The Black Exployers and Conquistadors in the New World

he beginning of the Mulatto/Creole Race in the Western Hemisphere

Not All people of African descent were brought here in chains... In fact many accompanied the Very First European exployers and here is their story




The First New World Mulattos/Creoles .... click here

The Conquistadors

...Click on Video



the purpose is to validate the concept that Louisiana Creoles and their decendants are indeed a distinct ethnic group and more over. the reader shall realize that the color of an individuals skin does not place the individual in a specific culture or remove him from a specific Culture...







The Question of the Black Conquistadors

Whether or not there were Black conquistadors, We were not absolutely sure, but The Historical records say YES.. and it has been well documented that People of African descent and People of Color did, in fact, accompany the First European exploders to the New World..From Historical accounts, Age old illustrations and original text, preserved to this day, all tell of these forgotten People of Color , indentured servents, Moors and others..

You can simply browse the internet to see the many paintings , illustrations and ocuments that confirm the presence of these People in the new World : Of course the whole issue will be downplayed, because there are those who would prefer NOT to let the facts come forth......Lets not forget that there was a large population of People of color in Southern spain and portugal and after the defeat of the Moors they did not simply disappear.........







the purpose is to validate the concept that Louisiana Creoles and their decendants are indeed a distinct ethnic group and more over. the reader shall realize that the color of an individuals skin does not place the individual in a specific culture or remove him from a specific Culture...CULTURE HAS NO COLOR

Gilbert Martin , Author of the Creole Chronology



Dedicated to Mr Gilbert Martin , Author of the Creole Chronology



The Mulatto/Black Discoverers of the New World

who accompanied the European Discoverers





conqueror and explorer

Hernando DeSoto,

the first Europeans and Mulattos to view the Mississippi River, in 1541.



This Painting Clearly shows that the Moors , a Mixed Race People, who were members of the French and Spanish societies, clearly were with the Exploreres during their discoveries..

If you click on the photo to enlarge you will see the Mixed Race Moor with a Turban behind the Conquistador with the hat that holds a feather





William H. Powell was the last artist to be commissioned by the Congress for a painting in the Rotunda. His dramatic and brilliantly colored canvas shows Spanish conqueror and explorer Hernando DeSoto, riding a white horse, the first European to view the Mississippi River, in 1541.

As De Soto and his troops approach, the Native Americans in front of their tepees watch, and a chief holds out a peace pipe. In the foreground is a jumble of weapons and soldiers, suggesting the attack they had suffered shortly before. To the right, a monk prays as a crucifix is set in the ground.

Powell (1823–1879) was born in New York and raised in Ohio. He studied art in Italy and worked on the painting in Paris. He also painted The Battle of Lake Erie, which hangs in the east Senate Grand Staircase in the Capitol.


Hernando de Soto in the Mississippi Valley, 1541-42




El Conquistador Negro Juan Garrido a report on how I served Your Majesty in the conquest and pacification of this New Spain,

"I, Juan Garrido, black resident [de color negro vecino] of this city [Mexico], appear before Your Mercy and state that I am in need of making a probanza to the perpetuity of the king [a perpetuad rey], a report on how I served Your Majesty in the conquest and pacification of this New Spain, from the time when the Marqués del Valle [Cortés] entered it; and in his company

I was present at all the invasions and conquests and pacifications which were carried out, always with the said Marqués, all of which I did at my own expense without being given either salary or allotment of natives [repartimiento de indios] or anything else.

As I am married and a resident of this city, where I have always lived; and also as I went with the Marqués del Valle to discover the islands which are in that part of the southern sea [the Pacific] where there was much hunger and privation; and also as I went to discover and pacify the islands of San Juan de Buriquén de Puerto Rico; and also as I went on the pacification and conquest of the island of Cuba with the adelantado Diego Velázquez;

in all these ways for thirty years have I served and continue to serve Your Majesty--for these reasons stated above do I petition Your Mercy. And also because I was the first to have the inspiration to sow maize here in New Spain and to see if it took; I did this and experimented at my own expense."



While the role of people of African descent in Latin America's colonization "is relatively well-known," Peter Gerhard once noted, "it is for the most part an impersonal history." Gerhard's brief biographical essay on Juan Garrido, "A Black Conquistador in Mexico," was his contribution to the personalization of black history in Spanish America. [End Page 171] More than two decades later, that process of personalization--and contextualization--still has a long way to go.

