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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Francisco A De Icaza, Diccionario, no. 169.1923

Juan Garrido, black in color . . . says that he, of his own free will, became a Christian in Libson, [then] was in Castile for seven years, and crossed to Santo Domingo where he remained an equal length of time. From there he visited other islands, and then went to San Juan de Puerto Rico, where he spent much time, after which he came to New Spain. He was present at the taking of the city of Mexico and in other conquests, and later [went] to the islands with the marquis. He was the first to plant and harvest whest [wheat] in this land, the source of all that there now is, and he brought many vegetable seeds to New Spain. He is married and has three children, and is very poor with nothing to maintain himself.

Francisco de Icaza, Diccionario autobiográfico de conquistadores y pobladores de la Nueva España, 2 vols. (Madrid: Imprenta “El Adelanto de Segovia”, 1923), I, 214.

Creator Francisco A. De Icaza, drawing from The Autobiographical Dictionary of Conquerors and Settlers of the New Spain
Context Spaniards were interested in the lives of the conquistadores.
Audience The general public
Purpose To educate

Historical Significance

Juan Garrido was an African (though perhaps one born in Spain) who came to the Americas in about 1510, probably as a servant or slave. He participated, with other Africans, in the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán in 1521. He lived in Mexico City for many years, where he owned African and Indian slaves and struggled to prosper. He was evidently the first person in the Americas to plant wheat, a European plant that the Spanish preferred to corn. Garrido was one of a small but important group of Africans in early Spanish America.

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