The Emergence of Afro-Tejano Society During the Spanish Colonial Period in Texas, 1528-1700

Dr. Douglas Richmond
History Professor
University of Texas at Arlington

Before the first Africans arrived in Texas, one must consider the possibility that they appeared here before 1528. In many American history classes, the discovery of the New World is limited to a few European voyages, particularly those of Christopher Columbus. It is a relatively new endeavor to explore pre-Columbian expeditions from other parts of the world. At times, prejudice has caused many to ignore Africa. Either the people were supposedly too backward to have come up with the idea on their own, or they simply lacked the technological knowledge to navigate the seas. Thus many traditional historians have assumed that there were simply no means within Africa to explore the Americas.

However, the research is far from complete as the diffusion of Africans to the New World still requires the work of more scholars to be firmly established. This can be accomplished once the knowledge of possible African journeys to the New World becomes more widespread. This trend will, hopefully, attract more future and current researchers to find more evidence as well as provide additional interpretations.

There are several examples which demonstrate the fact that a transatlantic voyage may not have been a difficult task if one is coming from Africa. The image that usually comes up in one’s mind when thinking of Africans sailing are of little canoes barely large enough for two people to fit in. This is contrasted with the supposedly enormous vessels that many people imagine Columbus and his fleet utilized. First of all, it must be noted that Columbus’ vessels themselves were actually about the size of most African vessels, and could rarely hold more than 30 crewmen. When that is understood, one can easily notice that the ships he used were relatively the same size as many of the African vessels.

Sailing and ship construction in the Sahara extends back to perhaps twenty thousand years, as indicated in wall paintings found  in caves. The images portray ancient ships with sails and masts that plied the Sahara when it was filled with water. Commercial contacts between West Africa and Egypt may have stimulated the idea to trade with the Americans. West Africans were also using compasses and astronomical calculations for desert travel. Surely these skills would have been used for voyages into the Atlantic.

Both ancient and medieval African boats have been reconstructed and tested on the Atlantic sea routes to America and have crossed successfully. In 1969, Thor Heyerdahl’s expeditions from Safi, on Morroco’s Atlanta coast, came within a few days of reaching Barbados using the same papyrus boats as Africans. There is no question that Africans occupied the Island of Bioko and the Canary Islands long before European penetration of the African coastal waters.

A Portuguese encounter with groups of African vessels in the Fifteenth Century demonstrates the development of African seafaring abilities. The Portuguese explorer Alvise da Cadamosto described a group of about 17 large boats carrying a total of 150 men bearing down on them. Cadamosto and a group of his sailors had launched their on-board canoes to further explore the Gambia River in Senegal. Their 1455 account states:

“They numbered seventeen of considerable size. Checking their course and lifting up their oars, their crew lay gazing… We estimated on examination that there might be about one hundred and fifty at the most; they appeared very well built,
exceedingly black, and all clothed in white cotton shirts; some of them wore small white caps on their heads, very like the German style, except that on each side they had a white wing with a feather in the middle of the cap, as though to distinguish the fighting men.…”

This example indicates African vessels holding a large number of sailors as well as warriors within ships that were also capable of carrying a sizeable amount of cargo. Several African tribes specialized in producing vessels that were needed in a high volume trading area. Pre-colonial West African nations generally did not feel forced to import much from across the Sahara because they had plenty of resources within their borders, such as gold, ivory, salt, slaves, and copper. Africans along the Atlantic coast exploited a diversity of food plants and raised cattle as well as goats. Such wealth meant that risking dangerous trans-Saharan journeys did not hold much interest for most West Africans. Thus the Arabs ultimately dominated that avenue of commerce because their camels were better suited to do so on a regular basis. But these products eventually attracted the Portuguese, who became the initial colonizers of West Africa, followed by other Europeans.

