Dennis Herrick's blog


Africans from early history in the Americas

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 17:47
Dennis Herrick

African involvement in the early history of the Americas and Mexico goes back further than most people realize. An unknown number of Spanish-owned black slaves escaped into America's East Coast wilderness in the early 1500s. Black slaves and free Africans also went with conquistador Juan Ponce de León when he sailed to Florida in 1513 and 1521.
     And then there was Esteban in Florida in 1528, across the Gulf of Mexico and five years in Texas, and later in 1539 in Arizona and New Mexico.

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Sorry, but there's a date error in biography

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 21:10
Dennis Herrick

Although all my notes and early manuscript versions said March 23, somehow the book ended up with an April 7 date on page 161 for Esteban’s departure from Vacapa. He actually left on March 23, 1539. The March 23 date is accurately cited in  "Noteworthy dates" on page xv.
     It was Friar Marcos who left on April 7, as the book states two pages later.
     By the way, all dates in the Spanish chronicles of the 1500s are by the Julian calendar in effect then. To convert from the Julian calendar to today’s Gregorian calendar, 10 days must be added.

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Bust of Esteban now in St. Petersburg, Florida

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 17:05
Dennis Herrick

A bronze bust of Esteban by the late sculptor John Sherrill Houser will be donated soon to the St. Petersburg Museum of History in Florida by author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist James E. MacDougald.
     He is author of the book, The Pánfilo de Narváez Expedition of 1528: Highlights of the Expedition and Determination of the Landing Place, and his research zeroed in on St. Petersburg's Jungle Prada site on Boca Ciega Bay as the place where the first major European expedition entered today's  United States in April 1528.

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Mon, 09/17/2018 - 21:21
Dennis Herrick

Does the Esteban biography disagree with history? Not really. Even though almost every "historical" account states without reservation that Zuni natives killed Esteban in 1539, the biography points out that such a fate was based on only an assumption by Mexican Indians reporting to Friar Marcos.
     Actually, nobody knows for sure what happened
     Future writers of books involving Esteban should note that there is more than one possible outcome for Esteban instead of just declaring that Zunis killed him -- because there is no proof that they did.

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Is that a painting of Esteban on the book's cover?

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 16:51
Dennis Herrick

No painting or image of Esteban during his lifetime exists. Not even much of a description.
     While Esteban certainly would have been bearded while enslaved by Indians in Texas and later traveling across the continent, and perhaps bearded even at other times, this image could be how he appeared while living in Mexico City just before going to Cíbloa. 

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Slavery still today in Mauritania

Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:37
Dennis Herrick

A chapter in Esteban: The African Slave Who Explored America, explores the continuing existence of slavery in the world, whether "de facto" or, as usual, carried out by a society's criminal and/or greedy elements.
     One nation not mentioned in the book but where slavery is still a problem is the northwestern African country of Mauritania, a country dominated by its Arab and Berber majorities just south of the Western Sahara, controlled by Morocco.

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