On This Day, April 8, 1513 – Ponce de León Claims Florida for Spain
1513 – Explorer Juan Ponce de Leon claimed Florida for Spain.
In 1493, Ponce de León sailed with Christopher Columbus on Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas. He and his family settled on an island in the Caribbean named Hispaniola (Dominican Republic). He became a military commander at this post and was appointed deputy governor.
In 1506, Ponce de León discovered a nearby island named Borinquen. While there, he found large deposits of gold. Soon after his discovery, he left the island. He returned in 1508 on orders from the king of Spain to explore and colonize the island. He renamed the island Puerto Rico. He was the island’s governor for two years until the king replaced him with Columbus’ son.
Hurt by the King’s action, Ponce de León sailed again, this time north through the Bahamas heading towards Florida. He was in search of new lands and treasures. fountain, but he never found either.
In late March of 1513, his ships landed on Florida’s east coast near present-day St. Augustine. He claimed this beautiful land for Spain. Since he had discovered this country of lavish landscape and beautiful beaches, he was entitled to name it. He named it La Florida (LAH flow REE dah) or “place of flowers.”
1525 – Albert von Brandenburg, the leader of the Teutonic Order, assumes the title “Duke of Prussia” and passed the first laws of the Protestant church, making Prussia a Protestant state.
1789 – The US House of Representatives held its first meeting.
Later, President Andrew Jackson would bemoan the institution, saying:
“I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.”
1832 – About 300 American troops of the 6th Infantry left Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, to confront the Sauk Indians in the Black Hawk War.
1834 – In New York City, Cornelius Lawrence became the first mayor to be elected by popular vote in a city election.
1913 – The Seventeenth amendment was ratified, requiring direct election of senators.
1935 – The Works Progress Administration was approved by the U.S. Congress.
1946 – The League of Nations assembled in Geneva for the last time.
1947 – The first illustrated insurance policy was issued by the Allstate Insurance Company.
1952 – U.S. President Truman seized steel mills to prevent a nationwide strike.
1962 – Bay of Pigs invaders got thirty years imprisonment in Cuba.
1974 – Hank Aaron hits 715th home run breaking Babe Ruth’s record.
Aaron’s 715th home run came in the fourth inning of the Braves’ home opener with Los Angeles, off the Dodgers’ Al Downing, a lefthander who had insisted doggedly before the game that for him this night, would be “no different from any other.” He was wrong.
Downing’s momentous mistake was a high fastball into Aaron’s considerable strike zone. Aaron’s whip of a bat lashed out at it and snapped it in a high arc toward the 385-foot sign in left center field. Dodger Centerfielder Jimmy Wynn and Leftfielder Bill Buckner gave futile chase, Buckner going all the way to the six-foot foam for it. But the ball dropped over the fence in the midst of a clutch of Braves’ relief pitchers who scrambled out of the bullpen in pursuit.
1975 – Frank Robinson of the Cleveland Indians became first black manager of a major league baseball team.
1985 – India filed suit against Union Carbide for the Bhopal disaster.
1986 – Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, CA.
1992 – In Britain, the last issue of “Punch Magazine” was published.
1994 – Smoking was banned in the Pentagon and all U.S. military bases.
2002 – Suzan-Lori Parks became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for drama for her play “Topdog/Underdog.”