One must realize that a trans-Atlantic trek from the west coast of Africa probably would have presented no more of a hazard or risk to voyagers than a trans-Saharan venture. And the most tempting aspect about the prospect was that there was hitherto no competition there, which is why the Iberians took to the Atlantic. In about 1310, Abubakari II, legendary ruler of the Mali Empire, would seize the opportunity. The only written record of his voyage to the Americas is taken from Al-Umari’s Masalik, his record of the sultan of Egypt Ibn Amir Hajib’s conversation with Mansa Gongo Musa, Abubakari’s successor:

“I asked the Sultan Musa,” Ibn Amir Hajib said, “how it was that power came into his hands.”

“We are,” he told me, “from a house that transmits power by heritage. The ruler who preceded me would not believe that it was impossible to discover the limits of the neighboring sea; he wanted to find out and persisted in his plan. He had two hundred ships equipped and filled with men, and others in the same number filled them with gold, water, and supplied in sufficient quantity to last for years. He told those who commanded them:  “return only when you have reached the extremity of the ocean, or when you have exhausted your food and water.” They went away; their absence was long before any of them returned. Finally, a sole ship reappeared. We asked the captain about their adventures.

“Prince,” he replied, “we sailed for a long time, up to the moment when we encountered in mid-ocean something like a river with a violent current. My ship was last.  The others sailed on, and gradually as each one entered this place, they disappeared and did not come back. We did not know what had happened to them. As for me, I returned to where I was and did not enter that current. But the emperor did not want to believe him. He equipped two thousand vessels, a thousand for himself and the men who accompanied him, and a thousand for water and supplies. He conferred power on me and left with his companions on the ocean. This was the last time I saw him and the others, and remained absolute master of the empire.”

Large fleets were not uncommon for West African nations in the coastal region since they dealt extensively with river trading in such commercial centers as Timbuktu, Dejenne, Gao, and Aoudaghast. Aside from the uncertainty of finding lands across the Atlantic, there was only moderate hesitation in taking to the open seas. Columbus encountered locals in Santo Domingo (present day Haiti) mentioning the arrival of blacks from Africa. Wind and ocean currents flowing toward the Americas would have favored such an undertaking.

One scholar noted that:

“When we look at the map and note the distance between the Guinea Coast of Africa, which the Mandingos inhabited, and the nearest point on the South American continent – Cape St. Rogue, Brazil — there is considerably less distance than the distance between Europe and North America and also less than the distance traversed by Columbus on his first voyage, there appears little reason why venturesome Negro traders should not have crossed the Atlantic.”

Although the case for Africans crossing the Atlantic before Columbus is based largely upon conjecture, is there any evidence of Africans in Texas before 1528? According to a Harvard University anthropologist writing in the 1930s, skulls that he analyzed in the Pecos River Valley at San Miguel County which date back to pre-Hispanic years, resemble closely the crania of Africans with a Hamitic background. The Pueblo Indian site where professor E.A. Hooten examined skeletal remains was the largest village of its time and occupied longer than any other southwestern site.  Hooten concluded that this finding signified that “in the earlier strata of the American population, there was some degree of Negro or Negroid admixture…”

The diffusion theory for an early African voyage or migration is further suggested by the presence of Late Archaic period Pecos River paintings that depict boats.
Africans could have migrated through Asia to the southwest because it is fairly well established that a significant migration of Africans undoubtedly took place. Recent DNA testing indicates that humans evolved from Africa 200,000 years ago and then spread to Europe and Asia. The DNA record seems to reinforce fossil evidence. Diffusion scholars maintain that the first migrations of black Australoids to America took place 25,000 years ago followed by Asiatic blacks 15,000 years ago. Runoko Rashidi asserts that Afro-Asiatics penetrated North America and founded the Clovis and Folsom fluted point tool industry in New Mexico, which dates back 11,000 or 11,500 years ago. Another scholar claimed that Australoid skulls have been found on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Aside from skulls and other bone fragments, what sort of African colonies may have existed in Texas before the arrival of the Spaniards? The Washitaw (or Ouachita-Mu’urs) seemed to have clearly established themselves in the Mississippi Valley in an area that once covered nearly a million square miles. Their name comes from the Washita River, which flows along northwest Texas to the Red River. Part of this mound building culture included east Texas. Today the Washitaw area only covers about 70,000 acres. They now consider themselves related to the Xi peoples of West Africa. African pipes have been connected to mound building remains in the Mississippi Valley, although the specific rationale for building the mounds remains a mystery.

