Rodrigues, Jan ( Jan Juan Rodrigues )
- Christopher Paul Moore
sailor and trader, was born in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), probably the son of an Afro- Caribbean mother and a European father. Like other Atlantic Creoles—persons of African descent whose names suggest that they had long experience in the western Atlantic world—Rodrigues was among those navigators, traders, pirates, and fishermen who traversed the Atlantic as free men, before and during the slavery era of the Americas. Knowledgeable in the many languages, laws, religions, and trading etiquettes of the larger Atlantic world, their presence suggests the porous character of racial lines in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which allowed people of African descent to be employed and even rise to positions of authority in a world suffused with African slavery. Rodrigues arrived in the northeastern territory of North America following the arrival of at least two other free black men, including Esteban Gomez and Mathieu Da Costa.
In April ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.