News

A sampling of the most recent news coverage of the 500th Anniversary of Ponce de Leon's discovery of La Florida.

St. Augustine Will Celebrate its 500th: Get Used to It

by Margo Pope, Florida Voices

The  500th anniversary of the arrival of Juan Ponce de Leon in what we call Florida is huge business. Florida’s tourism industry sells sunshine, beaches, history and golf to name a few of the top draws. State statistics show it has more than a $67 billion economic impact annually on our state.

In St. Johns County, the annual impact from tourism is around $716 million, according to Richard Goldman, head of the county’s Visitor and Convention Bureau. That returns approximately $43 million in county sales tax revenue annually, he said. Read more...

Florida: 500 years of the Sunshine State

By Kathy Arnold, UK Telegraph

Just north of Orlando and Miami, Kathy Arnold discovers a corner of Florida that has changed little since the first Spanish colonists arrived 500 years ago . Read more ...

As 500th anniversary nears, cities vie for title of Ponce de Leon’s landing spot

By Jeff Klinkenberg, Tampa Bay Times

Where did that most ambitious conquistador, Juan Ponce de Leon, wade ashore five centuries ago and name his prize "La Florida?" Inquiring minds all over our state would like to know, the sooner the better, for planning purposes. Read more here ...

 

Cultural, heritage events celebrate Florida’s 500th anniversary
By Diane Daniel, Globe correspondent

February 03, 2013 -- These days, Florida welcomes more than 87 million tourists a year, but five centuries ago, when Juan Ponce de Leon landed on what is now known as the east coast of Florida, visits from afar were rare. The Spanish explorer’s voyage, a failed attempt to find gold, brought European settlers to the land inhabited by Native Americans and launched a new era in Florida’s history. Read more here ....

 

The Top 10 Events for Florida's 500th Birthday
By Roberta Sandler, Dallas Morning News correspondent

March 1, 2013 -- In 1513, explorer Ponce de Leon landed on the shores of Florida and claimed the new land in the name of Spain. Read more here ....

 

St. Augustine Prepares for State's 500th Birthday
Ellen Albanese Boston.com

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — In preparation for the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s discovery of La Florida in March 1513, the nation’s oldest city is polishing its image with expanded tourist resources, new restaurants, and updated attractions, all of which add depth and substance to the legends that surround this storied place. Read more here ....

Florida Celebrates its Spanish Heritage in 2013
Chicago Daily Herald

MIAMI — When Juan Ponce de León searched for riches in Florida, he unknowingly helped turn the Sunshine State into the first travel destination in the United States. In April 1513, the Spanish monarchy contracted the explorer to find another island off of Cuba that was rumored to have great riches. Instead he landed in Florida and named it "La Florida," after the "feast of the flowers" during Spain's Easter celebrations. Read more here ....

St. Augustine Celebrates 500th Anniversary

Deb Hopewell, Fodor's Travel Blog

More than 100 years before the Pilgrims had planted a foot in the New World, Spain's Juan Ponce de León and his fleet of three ships made landfall in what is now northeast Florida on April 3, 1513. While that whole "searching for the Fountain of Youth" yarn has been pretty much debunked, the great conquistador is enjoying a revival as St. Augustine, Fla., gets ready to celebrate the 500th year of his arrival. Read more here ...