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The Fountain of Youth: Myth or Fact?

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Updated August 18, 2008

How Did the Legend Get Started?:

The Fountain of Youth was a spring that Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, according to legend, went looking for in Florida in 1513. It was said that anyone who drinks from the Fountain would have his or her youth restored. Florida was thought to be the site of the Fountain of Youth because of native stories in the Caribbean of a restorative spring located north of the Bahamas. These native legends were combined with a popular story in Europe about a quest for a "Fountain of Life".

Did He Find It?:

No, and he may have never gone looking for it. Accounts of his searching for the Fountain of Youth come to us many years after Ponce de Leon's death and may have been romantic additions to his story of exploration.

Why a Fountain?:

Legends about healing waters abound in cultures around the world. From biblical stories of Jesus healing a man with water to legends in the Middle East and Asia of various healing springs, people have always talked about and quested for water that will restore youth and health. These legends were taken to a peak in 16th century Europe as the tales of the exploration of the "New World" entered into popular culture.

What Do Modern People Think About It?:

In many ways we are still looking for the Fountain of Youth. Researchers and drug companies are searching for medications to make us live longer. Fad diets, supplements, and exercise routines all claim to extend life. In the end, a healthy lifestyle, positive thinking and good relationships are our best bet for a long and happy life.

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