Whether the Washitaw migrated from the north along with other mound builders as early as 3,000 B.C., or migrated from Africa, there is no doubt that Mexican cultures influenced the Texas Washitaw.  Mound building societies as far north as Ohio utilized clay figurines strikingly similar to Meso-American Olmec art. The pottery at Point Pleasant, Ohio, site closely resembles the Olmec cities of La Venta and Corral along the Gulf of Mexico. South of the Olmec culture, the great Mexican city of Teotihuacan sent its merchants to Texas by 700 a.d. Early conclusions about mound builders indicated that their temples in the Gulf Coast areas of the present United States had a pyramidal structure with theocratic governments similar to the Olmecs and Teotihuacan.

Diffusion scholars and Washitaw activists assert that a biological connection between Olmecs and Washitaws nurtured an African relationship. There is no doubt that Mexican ties existed to the southeast as well as the southwest before the arrival of the Spaniards, but what can be made of contacts between the Olmecs and Africa? Of course, the best evidence for African contributions to the development of Olmec culture are the massive African featured statues that have been found at various sites beginning with the Tres Zapotes excavation in 1858. The broad lips on these figures, as well as their kinked, coiled, and braided hair, seem to indicate an African influence. Moreover, the Gulf of Mexico is the end point of currents that sweep over from Africa and have not changed for 3,000 years. In addition, a Polish professor found skulls and skeletons that he judged to be African in terms of their origin.

Although the possibility of African voyages or migrations arriving in Texas before the Hispanic explorers remains tantalizing, it is certain that Africans reached Texas after Spaniards brought them into central Mexico. Undoubtedly, the first African in Texas was Esteban (or Estevanico), who set foot near present-day Galveston on November 6, 1528, when a storm washed the ill-fated Pánfilo de Narváez expedition into the Gulf of Mexico. Born in Azamor, Morocco, Esteban served as the personal servant of Andrés Dorantes de Carranza. Because of his skill in languages as well as an ability to communicate with his hands, Esteban became the interpreter for what resulted in a small band led by the immortal Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca.

Esteban was probably a Malinke because the Spaniards imported Malinke slaves at that time. Esteban was also an experienced sailor and “adept in natural sciences.” This is because his homeland became Mali, which had the Niger, Gambia, and Senegal Rivers empty into the Atlantic. Indigenous societies in Texas confirmed the arrival of Esteban near El Paso to a Spanish expedition on its way to New Mexico in 1583.

Of course, the arrival of Africans into Texas is connected in Mexico, which included Texas as part of its domain. The first Africans in Mexico arrived from Cuba in 1519 with Hernán Cortés and Pánfilo de Narváez. Cortes had six Africans in his band which defeated the Aztec emperor Moctezuma II in 1528. Because Mexico’s indigenous population declined rapidly due to Spanish epidemics for which the Indians had no immunity, the Spaniards imported tens of thousands of African slaves into Mexico. By the end of the sixteenth century, Mexico probably had more Africans than any other European colony in the New World. Although the Catholic Church often defended the indigenous population, they rarely espoused the same fervor to defend Africans. But the Spanish allowed Africans to obtain their freedom through purchase or by means of wills from appreciative owners. Free blacks, however, had to pay special taxes and could not become priests, and Africans sank to the bottom of the social order. Blatant discrimination in Central Mexico motivated many Africans to move to the north, where the social structure was less strict and people of color could own land and enter most occupations.

