This Day in History: 1539-03-07

Moroccan explorer Estevanico (“Little Stephen”) (modern spelling Estebanico), or as Esteban de Dorantes, sets out to explore what is now the southwestern United States. Though the first non-Native American to explore areas of the American South and West (preceding Coronado, who is widely credited in popular historical accounts), de Dorantes’s achievements in the 16th century largely remain unknown and undervalued due to his race and his status as an enslaved person. He was among the only four survivors of about 600 men that went on a Spanish (conquistador) expedition to present-day Florida in the United States of America and widely believed to be the first African to have reached the present-day USA. Learn more.