When did the first African explorers arrive in North America?

Although no one knows for sure when the first Africans came to what is now the continental United States, there is solid evidence of some early black explorers in the area.

One of Christopher Columbus’ companions on his voyage in 1492 was Pedro Alonzo Nino, a man who appears to have been of African descent. Another African man named Estevanico accompanied the Spanish explorers Panfilo de Narvaez and Alvar Nunez de Vaca in explorations through what is now Arizona and New Mexico during the 1500s.

Many other European explorers, including Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Francisco Pizarro, and Hernan Cortes, counted blacks among their companions during their adventures.