Spanish colonization of Northern Mexico increased the activities of Africans in Texas. Esteban died in 1539 while attempting to enter a Zuni pueblo as part of the Fray Marcos de Niza attempt to find the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola. Several African retainers formed part of the Fray Marcos excursion. Esteban, however, marked a trail that the ambitious Francisco Coronado would eventually utilize one year later during his significant expedition throughout the southwest that eventually reached present day Kansas. Other Africans accompanied Coronado when he pushed into west Texas.

While Coronado advanced into west Texas, the remnants of Hernando de Soto’s expedition reached east Texas. A wealthy member of the nobility, as well as a veteran of campaigns in Cuba, de Soto began searching for the fabled city of Cibola on May 18, 1539, when he sailed for Florida. Mainly searching for plunder, de Soto’s column cut a bloody swath through the southeast before suffering a devastating defeat near Mobile, Alabama. During the spring of 1542, de Soto became the first European to encounter the Mississippi and moved into the mouth of the Red River. Finally, de Soto died of fever in May 1542. Luis de Moscoso succeeded de Soto as head of the campaign and crossed again into Texas. De Soto’s expedition contained an unspecified number of Africans, three of whom ran away and lived for a dozen years among Indians.

More Africans and mulattoes passed through El Paso when Juan de Oñate’s group departed from Santa Barbara, Mexico, on January 26, 1598. A strictly administered roll call of the colonists that intended to settle New Mexico included three African female slaves, one mulatto slave, and several other mulatto servants. Oñate’s personal assistant was also an African. They, along with the other members of the expedition, celebrated the first Thanksgiving in the Americas when they feasted on fish and fowl and cool water from the Rio Grande. They also celebrated mass and performed the first play on what is now Texas soil.

The arrival of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle at Matagorda Bay on New Year’s Day, 1685, eventually involved active participation by various Africans and mulattoes. La Salle was the greatest French explorer of his time. More than twenty years before he wound up in Texas, he had explored the Great Lakes region and much of the upper Midwest. In 1682, he led an expedition down the Mississippi River to its mouth and claimed its watershed for the king of France. Although many scholars believe that La Salle simply missed his target by landing in Texas instead of the Mississippi delta, La Salle may have schemed with Diego de Peñalosa to establish a French colony at the mouth of the Rio Grande in order to capture Spanish mines in northern Mexico. While governor of New Mexico, Peñalosa sent out an alleged expedition to Texas on March 6, 1662, that lists no blacks or mulattoes. But Peñalosa declared that all the mulattoes in America were “so bitterly opposed to Spanish rule ‘that they would welcome his proposed invasion by French filibusters to overthrow the Hispanic order in the southwest. Peñalosa, who got into trouble with The Inquisition and became branded as a liar after he betrayed Spain, never joined La Salle in Texas.

Meanwhile, La Salle’s fortunes began to decline although he managed to establish Fort St. Louis at Garcitas Creek in present-day Victoria County. But most of the colonists did not know how to survive in the brutal coastal bend wilderness. Some died from rattlesnake bites, others were taken by smallpox and even more were killed by Indians. Within one year of his launch date from France, La Salle had lost all but one of his four ships. When Spanish officials received news of the French incursion, a frantic search to find La Salle’s ill-fated expedition ensued. Before long, a mulatto slave from St. Augustine, who had fled his master and joined a Dutch pirate ship, entered the scene. The mulatto claimed that the pirates cruised along the Texas coast where they found La Salle’s settlement. The mulatto and his fellow pirates stayed at Matagorda for six days until Spanish forces captured him and took him back to St. Augustine where the mulatto issued his startling statements.
Another mulatto, Martincho, who received orders to enter Texas in order to reinforce Spanish forces searching for the La Salle colony, never arrived. Martincho was appointed by Juan Bautista Escarza, commander of the Vizcaya presidio in Coahuila, to command a force of ten soldiers that would depart from Saltillo to augment the Alonso de León expedition which was searching for Fort St. Louis. But during a dispute about attending a christening event in Saltillo, the alcalde imprisoned Martincho’s men. To put it mildly, Martincho took issue with the alcalde’s decision and attacked him with his sword, cutting off an arm and battering his skull. The detained soldiers eventually obtained their release and made it to de León’s camp on April 30, 1689. But they arrived with Martincho, who was shot in the Saltillo plaza on March 21, 1689, on orders of the aggrieved alcalde.

