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Africans arrived in North America more than a century before the Mayflower arrived..The first documented African to arrive was Juan Garrido. He was NOT a slave & he was born in West Africa around 1480..He moved to Portugal as a young man, converted to Christianity ,and then changed his name to Juan Garrido(it means handsome John) He remained in Spain for about seven years and he joined the earliest conquistadors to the New World..He wound up in Hispaniola(which is the island that Haiti & Dominican Republic reside) as part of a Spanish expedition..He was involved in the invasion of Puerto Rico, Cuba & Mexico..After settling in Mexico City, including getting married(& had 3 children) , he continued to serve with Spanish forces for more than 30 years. In 1513, he was part of an expedition to Florida chasing the Fountain of Youth with de Leon..It was upon entering Florida he became the first documented African to arrive in this country. Garrido claims to have been the FIRST to plant and harvest wheat in the New World*

In 1538, Garrido provided testimony on his 30 years of service as a conquistador:

I, Juan Garrido, black in color, resident of this city [Mexico], appear before Your Mercy and state that I am in need of providing evidence to the perpetuity of the king [a perpetuad rey], a report on how I served Your Majesty in the conquest and pacification of this New Spain, from the time when the Marqués del Valle [Cortés] entered it; and in his company I was present at all the invasions and conquests and pacifications which were carried out, always with the said Marqués, all of which I did at my own expense without being given either salary or allotment of natives [repartimiento de indios] or anything else. As I am married and a resident of this city, where I have always lived; and also as I went with the Marqués del Valle to discover the islands which are in that part of the southern sea [the Pacific] where there was much hunger and privation; and also as I went to discover and pacify the islands of San Juan de Buriquén de Puerto Rico; and also as I went on the pacification and conquest of the island of Cuba with the adelantado Diego Velázquez; in all these ways for thirty years have I served and continue to serve Your Majesty–for these reasons stated above do I petition Your Mercy. And also because I was the first to have the inspiration to sow maize here in New Spain and to see if it took; I did this and experimented at my own expense