|The Indians on the West India Islands believed that there was a wonderful fountain in a land to the west of them. They said that if an old man should bathe in its waters, they would make him a boy again. Ponce de Leon, a Spanish soldier who was getting gray and wrinkled, set out to find this magic fountain, for he thought that there was more fun in being a boy than in growing old.
He did not find the fountain, and so his hair grew grayer than ever and his wrinkles grew deeper. But in 1513 he discovered a land bright with flowers, which he named Florida. He took possession of it for Spain.
The same year another Spaniard, named Balboa, set out to explore the Isthmus of Panama. One day he climbed to the top of a very high hill, and discovered that vast ocean—the greatest of all the oceans of the globe—which we call the Pacific.
Long after Balboa and Ponce de Leon were dead, a Spaniard named De Soto landed in Florida and marched through the country in search of gold mines.
In the course of his long and weary wanderings, he came to a river more than a mile across. The Indians told him it was the Mississippi, or the Great River. In discovering it, De Soto had found the largest river in North America; he had also found his own grave, for he died shortly after, and was secretly buried at midnight in its muddy waters.
More than twenty years after the burial of De Soto, a Spanish soldier named Menendez went to Florida and built a fort on the eastern coast. This was in 1565. The fort became the center of a settlement named St. Augustine. It is the oldest city built by white men, not only in what is now the United States, but in all North America.
In 1819, or more than two hundred and fifty years after St. Augustine was begun, Spain sold Florida to the United States.
Directions: Answer the following multiple choice questions. Also, answer the following questions on a sheet of paper: