According to tradition, the natives of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Cuba told the early Spanish explorers that in Bimini (Beniny), a land to the north, there was a river, spring or fountain where waters had such miraculous curative powers that any old person who bathed in them would regain his youth. About the time of Columbus's first voyage, says the legend, an Arawak chief named Sequene, inspired by the fable of the curative waters, had migrated from Cuba to southern Florida. It seems that other parties of islanders had made attempts to find Bimini, which was generally described as being in the region of the Bahamas.
Juan Ponce de Leon (1460-1521), who had been with Columbus on his second voyage in 1493 and who had later conquered and become governor of Puerto Rico, is supposed to have learned of the fable from the Indians. The fable was not new, and probably Pence de Leon was vaguely cognizant of the fact that such waters had been mentioned by medieval writers, and that Alexander the Great had searched for such waters in eastern Asia. A similar legend was known to the Polynesians, whose tradition located the fountain of perpetual youth in Hawaii.
As described to the Spanish, Bimini not only contained a spring of perpetual youth but teemed with gold and all sorts of riches. The fact that the party of Arawaks who had gone in that direction had never returned was taken as evidence that they must have found the happy land!
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