The first African to set foot in the Nacogdoches area was a black bugler who accompanied Domingo de Terán to east Texas in 1691. Convinced that French ambitions in Louisiana might lead to additional attempts to colonize Texas, the Spaniards appointed de Terán as governor. De Terán immediately entered Texas with a mandate to establish a permanent colony. His subsequent explorations became a nightmare amid freezing conditions. As the weather became bitterly cold, and his African bugler became one of many who deserted the expedition, Terán spent a day searching for this young man before giving up.

A year later, the 1692 Diego de Vargas force included an Angolan as they passed through El Paso to reconquer New Mexico.  Under the leadership of Popé, a medicine man from San Juan, New Mexico, various Pueblo communities revolted on August 10, 1680, and forced the Spanish settlers to retreat into El Paso. Sebastian Rodríguez Brito, an African member of the successful attempt to restore Hispanic rule over New Mexico, was one of the 40 Spanish soldiers that departed from El Paso in August 1692.

What can be said of cultural and social landmarks that these Africans, although few in number, were able to set down? Unquestionable evidence exists for the survival of African art, storytelling and music in Texas, as well as the rest of the New World. Veracruz was the Mexican port of entry for virtually all Africans who came to Texas. From there they brought the son musical tradition of Hispanic and African concepts molded together in Cuba. This developed into the son jaracho musical genre, famous for its irreverent, secular and mocking attitude toward death. Fandangos appeared in Seventeenth Century Mexico after its adoption from the African tradition of bailongo, an occasion to eat drink, and dance. Rhythmic footwork became the foundation of these dances, done with unlimited verses. All these dances were accompanied by pounding on a marimba, which is a percussion instrument of African origin, usually constructed from plywood or cedar planks. Each of these dances soon spread into Texas.

Towns and eating habits in Texas also had African origins. Menudo actually derives from the Mondongo tradition of eating the innards of animals, particularly cattle. Mondongo is a village in Zaire and the entrails that owners would not eat but gave to slaves eventually became known as chitterlings in Texas. And the infamous Mexican verb chingar (screw) is a Bantu word brought over by slaves from Angola.

As the Spanish colonial era progressed, Africans received better treatment in terms of lighter punishment, opportunities for military service, intermarriage, and even the right to hold public office.  Indeed, the Hispanic period featured land grants given to blacks as well as Indians which the Texas Republic later nullified. Thus the earliest years of Spanish rule from 1528 to 1700 indicates that people of African origin made a modest but eventually substantial contribution to the development of Texas.


The diffusion model elaborated by Van Sertima remains as a very interesting thesis concerning the exploration of the Americas by Africans. In recent years, the Alfred Crosby explanation that the American hemisphere became peopled by Asians crossing over the Bering Sea has become increasingly challenged by other scholars. Although the diffusionist concept is still disputed by traditional researchers for the lack of credible evidence, it seems to be gaining acceptance among newer scholars.

After the initial explorations and expeditions from 1528 to 1700, African society expanded and consolidated itself in Texas.  Subsequent Hispanic explorers encountered Africans at the mouth of the Rio Grande who had been shipwrecked during the twilight of the Seventeenth Century. By 1755, Jose de Escandón had begun the settlement of the lower Rio Grande Valley with the aid of eleven African slaves. Mulattoes became part of the group that actually founded San Antonio before the arrival of the more celebrated Canary Islanders. The emergence of free blacks resulted from miscegenation between black male slaves and free women of all ethnic backgrounds. During the colonial period, blacks, Indians, and mixed bloods met in household settings which enabled them to marry.

