Juan Ponce de Leon was sponsored by the Spanish king. The Spanish crown sent Ponce de Leon on his expedition to search for gold on the island of Puerto Rico.
Juan Ponce de Leon was born into a noble Spanish family. Due to his nobility and his ability to seek adventures, he accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second journey to the new world. During this time, he was able to suppress an Indian upheaval and was then named the governing factor of the east part of the new world. He unofficially explored the area two years before he was sent by the Spanish king.
When the king heard that there was gold to be found in the area around the Puerto Rican island, he commissioned Ponce de Leon to explore the area. He granted him a ship and a crew of 50 men that would enable him to explore the area and find gold. During this journey, Ponce de Leon and his men found a large amount of gold and returned to Spain. Since the trip was a success, the crown sent him back to the area to continue gold mining. He took his wife and children with him and would later discover the area that is now known as Florida.