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Early Indian Wars in Florida

Previous to the permanent establishment of the English in North America, the French and Spaniards made many attempts to get possession of various parts of the country. The coasts were carefully explored, and colonies planted, but they were soon given up as expensive, and involving too much hardship and danger. The first expedition to the coast of Florida was made in 1512, by Juan Ponce de Leon, renowned for his courage and warlike abilities. Ponce de Leon, becoming governor of Porto Rico (Puerto Rico), and hearing from the Indians that there existed a beautiful and fertile country to the northward, containing the waters of perpetual youth, resolved to attempt its conquest. He sailed from Porto Rico with three ships, and finally, reached the continent at about eight degrees thirty minutes, north latitude. Landing on Palm Sunday, Ponce de Leon gave the country the name of Florida. He explored the coast from north to south, and had several engagements with the Indians; and though he failed to obtain the youth and treasures that he sought, he returned to Porto Rico, crowned with the luster of making a great discovery. The report of the achievements of Cortez in Mexico, again kindled the ambition of Ponce de Leon; and he set out in 1521, with two of his own ships, to make a settlement in Florida. But the Indians advanced against him; most of his men were killed, and himself so badly wounded, that he died a few days after his return to Cuba. Another expedition, under Vasquez de Ayllon, attempted to form a settlement, in 1524. The Indians on the coast...

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