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Estevánico of Azamor was the first recorded Muslim in North American history



The history of Islam in the United States dates back to around the 16th century, when Estevánico of Azamor was the first recorded Muslim in North American history.[1] Even so, most researchers studying the arrival of Muslims in the US have focused more on the arrival of immigrants who came from the Middle East in the late 19th century. This Muslim migration to the US took place in different periods, which are often called "waves", although the experts don't always agree on what causes these waves.[2]

The Muslim population in the US has increased in the last hundred years, largely driven by immigrants. In 2005, more people from Islamic countries became US residents – almost 96,000 – annually than in the previous two decades

Estevánico of Azamor may have been the first recorded Muslim in North American history. Estevanico was a Berber people from North Africa who explored Arizona and New Mexico for the Spanish Empire. Estevanico came to America as a slave to the 16th century Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. During the 1520's slaves were brought to North America from Africa. It is estimated that around 500 thousand souls were sent to this area or 4.4% of the total 11,328,000 slaves in existence.[6] It is estimated that around 50% of the slaves or not less than 200 thousand slaves who were imported came from areas influenced by Islam.

According to other sources, the earliest arrivals of Muslim immigrants were between 1875 and 1912 from the rural areas of what are now Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. This area was formerly known as Greater Syria which was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. After the Ottoman Empire collapsed in World War I (WWI), there was a second wave of Muslim immigration from the Middle East, during which time Western colonialism began in the Middle East. In 1924, the US immigration law was passed, which immediately restricted this second wave of immigration by imposing a “country of origin quota system”. The third period of immigration occurred from 1947 to 1960, when there was an increasing number of Muslims coming to the US, now from countries outside the Middle East.


The first Muslim communities were in the Midwest. In North Dakota, Muslims gathered for congregational prayers in the early 1900s; in Indiana, a center of Islamic activity dating back to 1914; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is home to the oldest mosque still in use today. Daerborn, Michigan, on the outskirts of Detroit, is home to Sunni and Shia Muslims from many Middle Eastern countries. Together with Christians from the Middle East, Michigan Muslims form the largest Arab-American community in the country. Shipyards in Quincy, Massachusetts, outside Boston, provided jobs for Muslim immigrants since the 1800s. In New England, an Islamic Center has also been created, which is now a large mosque complex for worship for business people, teachers, professionals, as well as traders and laborers. in New York,

Another first home for Muslim immigrants was Chicago, Illinois, where some say the number of Muslims living here in the early 1900s was the highest of any city in the US. More than 40 Muslim groups have existed in the Chicago area. Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, have also become centers of the largest Muslim communities in the US. The Islamic Center in Southern California is one of the largest Muslim entities in the US. The number of mosques in California is also the largest in the US, namely around 227 mosques in 2001

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