We think of Africans as having first touched ground in the New World during the Slave Trade, but it turns out they may have been here way before that. According to DNA testing by a Danish molecular anthropologist, Hannes Schroeder of the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for GeoGenetics. He studied samples of thigh bones and teeth from 10 remains at La Isabela in the Dominican Republic, where Columbus landed in 1494. On two of the remains Schroeder detected mitochondrial-DNA segments which are frequently found in sub-Saharan Africa. Whether these Africans were slaves of the Spanish or free is not known. However, since the slave trade was well on its way, it’s a great possibility they were in fact slaves.
Reference: American History Magazine Feb 2011 issue