Mystery confines Estebanico, black explorer of US Southwest
Feb. 26, 2018
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A black Moroccan slave who explored present-day Texas, New Mexico and Arizona with Spanish conquistadors is credited with being the first person of African descent to enter the American Southwest — but he's all but absent from the states' histories.
No parks, buildings or malls have been named in honor of Estebanico (es-tih-bahn-EH'-coh) like they have for other Spanish conquistadors. Tourism agencies have informational webpages about his past, but there are no tourism sites around his historic journeys.
Historians say Estebanico also is known as Esteban (ES'-tih-bahn) and guided the last of three fellow survivors through Texas and northern Mexico. They say he later led an expedition into Arizona and New Mexico but disappeared at Zuni Pueblo.
University of New Mexico American literary studies professor Finnie Coleman says Estebanico is forgotten because the Southwest region often fails to include the history of black people.