History > Muslim Immigration > Estevanico

An artist’s rendering of Estevanico.

 

Estevanico, also known as Stephen the Moor, reached Florida in 1528 after being sold into slavery in Morocco and traveling to Central America with his Spanish master. As a member of Pánfilo de Narváez’s failed attempt to colonize Florida and the Gulf Coast, Estevanico became the first known person from Africa to set foot in the continental United States. Estevanico is thought to have explored west as far as Arizona, meeting many Native American tribes across the country, with whom he was able to soon communicate given his talent for languages. Though he nominally converted to Catholicism to appease his Spanish masters, scholars believe that Estevanico remained a practicing Muslim throughout his life as a slave.

 

Read more about: The history of Estevanico