and governor of Puerto Rico in 1512.

His wife and daughter lived in a beautiful home in Puerto Rico called Casa Blanca.

To be governor of any new land he would find north and west of Haiti, he was required to furnish three ships, the crews, and supplies. He set out March 13, 1513 and on April 3, he planted the Spanish flag near St. Augustine and named it La Florida.

On May 5, 1513, he sailed through the Florida Keys, calling them Los Martires. That Sunday, he collected firewood and filled the ships's casts with water from the wells on Achecombie (Lower Matecumbe). He stopped in Matanca (Indian Key)on his way back to Puerto Rico.

In 1521, during his second voyage, he was shot by an arrow and returned to Cuba where he died.

Matecumbe Historical Trust.


One of a group of three markers on boulders on the ocean side of Overseas Highway