Pedro Alonso Nino (1492 through 1505)
John Malveaux of
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The Unfolding Journey
AFRICAN EXPLORERS AND SETTLERS OF THE NEW WORLD
We have been taught that the populating of the Americas began with the migration of Asian peoples across the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska, and this is true. They were followed thousands of years later by European explorers, mostly Spanish, and then by European settlers. It was only later that African peoples arrived in the New World as part of the transatlantic slave trade. But Africans, both slave and free, arrived beginning with Columbus at the end of the 15th Century, more that 100 years before the English and Dutch appeared. Gathered together here are a number of stories about individuals of African ancestry and their experiences in the New World. ALL of these people and events were prior to the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
A navigator and explorer of African ancestry, Pedro Alonso Nino traveled with Christopher Columbus’ first expedition to the New World in 1492. He was also known as “El Negro” (The Black). Pedro Nino was the pilot of Columbus’ ship the “Santa Maria.” In 1493, he also accompanied Columbus on the explorer’s second voyage which discovered Trinidad and the mouth of the Orinoco River in South America, piloting one of the 17 ships in the fleet. This voyage also brought the first Africans, who were actually free men, to Hispaniola. Pedro Nino led his own expedition, financed by the Council of Castile, to find gold and pearls in areas not already discovered by Columbus. He returned to Spain very wealthy but did not live up to an agreement he had with the King to turn over 20% of his treasure (known as “The Royal Fifth”). He was arrested and died in prison before his trial.