Florida observes Ponce de Leon's arrival

Posted at 10:27 AM, Apr 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-01 10:27:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida officials plan a series of events to commemorate the first wave of European visitors to the state's beaches half a millennium ago.

Events starting this week are part of a statewide campaign called Viva Florida 500 to mark the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon's exploration in Florida.

Some rarely seen historical documents will be on public display Thursday through Saturday in the state Museum of Florida History. Documents include Florida's original 1838 Constitution and a 1586 map of Sir Francis Drake's West Indian voyage.

Floridians will get to see a replica of a Spanish galleon that was part of the West Indies fleet. The ship will make port calls in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Canaveral and St. Augustine from mid-April to early June.