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Negro Slavery in Florida


Negro slavery existed in Florida long before it became American territory and the Negro began to play his part in the drama of Florida history at a very early date. If we are to credit the narrative of Cabeca De-Vaca, as translated by Buckingham Smith, at least two Negroes accompanied the Narvaez expedition to Florida in 1528, though no mention is made as to whether they were slave or free. One of these Negroes was among the few survivors of this ill-fated expedition who finally reached Mexico. A few Negro slaves accompanied the great expedition of Hernando DeSoto when it came to Florida in 1539 and numerous Negro slaves came with DeLuna when he made an unsuccessful attempt to settle on Pensacola bay in 1559. It is stated that many of his soldiers demanded one servant at least. None of these expeditions remained in Florida long, however, and none of them established permanent settlements.