One of the primary needs that Africans provided in Texas was military service. Many borderland garrisons experienced difficulty in recruiting replacements. Spanish authorities did not hesitate to enlist mulattoes and blacks to garrison the Texas presidios. Free blacks and mulattoes thus experienced greater social status which minimized the normal restrictions placed on them. This, of course, resulted in a military tradition that increased during the Nineteenth Century in the form of the Buffalo Soldiers.

As the colonial era in Texas consolidated itself, blatant discrimination in central Mexico motivated many Africans to relocate to Texas where the social structure was less strict and people of color could own land and enter most occupations. The Spanish era of Texas featured land grants to blacks as well as Indians. Later the Republic of Texas nullified these awards as part of its repressive legislation against blacks. Not surprising, only a few free Afro-Tejanos supported the Texas revolt in 1835 because of the tolerance and increasingly enlightened tone of Hispanic rule.

The remnants of the early period of African influence upon Texas are barely visible. Most of them are intangibles such as subtle influences upon music, food, and religion. Researchers will continue to find more data in the future. Scholars, however, do not have the exclusive monopoly on the creation of new knowledge. In May 2008, a struggle to retain the remains of an older Houston neighborhood resulted in the revelation of older brick streets constructed with a cross pattern traced back to Africa.


  • Keith Pickering, Columbus’s Navigation 1997.  June 30, 2008.
  • http://www.columbiranavigation, com.  Accessed 6/23/08
  • Ivan Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus, (New York; Random House, 1976), 57-67;
  •  Accessed 6/23/08
  • Peter Mitchell, African Connections:  Archaeological Perspectives on Africa and the Wide World, (Oxford:  Alta Mira Press, 2229), 173.
  • Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus, 52.  For a detailed discussion of the navigational aspects of West African voyages across the Atlantic, see Michael Bradley, Dawn Voyage:  The Black African Discovery of America.  (Toronto:  Summerville Press, 1987, 1974)
  • Cheik Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization, (New York:  Lawrence Hill Books, 157-164), David Birmingham, A. Concise History of Portugal, 2nd ed. (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2003), 22-33; Mitchell, African Connections, 33-63; Chancellor Williams, The Destruction of Black Civilization:  Great Issues of Race From 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D., (Chicago:  Third World Press, 1987), 195-219.
  • Harold G. Lawrence, “Mandinga Voyages Across the Atlantic,” in Ivan Van Sertima, ed.  African Presence in Early America, (New Brunswick:  Transaction Books, 1882), 170-
  • Ivan Van Sertima, Early America Revisited, (New Brunswick:  Transaction Publishers, 1976), 3.
  • David J. M. Muffet, “Leon Weiner – A Plea for Re-Examination,” in Van Sertima, African Presence in Early America, 159.
  • Ernest Albert Hooten, Apes, Men and Morons (New York:  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1937), 183.  Alfred V. Kidder, The Artifacts of Pecos (New
    York:  Garland Press, 1979), 1.
  • Parker Nunley, A Field Guide to Archeological Sites of Texas, (Houston, Gulf Publishing, 1989) 179-180; W. W. Newcomb, Rock Art of
    Texas Indians, (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 1967).
  • Parker Nunley, A Field Guide to Archeological Sites of Texas, (Houston, Gulf Publishing, 1989) 179-180; W. W. Newcomb, Rock Art of Texas Indians, (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 1967).
  • Ivan Van Sertima, “Evidence for an African Presence in Pre-Columbian America,” in Van Sertima, ed.  African Presence in Early America (New Brunswick:  Transaction Publishers, 1999), 20-28;  Runoko Rashdi, “Men Out of Asia:  A Review and Update of the Gladwin Thesis,” in Van Sertima, ed.  African Presence in Early America, 223-235.
