When Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed here on September 8, 1565, his intention was to stay for good. This set a cultural clash in motion that pitted the European Spanish against the aboriginal Timucua. Initially received with friendship, the Spanish soon wore out their welcome, and the native Timucua became hostile.

Eventually the Timucua culture became extinct as a result of a combination of Old World diseases and warfare. The last vestiges of this proud culture disappeared in the early 1700s. At Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, we celebrate and commemorate the proud Timucua culture with our First Encounters exhibit. Join us and step back in time to meet the original inhabitants of Northeast Florida.

The artifacts to the right were recovered at the Park and illustrate the blending of cultures you'll see in the First Encounters exhibit – Pinellas points, Spanish doublet buttons in a variety of styles, a silver Calusa plaquette perhaps obtained through trade, and Spanish blue glass trade beads.

St. Augustine, Florida is the first area in the continental United States where a European culture successfully blended with a native aboriginal culture over time, creating a unique fusion of cultures – Spanish and Timucua at first, and then African, French, English, Irish and Southeastern aboriginal American.