This article places Juan Garrido in the specific biographical context of black conquistadors who fought and settled in other regions of Spanish America--from Yucatan to Chile--and in the broader historical context of the black experience in Spanish America (see the articles that follow in this issue of The Americas).

The sources for this endeavor are a combination of primary material, mostly the genre of colonial "chronicles" but including a few archival items, and secondary works, some pre-dating Gerhard's essay but some representing recent work.

The article's purpose is thus,


to marshal the widely scattered evidence on the topic with a view to making the broad and simple--but hitherto inadequately substantiated if not marginalized --point that Africans were a ubiquitous and pivotal part of Spanish conquest campaigns in the Americas;


to articulate whatever patterns are visible in black conquest roles and to locate African participation in the phases of Spanish expansion;


to argue that such roles should be seen in a longer-term colonial context whose most notable features were the existence of black militias and individuals whom have been termed black counter-conquistadors.


the Black Conquistodors





Juan Garrido

Africa or Portugal, Mexico, Zacatula, Manumission,
black slave & Baja California various minor
posts, site within
Mexico City traza


Juan García

Spain, free mulatto Peru Footman’s share of
gold and silver at
Cajamarca, a share
at Cuzco

Sebastián Toral

Africa(?), black Yucatan Manumission,
slave tribute exemption

Miguel Ruíz

Spain, free mulatto Peru Horseman’s double
share of gold and
silver at Cajamarca,
a posthumous share
at Cuzco

Pedro Fulupo

Africa(?), black Costa Rica Unknown

Juan Valiente

Africa(?), black Peru, Chile Treated as though
slave free, made captain,
granted an estate
and an encomienda

Juan Bardales

Africa, black slave Honduras and Manumission,
Panama 50-peso pension


Juan Beltrán

Spanish America, Chile Confirmed as
free mulatto captain of the fort
(black-native) he built at Villarica
and given an

Antonio Pérez

North Africa, Venezuela Horseman and
free black captain

Juan Portugués

Africa or Portugal, Venezuela Unknown



Most of these black conquistadors were born in Africa, but they typically
reached the American mainland after spending time in the Caribbean
colonies, and sometimes also in Spain or Portugal. Most were slaves when
they began fighting, but as conquistadors sooner or later won their freedom.

A minority were Iberian-born and a minority were free men before
their conquest experience.


Juan García and Miguel Ruíz,

Spanish-born free mulattos

who fought in Peru , were at the far end of the spectrum in both these respects; Ruíz, who (like Antonio Pérez in
Venezuela) participated as a horseman rather than a footman, was the closest
to being a Spaniard in terms of status and treatment.


Most Blacks were young men when they joined conquest expeditions, but
not youths, and not without some experience of the world; thirty seems tohave been a typical age of a black conquistador at the start of his first campaign.

This would have put him very slightly older than his Spanish counterpart—
judging from the ages of 107 of the conquistadors at Cajamarca,
two-thirds of whom were in their twenties (mostly late-twenties) and a quarterin their thirties and from the ages of the Spanish conquerors of New Granada, whose average age was twenty-seven.

The Spanish distrust of
less Hispanized Blacks must in part account for the paucity of very young
African men playing armed roles in the Conquest;

it is also probable that
younger unacculturated Africans (or “bozales”) were more likely to be
placed in danger by Spaniards—used as “arrow fodder,” as it were—and
thus less likely to survive and enter the historical record.

The high incidence of “Juan” as a black conquistador Christian name is
worth comment. Of a dozen black conquistadors whose names are recorded

seven were named “Juan.”
This was more than mere coincidence, but it did not reflect a pattern particularto Blacks under arms or to Spanish American Blacks in general; “Juan”was simply the most common male Christian name in the Spanish-speakingworld in the sixteenth century.

A comparison of names given to Spanish and
black infants in the 1540s and ’50s, the former in Mexico City and the latterin nearby Puebla, showed that “Juan” was the name of choice, assigned toabout a quarter of baptized boys in both groups




Captain Juan Beltrán,

The valiant captain Juan Beltrán, a mulatto, son of a black man and an Indian woman

, is worthy of eternal memory for his great deeds among the Indians...

