On April 8, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León is thought to have become the first European to arrive in the area now known as Florida. Ponce de León was on an expedition to the Caribbean when he arrived in what he called Florida (“feast of flowers”) and claimed the land for Spain. According to a popular legend, Ponce de León discovered Florida while searching for the fountain of youth.
 
Ponce de León did not find a fountain of youth, but he did initiate Spanish colonial activities in what is now the United States. By 1565, Spain had established Florida as a permanent colony, one of the first within the present limits of the U.S. In 1819, the U.S. purchased Florida from the Spanish through the Florida Purchase Treaty. Today, the culture, landscape, and language of the region still reflect Spanish influence.
colony
Noun

people and land separated by distance or culture from the government that controls them.

culture
Noun

learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

establish
Verb

to form or officially organize.

expedition
Noun

journey with a specific purpose, such as exploration.

explorer
Noun

person who studies unknown areas.

initiate
Verb

to begin.

Juan Ponce de Leon
Noun

(1460-1521) Spanish explorer of the Americas.

Noun

the geographic features of a region.

legend
Noun

explanation of symbols and abbreviations used on a map, also known as a key.