Flowery Conquistadors

Conquistador Mask

Today at the museum we celebrate flowers. It’s Spring Break at our house and we’re visiting the Sunshine State for some sand, surf, and a little history.  On this date back in 1513, Spanish conquistador, Juan Ponce de León (1460 to 1521) claimed Florida for Spain.  Ponce de León named Florida after its lavish flowery vegetation.  His landing also took place near Easter, or as it is called in Spain, Pascua Florida “Feast of Flowers”.

Pictured here is a flowery mask on display at the Michigan State University museum.  It represents a caricature of a Spanish conquistador and is worn during the many folk dances performed during the Fiesta de San Sebastian, in Diriamba, Nicaragua.  The entire city takes part in this street festival from January 17 to 27.  Watch this short clip to see these masks in action:  San_Sebastian_Video

Fun Fact #1: Ponce de León was on a quest for gold, NOT the Fountain of Youth as is commonly believed (biography.com).

Fun and Scary Fact #2: According to National Geographic, Lake Managua in Nicaragua is the only freshwater lake sharks have been known to live.  Although rare, bull sharks have swum from the Atlantic Ocean up the Rio San Juan River and into Lake Managua. Yikes!

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