It is commonly believed that Spanish conquistadors first stepped foot on this continent in 1513 near what is now St. Augustine. Juan Ponce de León claimed possession of the new world for Spain and anointed this new land La Florida. Now, on this same land 500 years later, re-enactors — some paid, some volunteering — bring Spanish colonial history to life at Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. The men (there were no women on Ponce de León's ships, so seeing a female re-enactor at the park is rare) come from different backgrounds, not all of them Spanish. They might look fearsome, but they're really teachers at heart.
Times photojournalist Melissa Lyttle can be reached at [email protected]