ponce de leom
A 17th century engraving of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Would you travel the world to find the mythical fountain of youth that is capable of preserving life forever?

Click start to play today’s Crossword, where your challenge is to name all the famous explorers.

Adventurous travellers have searched high and wide for the fabled fountain. In the fourth century BC, Alexander the Great, one of the world’s most successful conquerors, supposedly came across a river that ‘healed’ the damage of age. In the 12th century AD, a mythical European king named Prester John supposedly ruled a land with a fountain of youth and rivers of gold. There were similar accounts from around the world, in locations such as Japan, England, and the Canary Islands, according to history.com.

But the name that is most often linked to a dedicated search for the fountain of youth is that of the 16th-century Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.

Oddly enough, he apparently thought it would be found in Florida, US, which is currently one of the cities with the largest proportions of residents aged 65 and older (20.9 per cent in 2019), according the US Census Bureau.

In honour of Ponce de Leon’s alleged search for the elusive magical spring, the city of St. Augustine, in Florida, built the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park at the spot where he is supposed to have landed. Though there is no real historical or archaeological evidence to support the claim, it became a tourist attraction and drew crowds right from the 1860s. Today, visitors to the park can sightsee and also buy bottled water that is sourced from the aquifer from which Ponce de Leon supposedly drank, believing it to be the fountain of youth.

But alas, no one has definitively found a miracle cure for the inevitable pull of age. American writer Mark Twain once joked: “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.” If only!

Play today’s Crossword and name all the explorers. Let us know if you enjoyed it at games@gulfnews.com.