Letter: Don't name island for 'brutal conquistador'
Wednesday, 16 May 2012

 
Brevard County, Florida - The writer of the recent letter, “Educate yourself about de Leon’s discovery,” in pushing for naming Brevard’s barrier island for Ponce de Leon, wants “literate” people to read Douglas Peck’s theory of Ponce’s landing.
 

One of many theories, constrained by one fact — no one knows for certain where he landed. That’s all the writer asks you to read.

 

But read the archival record of Ponce de Leon for yourself. A conquistador profiteer, leading plunder, enslavement and slaughter every place he went in the Americas. Yale’s Genocide Studies Program includes Ponce in genocides on Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.

 

Ignored by some historians, the absolute certainty of our own island’s amazing heritage is unique in the world. The Spanish named it Ais. Read the archaeology of our island’s cultural history and of the Ais people, residents here for more than 3,000 years. The first resident culture of Floridians, one of the oldest in all the Americas, driven to extinction by the Europeans.

 

Enshrining the name of a brutal conquistador here insults our island’s extraordinary cultural history. There’s a park for super fans of Ponce de Leon; we don’t need to name this whole island for him.
 
Author: Rick Piper
Source: Florida Today
 
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