Historians are not sure who Juan Ponce de Leon's parents were, but they do believe that he was related to Rodrigo Ponce de Leon, the Marquis of Cadiz. Even his exact birth year is disputed as he was originally thought to be born in 1460, while other evidence suggests that he was born in 1474.
Ponce de Leon is also thought to be related to the Nunez de Guzman family. During his early years, he worked as a squire for Pedro Nunez de Guzman, who was the Knight Commander of the Order of Calatrava. According to Spanish historian Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes, Ponce de Leon became an experienced soldier during his early years when he helped defeat the Moors in Granada.