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[34]

The government of Florida was the reward which

Chap. II.} 1513.
Ponce received from the king of Spain; but the dignity was accompanied with the onerous condition, that he should colonize the country which he was appointed to rule. Preparations in Spain, and an expedition against
1514 to 1520.
the Caribbee Indians, delayed his return to Florida. When, after a long interval, he proceeded with two
1521.
ships to take possession of his province and select a site for a colony, his company was attacked by the Indians with implacable fury. Many Spaniards were killed; the survivors were forced to hurry to their ships; Ponce de Leon himself, mortally wounded by an arrow, returned to Cuba to die. So ended the adventurer, who had coveted immeasurable wealth, and had hoped for perpetual youth. The discoverer of Florida had desired immortality on earth, and gained its shadow.1

Meantime, commerce may have discovered a path to

1516.
Florida; and Diego Miruelo, a careless sea-captain, sailing from Havana, is said to have approached the coast, and trafficked with the natives. He could not tell distinctly in what harbor he had anchored; he brought home specimens of gold, obtained in exchange for toys; and his report swelled the rumors, already credited, of the wealth of the country. Florida had at once obtained a governor; it now constituted a part of a bishopric.2

The expedition of Francisco Fernandez, of Cordova,

1517
leaving the port of Havana, and sailing west by south,

1 On Ponce de Leon, I have used Herrera, d. i. l. IX. c. x. XI. and XII., and d. i. l. x. c. XVI. Peter Martyr, d. IV. l. v., and d. v. l. i., and d. VII. l. IV. In Hakluyt, v. 320, 333, and 416. Gomara, Hist. Gen. de las Ind. c. XLV. Garcilaso de la Vega, Hist. de la Florida, l. i. c. III., and l. VI. c. XXII. Cardenas z Cano, Ensayo Cronologico para la Hist. Gen. de la Florida, d. i. p. 1, 2, and 5, Ed. 1723, folio. The author's true name is Andres Gonzalez de Barcia. Navarette, Colleccion, III. 50—53. Compare, also, Eden and Willes, fol. 228, 229. Purchas, i. 957.

2 Florida del Inca, Vega, l. l. c II. Ens. Cron. d. i. Año Mdxvi.

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