Wednesday, December 26, 2007
ESTEVANICO Estevanico ("Little Stephen") was a black Moorish slave who is credited with the "discovery" of the territory now comprising the states of Arizona and New Mexico. He accompanied a Spanish expedition which landed in Tampa Bay in 1528 and which, after a series of misfortunes, ultimately reached the shores of Texas. Enslaved for a time by hostile Indians in eastern Texas, Estevanico and the three surviving members of the Spanish expedition managed to escape into Mexico in 1536. In Mexico, Estevanico was chosen to be an advance scout for Friar Marcos' expedition into the American southwest in search of the legendary seven golden cities of Cibola. It was in this capacity that Estevanico, far in advance of the expedition, discovered Cibola (now Zimi, New Mexico). Transmitting his discovery back to the expedition via friendly Indians, Estevanico proceeded onward but was soon captured and killed by hostile Zuni Indians. Nevertheless, his discovery laid the groundwork for subsequent Spanish expeditions into the American southwest, including that of Coronado.