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Commemoration of Florida’s 500th set for April 3

500th anniversary Juan Ponce de León’s landing

to be commemorated in St. Augustine

Complete information available at

April 3, 2013 is a big day in Florida’s history. In fact it is the anniversary of there being a place with the name Florida. The place was already here of course; it just was not known as Florida, or La Florida, until Juan Ponce de Leon called it that on April 3, 1513.

The anniversary is not going unnoticed in St. Augustine which will see a morning filled with activities marking the big day which include four events all open to the public.

  • The day will begin at 9:00am with a re-enacted commemorative landing of Ponce de León and his crew at the St. Augustine bay front on the north side of the Bridge of Lions. The landing will feature the firing of cannons from the Castillo de San Marcos.
  • At 10:00am, the event will transition to the Ponce de León statue located just east of the Plaza de la Constitución. A ceremonial wreath will be placed at the foot of the statue and remarks will be shared by Mayor Joseph Boles of St. Augustine and Mayor Santiago Baeza Benavides of Santervás, Spain, Ponce de León’s birthplace.
  • Activities then move to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine where a commemorative mass will be held at 11:00am led by Bishop Felipe Estévez of the Diocese of St. Augustine. A portion of the mass feature the blessing a hand crafted replica of the 15th century font used to baptize Ponce de León in the City of Santervás. Spanish dignitaries and State of Florida representatives are expected to attend the commemorative mass.
  • The anniversary of the founding of Florida could not pass without a commemorative stamp from the United States Postal Service. The morning’s activities conclude at 12:30pm when the USPA will unveil the 2013 Ponce de León commemorative stamp during a special ceremony held at the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College located at 14 Granada St.

For traffic information, including street closures and detours, click here.

While the exact location of Ponce de Leon’s landing is not know, historical documents record that on April 2, 1513, his expedition’s navigator logged the ship’s position at 30 degrees 8 minutes (approximate location here), just south of current day Ponte Vedra Beach and just north of St. Augustine. The following day, April 3, Ponce de León and his crew came ashore and founded La Florida for Spain.

This commemorative event is sponsored by:

The City of St. Augustine 450th Commemoration,

Florida Power & Light Company,

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine,

Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park,

Colonial Quarter,

St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau, and

The United States Postal Service.

For more information about commemorations surrounding the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's landing, contact the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration office at 904.825.1053 or visit

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