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Historical Society to host ‘500 years’ presentation

By Staff | Feb 9, 2013

On Tuesday, not only will you learn how the Spaniards who landed in Florida lived and what they wore, you’ll be able to see it firsthand.

The Cape Coral Historical Society will hold a meeting on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., at the Cultural Park Theatre.

There, Lindsay Harrington and his comrades in arms from The Royal Order of the Ponce De Leon Conquistadors of Punta Gorda, which follows the history of the founding of Florida, will give a presentation and a full-costume enactment commemorating the Spanish landing in Florida 500 years ago.

“We haven’t seen or heard too many people talking about it. We just thought we had this opportunity, so we invited these folks and they said they would come,” said historian Paul Sanborn. “I’m looking forward to it.”

The presentation will show the discovery of Florida and Charlotte Harbor in 1513 by Ponce De Leon, who, during his many adventures, discovered Charlotte Harbour Bay, which many claim was named for King Carlos of Spain.

“They make a really good presentation about the discovery of Florida, principally Charlotte Harbor,” Sanborn said. “They tell the story of Florida in 1513. We think it will be a very interesting program.”

Later in 1521, Ponce de Leon returned to Charlotte Harbor to establish the first European settlement in America, nearly a century before Plymouth Rock and Jamestown.

Harrington was raised in the midst of the great history of central Virginia’s Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and others. It has fostered a deep appreciation of our nation’s great history.

This resulted in his joining the Conquistadors. He is the current chairman of the 500th Anniversary Committee.

Sanborn said much of what you see in modern Florida can be traced back to the earliest settlers.

“When you see something like San Carlos Park, it comes from that time, the same with Punta Gorda and Boca Grande,” Sanborn said.

Interest in the state’s Quincentennial has generated much interest. The state has launched the VIVA 500 program, initiated by Gov. Rick Scott, that is promoting 500 years of the cultural history of Florida.

VIVA 500 highlights the historic people, places and events in present-day Florida since de Leon’s arrival in 1513, and includes more than 200 events statewide.

For more information, go to: www.VIVAFLorida.org.

Cultural Park Theatre is located at 528 Cultural Park Blvd., next to the Cape Coral Historical Museum.

The public is invited. No reservations are necessary and there’s no admission fee.

For information, call 772-7037.