1499 - Niño, Pedro Alonso (c. 1468–c. 1505)
Pedro Alonso Niño was a Spanish explorer known as el Negro. A native of Moguer, Spain, Niño acted as pilot of the Santa María during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus. In 1499 Niño and Christopher Guerra received permission from Bishop Juan Rodríguez De Fonseca to explore the Gulf of Paria. On the island of Margarita they bartered for a considerable quantity of pearls and then made their way to the Cubagua Islands, which they believed to be part of Tierra Firme. There they traded for a substantial amount of pearls and returned to Spain in April 1500, only to be imprisoned for allegedly concealing part of the wealth they had acquired in the New World. Niño was exonerated of all charges, was set free, and gained fame for participating in one of the most lucrative voyages to the New World.