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When Juan Ponce de León arrived on the coast of Florida 500 years ago, that territory was not depopulated: around 350,000 natives inhabited the peninsula. The encounter between these two worlds in the lands we now call the United States was not always friendly. The celebrations of the fifth centenary of the arrival of the Spaniards do not neglect the conflicts that triggered this historic milestone. "We can't change history, but we can learn from it," Kerry Post, the head of "Viva Florida," the body responsible for coordinating commemorative events, summed up yesterday.
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Post pronounced these words during an act in front of a statue of Ponce de León located in the Plaza de la Constitution de San Augustin, the first city in the United States, founded by the Spanish in 1565. Behind the statue, a group of demonstrators carried banners that called the arrival of the Spaniards in North America "genocide" and shouted "murderers."
From the beginning, Ponce de León's encounters with the native population of Florida were marked by conflict. In fact, Ponce himself died in 1521 as a result of an injury caused during his second trip to the peninsula by a crush of the "Calusa." However, throughout the three centuries in which the Spaniards remained in Florida, relations went through very different times when there was a high degree of assimilation by the natives of the Spanish culture. Philip II promoted the evangelization of the new lands long before the English Puritans arrived aboard the Mayflower to Plymouth (Massachusetts) in 1620. The Jesuits first and the Franciscans later, more successfully, launched the evangelization of Florida, which It meant the conversion to Christianity of thousands of members of the tribes that inhabited these windermere fl realtor lands.
Precisely, this was recalled yesterday by the Bishop of Birmingham (Alabama), Robert J. Bakeren, in his homily during the Mass with which the arrival of the Spaniards was commemorated in 1513. With them they brought the Christian faith and left a “religious heritage »That has lasted until today. In addition, he recalled the humanitarian treatment that the Franciscans gave in the network of missions they established in Florida. Find your windermere real estate agents and windermere realtors here.
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The memory of Ponce de León was very present during the religious ceremony. It blessed the replica of the pile where the discoverer was baptized, a gift sent from his hometown, Santervás de Campos (Valladolid). The mayor of this small town of Tierra de Campos, Santiago Baeza, was present at yesterday's events and highlighted the donation of the battery as a "symbol of friendship" between Santervás and San Augustin.
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Florida concentrates these days an endless number of events on the occasion of the 500 years of its discovery by the Spanish. Among the numerous events that are being held, a special stamp of the United States Postal Service commemorating the V centenary was presented yesterday, consisting of a “collage” of colorful flowers. "Since 1513, Florida is a destination for dreamers," said the vice president of the area of operations for the southern zone of the U.S. Postal Service, JoAnn Feindt. Find your windermere real estate agents and windermere realtor here.