Estevanico (c. 1500 – 1539) (also known as "Mustafa Zemmouri", "Black Stephen", "Esteban", "Esteban the Moor", "Estevan", "Estebanico", "Stephen the Black", "Stephen the Moor", and "Little Stephen") of North African origins, possibly from Azamor
Morocco. He is mentioned in various 16th century Southwestern United Statesexpeditionary logs as a slave servant in the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca's party.
Born in the town of
Azamor(Azemmour), a Portuguese enclave on Morocco's Atlantic coast. In 1513, Estevanico was enslaved by the Portuguese at an early age and forcibly converted to Roman Catholicism. [ [http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/estevanico.htm Estevanico (aka Estevan, Esteban, Estebanico, Black Stephen, Stephen the Moor)] ] He was sold in 1520 to Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, a Spanish nobleman with whom he developed close ties.
Estevanico travelled with Dorantes to
Hispaniolaand Cubaon Pánfilo de Narváez's ill-fated expedition of 1527 to conquer Florida; in doing so Estevanico became the first person born in Africa known to have set foot in what is now the continental United States. He and Dorantes were two of the expedition's four survivors, and had sailed with others on makeshift rafts in an attempt to reach Mexico. The group was shipwrecked on Galveston Islandand most of the men either drowned, starved, or were killed by natives; by 1533 only Estevanico, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, and Alonso del Castillo Maldonadosurvived. The four spent years enslaved by the Ananarivo of the Louisiana Gulf Islands, but they eventually escaped into the American interior, contacting other Native American tribes along the way. The party traversed the continent as far as present-day southeastern Arizona, and through the Sonoran Desertto the region of Sinaloain New Spain(present-day Mexico), where they were reunited with their countrymen.
In 1539, Estevanico was one of the four who would accompany
Marcos de Nizaas a guide in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, preceding Coronado. However, the others were struck ill and Estevanico continued alone, opening up what is now New Mexico and Arizona. He was killed at the Zunivillage of Hawikuh(in present-day New Mexico); the tribe regarded him with mistrust, partially because his medicine gourd was trimmed with feathers from an owl, a bird that symbolized death to the Zuni.
It is said that Estevanico was a remarkable polyglot and that he was able to learn, in a matter of weeks, the languages of the Native Americans. It is also said that he was accepted as a deity by some Native American tribes because of his knowledge of herbs and medicines. It has been hypothesized that Esteban was not, in fact, killed by the Zunis, but rather kicked out of their village after being imprisoned. He may have then been hidden by the Pimas, who held him in high regard. For most historians, however, the eye-witness accounts of various associates, and the lack of references to Estevanico in later accounts is proof enough of the explorer's death.
*Clarke, John Henrik. "Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust: Slavery and the Rise of European Capitalism". A & B Publisher Group, Brooklyn. 1998. p. 81.
*Logan, Rayford. "Estevanico, Negro Discoverer of the Southwest: A Critical Reexamination." "Phylon" 1 (1940): 305-314.
*Shepherd, Elizabeth. "The Discoveries of Esteban the Black." New York, Dodd, Mead, 1970. pp. 111-4.
* [http://www.enchantedlearning.com/explorers/page/e/estevanico.shtml Estevanico entry at enchantedlearning.com]
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