This three panel mural depicts the Spanish conquistadors who founded and colonized Charlotte Harbor.
The first panel of this mural shows Hernando de Soto who was born in 1500 to a respectable family in Spain. As a young man he sailed to Panama and there he learned how to sail. He soon became known as the “child of the sun” because of his dawn raids on unsuspecting villages. His trademark was vicious dogs, fast horses and extortion. Spectacular brutality earned DeSoto large Inca ransoms. He became one of the richest men in the world before leaving Peru in 1536. DeSoto returned to Spain, married Isabel de Bobadilla whose family held power in the Court of Spain, and was appointed Governor of Cuba and given a 4 year commission to colonize and hold La Florida. DeSoto landed in Charlotte Harbor, Florida on June 1, 1539.
The second panel is of Ponce de Leon. He was born in 1460 in San Teruas de Campos, Spain. In 1493 he sailed with Columbus on his second voyage to the Americas. He landed at St. Augustine in late March of 1513 after looking for gold and the Fountain of Youth in the Bahamas and Bimini. He named the place La Florida. They made landfall on the gulf beaches between Charlotte Harbor and Estero Bay. As they tried to move inland for water and land to start a colony, Ponce was shot with a Calusa arrow. He died after returning to Havana, Cuba.
The third panel depicts the landing of de Soto’s men on the east side of the end of the Myakka River, near the top of Charlotte Harbor. Here they started their long march inland hunting for gold and slaves.
This mural was dedicated on July 17, 2008.