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JUAN GARRIDO (C1480–C1550)From his birthplace in the West African Kingdom of Kongo (in modern-day DR of Congo and Angola), Juan Garrido traveled to Portugal and Seville in his youth, converted to Catholicism, took a Spanish name (meaning ‘Handsome John’) and joined an expedition to the Americas.

As a conquistador he saw action in the 1508 invasion of Puerto Rico and then in Cuba in 1510, and later joined Hernán Cortés’ forces in Mexico, where he participated in the siege of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. Garrido eventually married and started a family and a farm in Mexico City, where he’s credited with being the first person to sow wheat in the New World.….

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