Juan Ponce de León Tomb in San Juan Cathedral in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish conquistador. His first visit to the New World was aboard Christopher Columbus’s second voyage in 1493. After securing Hispaniola for Spain, he created a settlement in San Juan in 1508 and became the first governor of Puerto Rico a year later. He was also the first European explorer to land at La Florida and travel along the eastern coast of today’s United States. In 1521, at the age of 47, Ponce de León suffered wounds during a battle with the Calusa, an indigenous tribe in southwest Florida. He died in Havana and was interred at the Church of San José in San Juan. In 1912, his body was moved to the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Saint John the Baptist.

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151 Calle del Cristo, San Juan, 00902, Puerto Rico

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