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African conquistadors

A dialog from Bob Corbett's Haiti list, February 1999

Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 12:20:54 -0800 (PST)
Sender: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Subject: Re: African conquistadors : Thorn comments
To: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9902071259.A27884-0100000@netcom17>

From: J. Thorn <jjthorn@sirius.com>

I have been following this thread on Corbett with interest. There was one Black on the boat with colombus. there were many many blacks in spain who were not moors, at the time of CC's departure. Estimates range from 10,000 to 20,000 in Andaluzia alone. A recent book in Spanish from University of Seville deals with black brotherhoods related to the church (cahtolic) at the earliest moments of the 16th century.(Antonio Benitez Rojo is reading the book right now--I called him to get some corroboration about this post.) There were Blacks at the founding of saint augustine as well as with Pizarro. Little has been excavated academically on the Portugese slave trade in Columbia AND VENZ-- its almost virgin territory, but communities of maroons in Surinam went inland and flourished. A good bit has been written about them.

There were also black pirates and jewish pirates just a bit later.

Not many if any of the blacks from spain were conquistadors per se, as far as I know- but accompanied the conquistadors. If you read the hisotry of Cabeza De Vaca and his shipwreck on the coast of Florida 1516? you find a black named Estavon(Estabanico) among those who were saved from drowning--and went all the way to Mexico city on foot with De Vaca, it is assumed. He isnt mentioned much after the middle of the book but he isnt said to have disappeared or died.

The assertion that blacks came to the Americas first is an important aspect of some schools of african american studies. Books like Black Ulysses (Athena? I forget) are interesting. There is however a scholarly text from Surinam by a man with a german name which indicates a strong case for their arrival. The importance of their arrival is eclipsed by their connection with capital formation--humans commodified as slaves in the trading triangle of cane/booze/slaves:caribbean,new england, africa.

PS on snakes- in vodou, check out Faces of the Gods by leslie desmangles. snakes/serpents are intimately assoicated with the mythic structure of every culture I can think of right now-they transform by sheddign their skins. In the valley of mexico there is the plumed serpant- who became/was Quetzalcoatl; his root goes back into the culture of the Maya thousands of years before. thats enough asides for awhile. judith thorn

J Thorn

Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 19:56:52 -0800 (PST)
From: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Subject: Re: African conquistadors : Blake adds comments
To: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9902071937.A16780-0100000@netcom14>

From: Carlton and Michelle Blake <shakespeare1@home.com>

I too, though a bit late, have followed this thread. In doing some research recently via ENCARTA 98, I encountered the results that Thorn shared with us. I believe that the black that traveled with Columbus was named Pinto.

[I guess it was just a coincidence that one of Columbus' ships was also named thus--it seems the ships were named for Holy Mary (Santa Maria-the mother), Christ (Ninyo (ph.) the child) and the donkey that brought them to Nazareth (Pinto).]

When Balboa first saw the Pacific Ocean, he had a black man right beside him (-ENCARTA).

Pizarro is said to have had blacks with him as well.

BOB: what about bibliography for your essay?

Bob replies: What essay? Please remind me.

Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 09:14:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Sender: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Reply-To: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Subject: African conquistadors: Two comments
To: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9902080910.A17154-0100000@netcom2>

From: ange perrault <Ange.Perrault@mail.tju.edu>

The reason why I am able to say that there were Black Conquistadores is from information circulating in the organization that I am part of: ENCUENTRO which is an organization which sole function is to document and research contributions but Africans in the Americas. The large majority of members are Latinos, which means some invited guest give their presentation in spanish.

Juan Garcia from Equator gave a presentation in Philadelphia which gave historical background why Blacks were given the task to explore the dangerous interior of the lands once spaniards settled on the mainland (Central America). We are in the process of collecting and verifying the validity of the information. I will consult the members and will provide information later.

Anyone interested to know more about ENCUENTRO can contact me directly.

Ronel Perrault, PhD

From: Karen Davis <kdavis@marygrove.edu>

No, the ship is the Pinta, feminine form for ships.