  • Suzar, Blacked Out Through Whitewash, (Oak View, CA:  A-Kar Productions, 1999), 67;
  •  Accessed 6/23/08, p. 8.
  • R. A. Umar Shabazz Bey, We Are the Washitaw (Baton Rouge:  Washita International Human Rights Network, 1996); Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus, 224.  J. P. MacLean, The Mound Builders (Cincinnati:  Robert Clark and Co., 1885), 14 emphatically notes the presence of mounds in Texas as well as Louisiana.
  • Dean Snow, The Archaeology of North America:  American Indians and Their Origins (London:  Thames and Hudson, 1976)  34-60; MacLean, The Mound Builders, 46, 124-125.
  • Scholarly Studies of the Olmecs are  Ignacio Bernal, The Olmec World (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1969), as well as Michael Coe and Richard Diehl, In The Land of the Olmecs (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 1981).  For a diffusion perspective on an Olmec-Africa connection, see Ivan Van Sertima, “Egypto-Nubian Presenses in Ancient Mexico,” in Van Sertima, African Presence in Early America, 61-71.
  • A timely edition and translation is the Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Castaways:  Narrative of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, ed. Enrique Pupo-Walker, tr. Frances M. Lopez-Morillas, (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1993).  Quintard Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier:  African Americans in the American West, 1528-1990  (New York:  Norton 1998), 27.  Alwyn Barr, The African Texans (College Station:  Texas A&M University Press, 2004), 5.  Rolena Adorno and Patrick Charles Pautz, Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca:  His Account, His Life, and the Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, (Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press, 1999).
  • Martha Menchaca, Recovering History, Constucting Race:  The Indian, Black and White Roots of Mexican Americans, (Austin, 2001), 71.
  • Ibid, 72.
  • Herbert Eugene Bolton, Spanish Explorations in the Southwest, 1542-1706  (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916), 172-174.
  • Peter Boyd-Bowman, “Negro Slaves in Early Colonial Mexico,”  The Americans, 26 (Oct. 1969), 149-152.
  • Gonzalo Aguine Beltrán, La poblacion Negra de Mexico, (Mexico City:  Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1972), 19-21.
  • Douglas W. Richmond, “The Legacy of African Slavery in Colonial Mexico, 1519-1810,”  Journal of Popular Culture, (35:2) 1-16.
  • Menchaca, Recovering History, Constructing Race, 64-66.
  • John L. Kessell, Spain in the Southwest:  A Narrative History of Colonial New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California (Norman:  University of Oklahoma Press, 2002), 32.
  • Although no Africans appear on the list of Coronado’s expedition in Arthur S. Aiton, “The Muster Roll of Coronado,” in David H. Snow, The Native American and Spanish Colonial Experience in the Greater Southwest (New York:  Garland Publishing, 1972), 67-92, Taylor indicates that Africans accompanied Coronado in Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier, 29, as does Peter Sterm in his “Gente de color de quebrado: Africans and Afromestizos in Colonial M exico,” Colonial Latin American Historical Review (Spring, 1994), 195.  A free black who participated in the Coronado expedition is also noted by Kessell, Spain in the Southwest, 44.
  • Donald E. Chipman, Spanish Texas, 1519-1821, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992), 36-40; John Francis Bannon, The Spanish Border Lands Frontier, 1513-1821, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974), 23-25; Rex W. Strickland, “Moscoso’s Journey Through Texas,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XLVI (October, 1942), 109-137, and J. W. Williams, “Moscoso’s Trail in Texas,” Ibid., 138-157;
    Stern, “Gente de color quebrado,” 195.
