The four Niño brothers, Pedro Alonso, Francisco, Juan and one other Niño were already sailors with prestige and experience in Atlantic journeys before playing a distinguished part in Columbus's first voyage to the New World. Their friendship with the Pinzón Brothers, and especially with the oldest of them, Martín Alonso Pinzón, influenced their participation in Columbus's project. The participation of the Pinzón Brothers in the Columbian enterprise was the key to overcoming the doubts among the region's sailors; the help of the Niño Brothers made it possible to defeat the opposition among the men of Moguer to taking on an enterprise of uncertain outcome.
On Columbus's first voyage, Pedro Alonso Niño was pilot of the Santa María, Juan Niño was master of La Niña, of which was the owner, and Francisco Niño is believed to have been a sailor on La Niña.
The Niños took part as well in Columbus's second and third voyages. Between 1499 and 1501 they traveled on their own account, with the merchants Cristóbal and Luis Guerra, following the route of Columbus's second voyage to the Gulf of Paria on the South American mainland in what is now Venezuela.
Pedro Alonso Niño
Born in Palos de Moguer, Spain,and of African Descent, he explored the coasts of Africa in his early years. He piloted one of Columbus' ships in the expedition of 1492, and accompanied him during his third voyage that saw the discovery of Trinidad and the mouths of the Orinoco River. After returning to Spain, Niño made preparation to explore the Indies independently, looking for gold and pearls. Empowered by the Council of Castile to seek out new countries, avoiding those already found by Columbus, he committed to give 20% of his profits for the Spanish Crown (see Quinto Real).
In the company of brothers Luis and Cristóbal de la Guerra, respectively a rich merchant and a pilot, he left San Lucas in May 1499, and, after twenty-three days, they arrived at Maracapana. Visiting the islands of Margarita, Coche, and Cubagua, they exchanged objects of little value for a large quantity of pearls before sailing up the coast to Punta Araya, where they discovered salt mines.
After just two months they were back in Bayona, Spain, loaded with wealth, but also accused of cheating the King out of his portion of the spoils. Arrested, and with his property confiscated, Niño died before his trial concluded.
The link for the Washington Post article:
African American Men: Moments in History from Colonial Times to the Present
Colonial Times, 1492-17761492: Among the crew on the Santa Maria during Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas is Pedro Alonzo NiÃ±o, a black man. Africans also accompany Ponce de Leon, Hernando Cortes, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in the early 16th century.
1623: William Tucker, the son of indentured servants living in Jamestown, is the first recorded black birth in America.
1625: A census of Virginia counts 11 black men among a population of 1,227.
1641: Mathias De Sousa, a free black man, is elected to the Maryland General Assembly. He had come to the colony as an indentured servant.
1644: Lucas Santomee, a black physician and one of the major landowners in what is to become New York, is granted a tract by the Dutch that stretched from modern-day Greenwich Village to Brooklyn.
1700: About 60 percent of all African Americans in the colonies (16,390) live in Virginia.
1712: Though other colonies had passed laws regulating the behavior of slaves, South Carolina passes a slave code that becomes the standard for slave-owning states. It proscribes escalating punishments for rebellious acts including death for escaping, authorizes whites to punish any slave found violating the law, and prohibits slaves from growing their own crops, working for money or learning to read and write.
1729: In an early precursor to lynchings, Maryland passes a law that mandates savage punishment for slaves accused of violent crimes: decapitation, hanging, or having a body's remains publicly displayed after being drawn and quartered.
1731: Benjamin Banneker is born to free parents on Nov. 9 in Ellicott Mills, Md.
1760: A poem by Jupiter Hammon, a slave on Long Island, is the first ever published by a black person born in America. His first poem has a Christian theme; a later poem exhorts slaves in New York to serve their masters faithfully.
1770: Crispus Attucks, a slave who had escaped to Boston, is killed during the Boston Massacre. He is considered to be the first casualty of the American Revolution.
1776: Five thousand black men serve in the Army and Navy during the American Revolution. But 20,000 fight for the British, who promise freedom to any slave who joined them. At the end of the war, 12,000 African Americans leave with the British. While some are freed in Europe and Africa, thousands more are sold back into slavery in the West Indies.