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Jane G. Landers

explorer, Indian fighter, and gold miner, was born in West Africa and traveled to Lisbon, Portugal, in the late fifteenth century. It is not known if he went to Portugal as a slave or as a free man: both were possible. From Lisbon, Garrido went to Seville and joined a Spanish expedition sailing for the island of Hispaniola (modern Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Garrido may have been part of Governor Nicolás de Ovando's expedition of 1503 and he stated he was a free man when he sailed for the Americas. Alongside other free blacks, Garrido took part in the “wars of pacification” against the Taíno Indians, and there he found a patron in Juan Ponce de León. In 1508 Ponce de León received a charter to conquer Puerto Rico and Garrido went with him as did several other free and enslaved blacks Garrido identified himself ...

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Jeremy Rich

African-born conquistador, was born sometime in the late fifteenth century somewhere in Africa. Details about his origins and early life are very sparse. He claimed to have converted to Catholicism in Lisbon, Portugal, and lived in the Spanish kingdom of Castile for some time. However, it is clear that Garrido had arrived at the Santo Domingo colony (in the present-day Dominican Republic) by 1502. This settlement, established on the island of Hispaniola by the Italian sea captain Christopher Columbus, became a destination for slaves almost immediately, since Spanish and Italian seafarers had been using African slaves as servants for centuries. Garrido and other slaves also helped to provide military support against armed attacks by Native Americans. African soldiers helped Spanish leaders capture Puerto Rico in 1508 and lay claim to Cuba in 1511 and 1512 Juan Garrido later claimed to have served under the Spanish commanders Ponce de Léon ...