Ponce de Leon discovered Florida in 1513. Juan Ponce de Leon had been on Columbus’s second voyage to the New World. Later he was commissioned by King Ferdinand to find Bimini, a legendary island that held the fountain of youth. At first Ponce de Leon thought Florida was an island. Because the area grew such lush vegetation, Ponce de Leon named it Florida, meaning full of flowers. He was killed by natives in 1521 when he tried to return to Florida to establish a colony. Children can learn more at: Ponce de Leon.