Of the death of the Adelantado Juan Ponce de León, first conqueror of the island of Boriquen, that they now call San Juan, and other matters relating to the same island.
Translated by Lilian Carmichael ’20
It has been told how Juan Ponce de León was removed from the office and governorate of the island of San Juan, and how he went to discover the lands to the North, and how he went in search of that mythical fountain of Bimini, which the Indians claimed made the old become young. And I have seen such changes in men (without the fountain), but not in improving strengths, but in the weakening of the sex drive and in regressing in their actions to children of little understanding; and among the latter we should include Juan Ponce himself while the delusion of giving credit to the Indians in such nonsense lasted, which came at the expense of a fleet of ships and people, since in truth he was an honorable gentleman and noble person who worked very effectively in the conquest and pacification of this island of Hispaniola and the Higuey war. He was also the first to begin to populate and pacify the island of San Juan, as I have said, where he and those with him endured many travails, from war and illness and a serious lack of provisions and other things needed for life. So, as I have said, this captain found that land that they call Florida, and returned to the island of San Juan, and then went to Spain and gave an account of everything to the Catholic King, who, being respectful of his services, gave him the title of adelantado of Bimini and gave him other favors, for which he benefited greatly from the favor of his master, Pero Núñez de Guzmán, High Knight Commander of Calatrava, tutor of the very serene prince don Fernando, now His Majesty the king of the Romans. And he then returned to the island of San Juan and with greater resolution prepared to go and populate the land of which he was now the adelantado, and he spent a lot on his fleet and returned from there broken down and with an arrow wound, from which wound he came to die on the island of Cuba. And he was not the only one to have lost his life, time, and estate in this enterprise; many others who followed him died on the journey and after arriving there, partly at the hands of the Indians, and partly from illnesses; and so ended the adelantado and his appointment.