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William E. Burns

interpreter, was probably born in the sixteenth century in the region of West Africa under Portuguese influence. What is known of his career comes from legal cases and documents carried out in the Dutch Republic and France from 1607 to 1619. Da Costa's African Portuguese origin can be surmised from his Portuguese name, and the fact that a community of interpreters, some of African descent and some of mixed African and Portuguese descent, had formed in West Africa in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. That Da Costa appeared to his European contemporaries as black can be shown from the use of the word naigre to refer to him. However, his particular point of origin is not certain, nor is the way in which Da Costa's skills as an interpreter transferred from the African coast to that of North America.

Da Costa first appears in the historical record in 1607 ...

Article

Richard C. Lindberg

explorer and merchant, was born in San Marc, Haiti, the son of a slave woman (name unknown) and Dandonneau (first name unknown), scion of a prominent French Canadian family active in the North American fur trade. Surviving historical journals record the name of Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable (Pointe au Sable by some accounts), a Haitian of mixed-race ancestry, as the first permanent settler of Chicago. In her 1856 memoir of frontier life in the emerging Northwest Territory, Juliette Kinzie, the wife of the fur trader John Kinzie makes note of the fact that the first white man who settled here was a Negro Several of the voyageurs and commercial men who regularly traversed the shores of southern Lake Michigan in the last decade of the eighteenth century kept accurate records of their encounters in journals and ledger books One such entry describes du Sable as a ...

Article

Philip Kaplan

Carthaginian ruler and explorer. Almost nothing is known of his life. In classical sources, Hanno is called dux, imperator, and basileus (king) of the Carthaginians. The latter is likely a translation of the Punic sft, suffete, an executive position. The name Hanno is common among the leading families of Carthage; the explorer is sometimes identified, without justification, with the son of Hamilcar, the suffete who died in the battle of Himera in 480 BCE (e.g., in Justin’s Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus). Aside from several references in later works of classical scientists and geographers, Hanno’s journey is known primarily from a brief Greek account— Periplus, or Circumnavigation preserved in a single Byzantine manuscript Codex Palatinus Graecus 398 The text claims to be a version of an account presumably originally in Punic posted in the temple of Kronos Baʿal Hamon in Carthage A ...

Article

Duane W. Roller

Carthaginian explorer, was sent by the Carthaginians to learn what was beyond the extremities of Europe, and thus was one of the first Mediterranean explorers to sail on the Atlantic Ocean. He lived around 500 BCE, known only because he was a contemporary of his more famous colleague Hanno, perhaps his brother. Both were members of the ruling Magonid family of Carthage and represented a vigorous attempt on the part of the Carthaginian government to learn about the world beyond the Mediterranean. Reconstruction of Himilco’s voyage is difficult because it is not documented before Roman times and then only in two sources: the Natural History of Pliny the Elder (2.169) and the strange geographical poem of Avienus, the Ora Maritima 117 29 375 89 402 13 The latter was written in the fourth century CE but probably was derived from a Hellenistic sailing manual that itself made use of ...

Article

Duane W. Roller

Roman official who traveled deep into Africa, starting from Leptis Magna on the Mediterranean coast of Libya. He is only known from mention in the Geography of Ptolemy of Alexandria (1.8, 10), written toward the middle of the second century CE. Ptolemy’s source for Maternus was the work of Marinos of Tyre, now lost, but written perhaps around 100 CE. Since Maternus was not mentioned in the exhaustive Natural History of Pliny the Elder, completed by 79 CE, he must have been active in the last third of the first century CE. Nothing else is known about him beyond the sparse account of his journey.

Maternus set forth from Leptis Magna probably where he was posted and went first to Garama a journey of thirty days Ptolemy or actually Marinos implied this was a journey of official business While at Garama Maternus was persuaded by the local king to join ...

Article

York  

James J. Holmberg

explorer, slave, and the first African American to cross the North American continent from coast to coast north of Mexico, is believed to have been born in Caroline County, Virginia, the son of an enslaved African American also named York (later called Old York), owned by John Clark, a member of the Virginia gentry and father of the famous George Rogers Clark and William Clark. York's mother is unidentified; it is likely that she, too, was a Clark family slave. A slave named Rose is sometimes listed as York s mother but sources best identify her as his stepmother York is believed to have been assigned while a child to William Clark as his servant and companion Since such relationships were generally between children of about the same age with the slave sometimes a few years younger York may have been about two or ...