The public portion of the Jungle Prada Site is a city park which is open from dawn until dusk. The park includes a small Indian mound, a fishing pier, and a boat launch. The private portion of the site, however, is only available by guided tour.
The Jungle Prada Site Complex is reputedly the landing spot of the Spanish explorer Pánfilo de Narváez's Florida expedition to explore and expand colonial New Spain into North America. The 600-man expedition is believed to have landed here in 1528. The public portion of the multi-mound site is nestled in a wooded park overlooking Boca Ciega Bay. The private portion is owned and preserved by the Anderson family. The Anderson Mound at Jungle Prada Site Complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Artifacts from the site and information about Tocobaga Indians are on display in the Greenhouse Museum on site.
The Jungle Prada Site features the southern section of an ancient Tocobaga Indian village where people lived for over 600 years (approx. 1000 – 1600 AD). The Jungle Prada Tour is a historian-led guided tour of the Anderson Mound at Jungle Prada Site Complex. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes, and includes lots of Florida history, ecology, and peacocks! On the tour you’ll learn about the Tocobaga Indians, Spanish explorers, first American pioneers and settlers, local hurricane history, and the history of modern development in the area. Family-owned since the 1940s, the property features a botanical garden full of native plants used by the Tocobaga, sweeping views of Boca Ciega Bay, and one of the best-preserved Indigenous mounds in Tampa Bay. A small exhibit space is also included. You’ll meet peacocks (residents of the Jungle Prada Site since the 1950s) and explore a side of St. Petersburg, Florida you never knew existed! Advance registration is required. LEARN MORE AND BOOK A TOUR
Panfilo de Narváez, (born c. 1478, Valladolid, Castile [Spain]—died November 1528, Gulf of Mexico), Spanish conquistador, colonial official, and explorer.
Narváez entered military service as a youth and arrived in Jamaica as one of the island’s first settlers. Later he commanded a company of archers during Diego Velásquez’s campaign to conquer and pacify Cuba. He was rewarded for his services with public offices and extensive land grants on the island. In March 1520 he left Cuba, commanding 1400 men on a fleet of 19 ships, and with orders from Velásquez to capture and replace Hernán Cortés as ruler of Mexico. When the news of Narváez's arrival reached Cortés, the latter gathered 250 men and headed to the coast.
On May 27, 1520, Cortés men moved in on Narváez's camp at Cempoala under the cover of a driving rain, and quickly took control of the artillery and horses before entering the city. Narváez took a stand at the main temple of the city of Cempoala with a contingent of musketeers and crossbowmen. Finally Gonzalo de Sandoval arrived with reinforcements to Cortés who managed to set the main temple on fire, driving out Narváez and his men. Narváez was sorely wounded, having lost an eye in the fighting. He was taken prisoner and spent two years at the garrison of Veracruz before he was sent back to Spain. His men, who had been promised gold by Cortés, joined the conquistadors and returned to Tenochtitlan where they participated in the conquest of the Aztec empire.
In 1526 Narváez received authorization and numerous governing titles from Charles V to subdue and colonize vast lands from Florida westward. He sailed from Spain on June 17, 1527, with five ships and about 600 soldiers, sailors, and colonists. In Santo Domingo 140 men deserted the expedition, and in Cuba a hurricane sank two of the ships, killing 50 men and several horses. Narváez remained in Cuba until late February 1528, then sailed with five ships and 400 followers to the region around Tampa Bay in Florida.
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