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The Story Of The Fountain of Youth and Ponce De Leon

An American author noted that in our life, we would be happier if we are 80 years old when we were born, then slowly, we progress and reach 18 years old. This could be owing to the numerous disadvantages that come from aging. For a long time, conquering the effects of aging has been recorded, and the aim of preserving our youth has been sought.

Homer, Herodotus, Shakespeare, and even characters of stories, notably Dorian Gray, tackle the subject. Nowadays, in the modern world, recent studies and research have placed their attention on uncovering the so-called Fountain of Youth.

Seekers of the Unknown

Alexander the Great

Before he died around 323B.C, apparently, he was looking for a river that supposedly cured the adverse effects of getting old

Prester John

12th Century A.D. king ruled over a kingdom that has a flowing river of gold and a fountain of youth.

Juan Ponce de LeonJuan Ponce de Leon

Speak of the Fountain of Youth, and the name of Juan Ponce de Leon is the closest that will come into anyone’s mind. Found on his royal charter, his biography mentioned his exploits and searched for the fountain of youth. It was allegedly thought to be in Florida. It is the oldest city in the U.S. St. Augustine, where Ponce de Leon discovered the fountain’s existence after his arrival in 1513.

Though it is hard to confirm such a tale as historians today think he landed on the present-day Melbourne Florida. St. Augustine’s natural spring emits a sulfur smell, and no official Ponce de Leon documents survived. He may have been told about the fountain of youth by Native Americans, according to the legend.

Indigenous Tale

The story by Native Americans of the mythical land of Bimini, speaks about a fountain that restores the youth of anyone who drinks from it. The lure of promises of benefits from the so-called fountain is irresistible that de Leon could not resist it. Initially, according to the natives, it is at Boinca and not Bimini.

Probable Explanation on its Origin

The said fountain was in a saltwater mangrove swamp known as The Healing Hole, a pool with cool mineral-laden freshwater after low tide. Groundwater with calcium and magnesium filled the limestone rock wall. Magnesium helps improve longevity and reproductive function. However, we cannot be sure if the use of this water for healing was in practice all over the Caribbean lands in those days. In 1516, Italian chronicler Peter Martyr added such a story on his account of Juan Diaz de Solis 1514 voyage.  He also sent a letter to the Pope mentioning this but then disregarded it.

The Quest Continues

Enticed by the tale, it captures a great deal of interest and attention. Intriguing and sparking interest, students, historians, explorers, to name a few. Locating the fountain of youth and still not finding it adds more to the mystery, and the belief of being out there somewhere always keeps the tale alive up to this day.

Tale for Amusement

After Ponce de Leon’s death, there existed a guess that the story was just created by the Spanish historians to humiliate him for being old and wanting to regain his youthful self.

Tidbits that Supported the Story

In one of Florida’s most important historical sites, archeologists discovered the ruins beside the remains of the Spanish mission at St. Augustine, a cemetery near the supposed location of the so-called fountain of youth.

Fountain of YouthA major tourist attraction since the 1860s, St. Augustine has become a tribute to the supposed location of the fountain of youth. Purchasing the property from Henry H. Williams in 1904, Luella Day McConnell developed the present form. Though McConnell continued fabricating stories to attract more on her establishment, it caught the attention of spectators and attracted visitors.

Archeological digs were later done by the Smithsonian Institution in 1934, unearthing its rich Spanish heritage. The place is famous as the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. One can find exhibits of native and Spanish artifacts. This links the location to Pedro Menendez de Aviles 1565 settlement, making it the oldest surviving European settlement found in North America.

Whether or not there indeed exists a fountain of youth, one thing is sure. If we can all turn back the clock and regain the years’ past, we would certainly do it to be young again.

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