We’ve been seeing a lot of Dr. Sam Turner’s work in the news lately, because the 500 anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s first landing in Florida is fast approaching (just a few more days now!) The latest national media organization to pick up this story is Smithsonian Magazine, whose webpage Smithsonian.com just featured Dr. Turner’s research regarding Ponce de Leon’s voyage of discovery:

And so, on March 27, 1513, the first sighting of Florida by Juan Ponce and his fleet. A continued northward voyage and a bout of bad weather later, Juan Ponce and his crew went ashore on April 3 somewhere north of present-day St. Augustine.
Though Juan Ponce was the first to “officially” discover Florida—the first with approval by the Spanish king for such a quest—says Turner, he was not, of course, the first to actually do so. Slave runners had been traveling around the Bahamas for years.
During the course of one of these slaving voyages by a mariner named Diego de Miruelo, a large land to the north had been accidentally discovered when his vessel was driven north in a storm. There he traded with those he encounters but took no captives. Shortly thereafter, slavers went directly to this new land in search of slaves. Thus the initial discovery in the north became common knowledge that ultimately led to Juan Ponce’s licensed voyage of discovery in 1513.

Click here to read the entire article!