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Historic photo of Ponce Hall circa 1960s

Eugene Lyon, Ph.D.

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Description of Research

Eugene Lyon, A Florida native, served in the Korean War aboard the USS Hobson (DMS-26). He holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Florida, and is a specialist in Spanish Colonial Florida and the Spanish maritime system.

Lyon's publications include The Enterprise of Florida, The Search for the Atocha, and Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, a Sourcebook. The St. Augustine Historical Society published his book, Richer Than We Thought, and the University of South Carolina Press published Santa Elena: A Brief History of the Colony. He wrote a monograph on Spanish colonial nails. He has written many conference papers, book chapters, and five National Geographic articles. One of those featured previously unpublished data on Christopher Columbus's caravel Niña he recovered in the Archives of the Indies. He has written two cover articles forNational Geographic: the article "Search for Columbus" in January, 1992, and the article "The Manila Galleons," which appeared in September, 1990.

Lyon directed the St. Augustine Foundation for fourteen years, and carried out microfilming projects in archives in Spain, Cuba, and Minorca. The Foundation holds more than a thousand reels of film of materials related to Spanish Florida. Much of that material has been translated into English for inclusion in an accessible data base.

From data in the Archives of the Indies, Lyon enabled salvor Mel Fisher to locate and definitively identify the sunken ships Nuestra Señora de Atocha and Santa Margarita in the lower Florida Keys.

Eugene Lyon received the grade of Oficial in the Order of Isabella from King Juan Carlos of Spain, and the grade of Comendador in the Order of Christopher Columbus from the President of the Dominican Republic. The City of St. Augustine granted him its highest honor, the Order of La Florida, and in 2003 the Florida Historical Society gave him the Jillian Prescott Award for lifetime service to Florida history. In 2005, he received the Mel Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award.