Florida Bed and breakfast goers have waited 500 years to see this day. The day Ponce de Leon landed in the new world to claim it for Christ, and Spain. Today St Augustine and Florida celebrated with a re-enactment complete with muskets firing and period proclamation read aloud to the adoring crowd.
Chad Light, St Augustine’s premier period actor, portrays Juan Ponce (really not from Leon – but that’s for another time) one-time farmer, renown conquestador, finally Governor of Puerto Rico, as he came ashore 5 centuries ago.
While in St Augustine, visit the Colonial Quarter and learn that Ponce sailed under the king of Spain’s family flag because the country of Spain had not yet come together as a united country. Like Christopher Columbus before him, he was on a scavenger hunt for what he could claim in the name of the Church, and take back to his sponsor the King. Some say he was after the fountain of youth, but we find that that is a better story, than reality.
We look back and see good and bad in those days. Some said he brought genocide to the indigenous peoples; whine others say he open the gates of freedom in the name of Jesus and where the Spanish later gave sanctuary and freedom to run-away slaves from British colonies. All we can say is, he discovered what we think is a very special place.
Viva La Floridia! Viva St Augustine! Viva Inn on Charlotte.