explored and settled this tropical island and then became its first governor in 1508. Above the weathered walls of Old San Juan gleams the family home of the famed Spanish explorer. A grateful Spanish Crown gave the land to de Leon and in 1521 the historic "Casa Blanca" was built. That same year marked the end of de Leon's life. He died dramatically by a poison-tipped arrow and never had the opportunity to live in the mansion which was his reward from King Charles the First.