Sarasota News Leader

04/19/2013

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Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Cortez appointed Alaminos as the pilot. "Alaminos took the then unused and untried route north along the Florida coast to take advantage of the strong current he had experienced earlier on his voyage with Ponce de León. He then discovered that this current was not confined to Florida [waters] but continued for thousands of miles bending eastward and carried him in record time three-quarters of the way across the sea to Spain," wrote Douglas Peck in Ponce de Leon and the Discovery of Florida. Page 80 and the Caribbean Islands. On his second voyage to Florida, Ponce would attempt to establish a colony. "He sailed from Puerto Rico on February 26, 1521 in two ships loaded with settlers and supporting gear necessary to establish a permanent Spanish town and fort on the shores of La Florida," wrote Peck. The two-ship fleet carried "200 men, Catholic clergymen, seed for planting crops, 50 horses, and other livestock including cows, sheep and goats," added Peck. Sanibel Island was the target. By 1521, Ponce was an experienced leader, ex- Having sparred with the Calusa Indians on his plorer and conquistador of both Puerto Rico first voyage, Ponce believed the island was de- This is the 'official' route of DeSoto's campaign through the southeastern United States. It remains a mystery why — after all the time and great expense preparing to found a colony in Florida — DeSoto marched away from a great harbor into the wilderness. Image courtesy U.S. Library of Congress

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