Juan Ponce de Leon

Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who influenced North American and his influence still lives on today.  
Ponce de León was born sometime in the year 1460.   He came from a noble family, but was a younger son and would not inherit anything, so he decided to become a knight.   He was sent, as a young boy, to the home of Núñez de Guzmán, a Spanish nobleman.   He had several duties as a page, such as taking care of the master’s clothing, helping him dress, and serving food.   In return for this, he was taught how to read and write, ride a horse, and fight with a sword.   When he became about fifteen, León became the Spanish nobleman’s squire.   As a squire, he had more important duties than a page.   He cleaned and cared for his master’s armor and weapons and fought next to him in battle.   This would help him for when he became a knight.  
In the 1480’s, León joined the army to help drive the Moors out of Spain.   The Moors are Arabic-speaking, northern African people.   They invaded Spain in A.D. 711.   In the next seven years, the Moors conquered all of Spain, except the northern mountainous region.   The Spanish fought back and the war against the Moors lasted for hundreds of years.   The Spanish got control back of one part of Spain and then another and in the 1480’s, the Moors only had one part of Spain left.   King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the Spanish rulers, were confident that Spain would beat the Moors and unite Spain.   In January 1492, Spain finally defeated the Moors.   Ponce de León was one of the Spanish knights at that battle.   Meanwhile, Spain was also trying to find a new route to trade with Asia. Christopher Columbus, a Spanish explorer, went west and found what he thought was Asia, but was a new land. Columbus came back with great news of a new land and wanted to make a second journey and take other people to colonize. León, inspired by this and eager for the riches and glory awaiting him, volunteered to go on...