. He was very deferential toward the Spaniards, and very obedient and loyal to them.

With the Indians he was fearless; they stood in awe of him and respected him, to such a degree that the mere mention of his name was often enough to intimidate the Indians and put their forces to flight.

The Spaniards
on several occasions,seeing themselves hard put to it, gave out that CaptainJuan Beltrán was coming to them, and thus they gained the victory; such authority did he have with them, and such respect and fear did they show him.

Accordingly for his sterling character and his bravery, Governor MartínGarcía de Loyola, in His Majesty’s name, presented him with 500 Indians and
gave him the title of Infantry Captain. He was a valiant governor and captainfor them. With his 500 Indians he built his fort two leagues from Villarica, and they were very obedient to him.

He made himself respected and feared in allthe neighboring provinces, into which he made long malocas or raids, bringing back great prizes. So long as he lived, Villarica was well defended and could rely on his aid and protection, until they finally killed him.

His loss wasthe end of the Spaniards, and they perished at the hands of the Indians. Merely to write his victories and heroic deeds against the Indians in His Majesty’s service and in defense of the Spaniards, would require an entire volume.

Despite the mythologizing tone of this account, this kind of warrior reputation was broadly associated with black conquistadors to an extent that suggests a consistent Spanish witnessing of African military prowess in the194 BLACK CONQUISTADORS




The Conquistadors



From the very onset of Spanish activity in the Americas, Africans were present both as voluntary expeditionaries and as involuntary colonists.Likewise from the onset, the roles played by people of African descent can be placed in three overlapping categories.

Mass Slavery

The category that would soon include the majority of Blacks in colonial Spanish America was that of the mass slave--that is, slaves shipped en masse to the colonies and forced to work in labor gangs in various industries but most typically on sugar plantations.

Beginning as early as 1505, enslaved men and women were imported in increasingly large numbers to the Spanish colonies, at first from the Iberian kingdoms but soon directly from Africa. King Ferdinand authorized in the first months of 1510 the transportation to Hispaniola of 250 African slaves; thus formally began the trans-Atlantic expansion of a slave trade that would last into the nineteenth century and bring millions of Africans in chains to European colonies in the Americas.

That trade is not the immediate topic of this article, but it does provide the broader context to the phenomenon of black conquistadors in Spanish America.

Unarmed Auxillary

The second category of Spanish American Blacks was that of the unarmed auxiliary. These were men and women who were born either in [End Page 173] [Begin Page 175] West Africa or in the Iberian kingdoms, more likely the latter in the early decades after Spaniards first crossed the Atlantic.

They were servants or slaves--though they were more typically the latter and were less likely to acquire their freedom in the Americas than armed auxiliaries, even if the militarized environment of the early conquest years often blurred the line between the armed and unarmed.

The experience of black auxiliaries was markedly different from that of mass slaves for these reasons and because they functioned as individuals, alone or in small groups, as personal dependents or agents of their Spanish masters. Although the condition of slavery was certainly never tolerable, nor is there evidence that any slaves in the Spanish world perceived it as such under any circumstances, some slaves in this category were granted considerable responsibility and relative freedom of movement.

the armed auxiliary of African descent.


The third category, and the focus of this article, is that of the armed auxiliary of African descent. These were men ranging from African-born slaves to Iberian-born free men of mixed racial ancestry (although black women were among the first Africans in the Americas, I have found no evidence of any playing armed roles) .

The enslaved acquired their freedom soon after they began fighting alongside Spaniards, if not before; very few black conquistadors seem to have remained slaves after their participation in the Conquest.

Such men tended to hold predictable posts during and after the Conquest and to become part of early colonial life in certain ways; they are few in number but their lives sufficiently conform to certain patterns for analytical generalizations to be made about them. Nor did the phenomenon of the black conquistador end with the initial series of Spanish conquests; as argued later in this article, it survived in various forms throughout the colonial period and remained an important part of the black experience in Spanish America.



..View the whole PDF file Click here


Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest

Read the Pdf Files


The Moors.............. Click here



The Golden Passport..

.Good reading on the Moors and Spanish conquest



Beautiful Buildings of Seville Spain
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