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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 ...