  • Menchaca, Recovering History, Constructing Race, 83-85; Marc Simmons, Juan de Onate and the Settling of the Far Southwest (Norman:  University of Oklahoma Press, 1991), 97; Elizabeth A. H. John, Storms Brewed in Other Men’s Worlds:  The Confrontation of Indians, Spanish, and French in the Southwest, 1540-1795, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981), 30.
  • Richard Estrada, “Sorry Pilgrims, But You Weren’t the First,”  Dallas Morning News, November 28, 1996.
  • Nicholas de Freytas, The Expedition of Don Diego Dionisio de Peñalosa in 1662, Trans. And edited by John Gilmary Shea, (Chicago:  The Rio Grande Press, 1964), 15, 57-58.
  • Robert S. Weddle, Wilderness Manhunt:  The Spanish Search for La Salle (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973), 126-131.  The Mulatto’s disposition was taken on Dec. 15, 1687.
  • Bolton, Spanish Explorations in the Southwest, 371-372.  For the Consolidation of Spanish Rule in Mexico, see Douglas W. Richmond, The Mexican Nation:  Historical Continuity and Modern Change, (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2001), 56-82.
  • Alwyn Barr, Black Texans:  A History of African Americans in Texas, 1528-1995, 2nd ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996), 3.
    Bannon, The Spanish Borderlands Frontier, 102; William C. Foster, Spanish Expeditions into Texas, 1689-1768 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 69-70).
  • Douglas W. Richmond, “The Climax of Conflicts with Native Americans in New Mexico:  Spanish and Mexican Antecedents to U. S. Treaty Making During the U.S.-Mexico War, 1846-1848,”  New Mexico Historical Review, 80:1 (Winter, 2005, 57); Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier, 29; Bannon, The Spanish Borderlands Frontier, 86.
  • Marco Polo Hernández Cuevas, African Mexicans and the Discourse of Modern Nation (New York: University Press of America, 2004), 41-
  • Hernández Cuevas, African Mexicans, 33, 46, 49.
  • For a comparison between the Hispanic period in Texas to the restrictive Texas Republic policies, see Douglas W. Richmond, “Africa’s Initial Encounter with Texas:  The Significance of Afro-Tejanos in Colonial Tejas, 1528-1821,” Bulletin of Latin American Research, 26:2, 2007, 200-221.
  • Mark Busby, The Southwest, (Westport:  Greenwood Press, 2004), 127.
  • With two books, Eugene R. Fingerhut issues a firm criticism of the diffusionist position in Who First Discovered America?  A Critique of Pre-Columbian Voyages (Claremont, Ca: Regina Books, 1984), and Explorers of Pre-Columbian America?  The Diffusionist – Inventionist Controversy (Claremont:  Regina Books, 1994).  A respectful critique of Van Sertima’s thesis is David Kelley, “An Essay on Pre-Columbian Contacts Between the Americas and Other Areas, with Special Reference to the Work of Ivan Van Sertima,” in Vera Lawrence Hyatt and Rex Nettleford, eds.  Race, Discourse, and the Origin of the Americas  (Washington:  The Smithsonian Institution, 1995), 103-122.
  • María Luisa Herrera Cassasús, “Raices Africanas en la población de Tamaulipas,” in Lux Maria Martínez – Montiel, ed. Presencia Africana en México (Mexico City:  Consejo Nacional Para la Cultura y las Artes, 1995), 496-497.  Chipman, Spanish Texas, 166-168.
  • Jesús F. De la Teja, San Antonio de Béxar:  A Community on New Spain’s Northern Frontier (Albuquerque:  University of New Mexico Press, 1995), 18.
  • Menchaca, Recovering History, Constructing Race, 62.
  • Gilberto Miguel Hinojosa, A Borderlands Town in Transition: Laredo, 1755-1870 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983), 14-15.  Stern, Gente de color quebrado, 198-199;  Ben Vinson III, Bearing Arms for His Majesty:  The Free-Colored Militia in Colonial Mexico (Stanford:  Stanford University Press, 2001), 1-6, 14, 27-29, 37, 41, 86, 92, 97, 221-228.
  • Menchaca, Recovering History, Constructing Race, 66; Mark Busby, ed.  The Southwest (Westport:  Greenwood Press, 2004), 127.
  • Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier, 43-44.
  • Monica Rohr, “Rubble Prompts Fight to Save Remnants,”  Dallas Morning News, May 26, 2008.