Crossing the Continent, 1527-1540

Crossing the Continent, 1527-1540

The Story of the First African-American Explorer of the American South

Book - 2008
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Baker & Taylor
Documents the sixteenth-century crossing of North America by a trio of Spanish noblemen and a pioneering former African slave who endured such challenges as a shipwreck, famine, disease, and Native American attacks.

HARPERCOLL

The true story of America's first great explorer and adventurer—an African slave named Esteban Dorantes

Crossing the Continent takes us on an epic journey from Africa to Europe and America as Dr. Robert Goodwin chronicles the incredible adventures of the African slave Esteban Dorantes (1500-1539), the first pioneer from the Old World to explore the entirety of the American south and the first African-born man to die in North America about whom anything is known. Goodwin's groundbreaking research in Spanish archives has led to a radical new interpretation of American history—one in which an African slave emerges as the nation's first great explorer and adventurer.

Nearly three centuries before Lewis and Clark's epic trek to the Pacific coast, Esteban and three Spanish noblemen survived shipwreck, famine, disease, and Native American hostility to make the first crossing of North America in recorded history. Drawing on contemporary accounts and long-lost records, Goodwin recounts the extraordinary story of Esteban's sixteenth-century odyssey, which began in Florida and wound through what is now Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, as far as the Gulf of California. Born in Africa and captured at a young age by slave traders, Esteban was serving his owner, a Spanish captain, when their disastrous sea voyage to the New World nearly claimed his life. Eventually he emerged as the leader of the few survivors of this expedition, guiding them on an extraordinary eight-year march westward to safety.

On the group's return to the Spanish imperial capital at Mexico City, the viceroy appointed Esteban as the military commander of a religious expedition sent to establish a permanent Spanish route into Arizona and New Mexico. But during this new adventure, as Esteban pushed deeper and deeper into the unknown north, Spaniards far to the south began to hear strange rumors of his death at Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico.

Filled with tales of physical endurance, natural calamities, geographical wonders, strange discoveries, and Esteban's almost mystical dealings with Native Americans, Crossing the Continent challenges the traditional telling of our nation's early history, placing an African and his relationship with the Indians he encountered at the heart of a new historical record.


The true story of America's first great explorer and adventurer?an African slave named Esteban Dorantes

Crossing the Continent takes us on an epic journey from Africa to Europe and America as Dr. Robert Goodwin chronicles the incredible adventures of the African slave Esteban Dorantes (1500-1539), the first pioneer from the Old World to explore the entirety of the American south and the first African-born man to die in North America about whom anything is known. Goodwin's groundbreaking research in Spanish archives has led to a radical new interpretation of American history?one in which an African slave emerges as the nation's first great explorer and adventurer.

Nearly three centuries before Lewis and Clark's epic trek to the Pacific coast, Esteban and three Spanish noblemen survived shipwreck, famine, disease, and Native American hostility to make the first crossing of North America in recorded history. Drawing on contemporary accounts and long-lost records, Goodwin recounts the extraordinary story of Esteban's sixteenth-century odyssey, which began in Florida and wound through what is now Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, as far as the Gulf of California. Born in Africa and captured at a young age by slave traders, Esteban was serving his owner, a Spanish captain, when their disastrous sea voyage to the New World nearly claimed his life. Eventually he emerged as the leader of the few survivors of this expedition, guiding them on an extraordinary eight-year march westward to safety.

On the group's return to the Spanish imperial capital at Mexico City, the viceroy appointed Esteban as the military commander of a religious expedition sent to establish a permanent Spanish route into Arizona and New Mexico. But during this new adventure, as Esteban pushed deeper and deeper into the unknown north, Spaniards far to the south began to hear strange rumors of his death at Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico.

Filled with tales of physical endurance, natural calamities, geographical wonders, strange discoveries, and Esteban's almost mystical dealings with Native Americans, Crossing the Continent challenges the traditional telling of our nation's early history, placing an African and his relationship with the Indians he encountered at the heart of a new historical record.


A triumph of historical detective work,Crossing the Continent is the remarkable, never-before-told story of the first black explorer and adventurer in America, Esteban Dorantes. An African slave, Dorantes led an eight-year journey from Florida to California in the early sixteenth century—three hundred years before Lewis and Clark ventured west. An extraordinary true-life saga of courage, trials, and discovery that thePhiladelphia Inquirer calls, “an adventure story more thrilling than Defoe or Melville could have imagined,”Crossing the Continent breaks new ground as it challenges the traditional view of American history.

Book News
A Spanish army of 300 landed in Florida at Easter in 1828 in search of legendary golden cities. Eight years later, four survivors arrived in Mexico with a tale to tell. Goodwin (U. College London) follows the story of the African-born slave Estaban, who became central to the survival of his companions, and was appointed by the viceroy in Mexico as the de facto military commander of the first Spanish expedition into what is now Arizona and New Mexico, still searching for those cities of gold. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Documents the sixteenth-century crossing of North America by a trio of Spanish noblemen and a pioneering former African slave who endured such challenges as a shipwreck, famine, disease, and Native American attacks. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
Documents the sixteenth-century crossing of North America by a trio of Spanish noblemen and a pioneering former African slave who endured such challenges as a shipwreck, famine, disease, and Native American attacks. 35,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Harper, [2008]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9780061705298
0061705292
9780061140457
0061140457
9780061140440
0061140449
Branch Call Number: BIO Estevan 2008
Characteristics: xviii, 414 pages : illustrations, coat of arms, maps ; 24 cm

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Yavin
Feb 02, 2018

Crossing the Continent is a surprisingly enjoyable read. The author takes history as presented in old Spanish documents and reports and strings together a narrative that is interesting and fairly easy to read. I didn't find it at all dry like most history books tend to be.

The book tells the story of the four survivors of an ill-fated mission to Florida (that is, the Gulf Coast) in 1527 and how they ended up exploring Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and parts of Northern Mexico before managing to make their way back to civilization in 1536. While this journey is interesting on its own, the four survivors consist of three Spaniards and a black African slave, and the slave, Estaban is who leads the Spaniards through the wilderness and Indian lands. Finally, after their return to civilization, Estaban is recruited to help lead a mission to find Cibola and the seven cities of gold rumored to exist in Arizona.

This is really Estaban's story. The author attempts to give an account of his origins and his eventual fate. And while Estaban is the primary focus, that doesn't keep the author from heavily describing the culture and surrounding history of the places and times we visit. Intermixed through are accounts of the author's search for information and commentary on his sources. Everything said, this is an excellent book for those interested in the Spanish conquest of the New World as well as those interested in exploration. A must-read in my opinion and though it is a bit long, you definitely won't be bored.

m
Meconopsis
Dec 13, 2009

Interesting book. It opens up a whole new perspective on the discovery of America and provides details of the Spanish in America that I was totally unfamiliar with. The level of mistreatment of the natives was beyond what I thought had occurred. I suppose it is primarily a result of my lack of exposure to this period of history in America. A book worth reading.

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