Crossing the Continent 1527-1540: The Story of the First African-American Explorer of the American South

By Robert Goodwin

A triumph of ancient detective paintings, Crossing the Continent is the notable, never-before-told tale of the 1st black explorer and adventurer in America, Esteban Dorantes. An African slave, Dorantes led an eight-year trip from Florida to California within the early 16th century—three hundred years prior to Lewis and Clark ventured west. a unprecedented true-life saga of braveness, trials, and discovery that the Philadelphia Inquirer calls, “an event tale extra exciting than Defoe or Melville can have imagined,” Crossing the Continent breaks new flooring because it demanding situations the normal view of yankee history.

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There have been presents of meals and maybe the corporate of girls from the harem Guzmán is related to have stored. we will think that there has been cajoling in addition to carousing, as Guzmán pressed him for info in regards to the unexplored north. there have been threats too, for Guzmán used to be a governor basic on the point of shame and wanting to get away his enemies by way of major a winning crusade of conquest within the north. yet Esteban remained lightly reticent, unperturbed via his host’s anger. From what Díaz had advised the survivors at Culiacán, he knew that Guzmán’s downfall used to be impending. actually, in the end, testimony supplied by means of the 4 survivors themselves may help in his prosecution. yet at the moment, the 4 moved quickly on for Mexico urban. information THAT 4 males had survived Pánfilo Nárvaez’s Florida excursion had already traveled speedy. Settlers all through New Galicia had heard anything of the survivors’ reappearance within the badlands of the north. Garbled models of the tale have been carried via note of mouth, informed and retold by means of Spanish, black, and Indian messengers alike, verbal site visitors at the major road to Mexico urban, the Camino actual. Hungry and disillusioned conquistadors heard the whispered rumors and hypothesis concerning the wizardry or perhaps wickedness of that survival. It used to be a news-rich cocktail that involved them and prompted their urge for food to determine what had relatively occurred. All alongside the line from Compostela to Guadalajara after which directly to Mexico, settlers and colonists got here to work out them, to provide them hospitality, to listen to their tale initially hand, and to provide because of God for his or her salvation. Then, someplace close to Guadalajara, it kind of feels most likely that they'd have met 3 inquisitive settlers who have been particularly attracted to their tale. those 3 men—Antonio de Aguayo, Juan de Castañeda, and Alonso de Castañeda—knew that Esteban, Dorantes, Castillo, and Cabeza de Vaca may likewise be rather attracted to the tale they'd to inform, simply because they'd additionally been a part of Pánfilo Nárvaez’s day trip. They too had all sailed from Cuba in the hunt for the fabled promise of Florida. They too had landed at Tampa Bay. but if the most physique of the excursion marched inland looking for conquest, Aguayo and the Castañedas have been one of the a hundred women and men who remained with the boats. The 4 survivors, Narváez, and the loads of guys who perished had by no means obvious these ships back, and that had sealed their destiny. Aguayo and the Castañedas defined they'd searched the never-ending expanses of coastal Florida in the course of the summer time and fall of 1528. many times they'd clashed with adverse Indians in the course of their sorties inland looking for the day trip. one among their quantity, an getting older guy known as Juan Durán, later said that in one determined skirmish he was once “gravely injured,” as was once his horse. ultimately, they discovered that their seek was once futile. So, whilst the specter of wintry weather storms had handed, they made arrangements to come to Cuba. Aguayo and the Castañedas have been between a bunch of some damaged survivors who guided their send into the harbor at Havana within the spring of 1529, a 12 months after the most day trip had disembarked at Tampa Bay.

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