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Ponce De Leon Discovered It, Not the “Fountain of Youth”. 250 Years Later, Ben Franklin Would Analyze and Name It.

Christofer spent 10 years in family counseling. Later he obtained a Psy. D.. His focuses: Health, History, Astrology, Politics and Fables

500 Years Ago, the Atlantic Itself Was A Mystery

At Columbus’ time, amazingly, the Atlantic, beyond the Azores, Was Still an Open Book. Stories about Atlantis and Sea Monsters and “Falling off the Edge of the World” and Asia being close by, still haunted.

Over 500 years ago, before all the manifest wonder of our modern world, there was the “New World”. The “New World” was the unbelievable discovery of its time; with all of its new realities: new land masses, people who they called “Indians” because they thought they were next door to Asia. Oceans and Seas still to be sailed and an awful amount to learn. The hard and fast realities that one could behold, study, understand and control lay before humanity.

At this moment in time, the Spanish had no other Empirical Competition. No other Sea Powers had yet developed. Portugal was mostly sailing east and south around Africa. No England, Netherlands, France to bother them just yet. This was still the early 1500’s. There was plenty to come, but now Spain saw their grandiose vision. They were hoping for wealth beyond measure, but this was the very beginning.


Without the Oceans there is no Humanity. The Oceans, the Land and the Moon Make The Earth What It Is.

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At Columbus’ time, amazingly, the Atlantic, beyond the Azores, Was Still an Open Book. Stories about Atlantis and Sea Monsters and “Falling off the Edge of the

So, In 1512 Ponce De Leon, was a royal Spaniard exploring the “New World”

At this time, Ponce De Leon was born into Spanish nobility, Juan Ponce de León (1460-1521). Juan Ponce served as a page in the royal court of Aragon. He later became a soldier, fighting in the Spanish campaign against the Moors in Granada. After that war ended, he may have gone along on the second voyage to the West Indies led by Columbus in 1493.

Later, he was serving as Governor of the eastern province of Hispaniola. He had the ambition to explore an island nearby, which became Puerto Rico. He would end up being Governor of Puerto Rico three times. But he had heard tales of what he would name “Florida”.

While Ponce de Leon never did find the mythical Fountain’s restorative waters, he did however, make an important discovery after he got to what is now - ”St. Augustine”. Ben Franklin’s Analysis and Naming would not happen for over 250 years later.

The Current that Was More Powerful than the Wind!

On April 22, 1513, Ponce De Leon described a “current” in his log book as“…a current such that, although they had great wind, they could not proceed forward, but backward and it seems that they were proceeding well; at the end of it was known that the current was more powerful than the wind.

But he had his eyes on Florida. Supposedly in pursuit of a rumored “Fountain of Youth” located on an island known as Bimini, Ponce de León led an expedition to the coast of what is now Florida in 1513. Thinking it was the island he sought, he sailed back to colonize the region in 1521, but was fatally wounded in an Indian attack soon after his arrival.

The Current was The Gulf Stream.

The real Mystery of Nature that he experienced for the first time with a true grip on his imagination was that trip in 1513.

Theoretically, he made a right turn off the Coast, leaving what would become St. Augustine, going South, (turning right) and ran smack into the Stream going North. You know, “hurricane alley”. The current is more powerful than the wind. They were sail boats, no engines.

Although many experienced its effects over time --- sailing in it, around it, just giving in to it, and being amazed by it; there was still not a name given to it, because it was not understood as being a separate entity of nature. It’s immensity, power and might were there at all times, but no one had grasped that it was one thing: The Gulf Stream!

Until Benjamin Franklin and his Cousin Timothy Folger. They involved “American Input and Consultation” (Sound Familiar?).

Two Men and a Team -- Benjamin Franklin and his cousin Timothy Folger with veteran American Sea Men studied it, charted it and named it.

Franklin was in England when the English asked about “sailing times” from different ports. Franklin asked Folger, a Nantucket whaling captain, for an answer. Folger explained that American ships routinely crossed the then-unnamed Gulf Stream.

“Whale Behavior, Water Temperature, the Speed of Bubbles on its Surface, and Changes in Water Color”.

Franklin worked with Folger and other captains, learning enough to chart the stream and give it its name. Folger explained that American ships routinely crossed the then-unnamed Gulf Stream — Americans identified the unnamed current by “whale behavior, water temperature, the speed of bubbles on its surface, and changes in water color”.

Franklin's Gulf Stream chart was first published in 1770.

(Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation - AMOC)

The Gulf Stream is a strong ocean current that brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean. It extends all the way up the eastern coast of the United States and Canada. The Gulf Stream is a strong ocean current that brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean. The scientific “clinical” name is (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circ ulation - AMOC).

There’s a lot to talk about “getting back to Spain with beaucoup, galleons full of Gold and Treasure”. It was hard to get directly back to Spain. Sailors learned how to return to Spain, but sometimes they were blown off course often and would end up in Northeast Canada…what they call “Nova Scotia”.

As the centuries past, (1600’s – 1700’s) even though, Franklin’s name had not yet been applied, sailing became familiar with the forces that carried ships north and then the slow right turn that went to Ireland and Europe.

Nova Scotia is not only the eastern isles but also the curvature of the globe puts Newfoundland, Greenland and Iceland in the neighborhood. Since the Vikings (Erick the Red) and St. Brendan of Ireland (born 484), there have been connections, rumored or historical, that have put those islands in much greater connection with one another.

The Gulf Stream acted in oppositional ways and helpful ways in the great challenge of getting around the Atlantic Ocean. Let's give Thanks to Ponce De Leon, Ben Franklin, Timothy Folger and the Unnamed American Captains, who contributed to the History of the naming of The Gulf Stream.

© 2020 Christofer French

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