During hematopoietic differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), early hematopoietic progenitors arise along with endothelial cells within the CD34(+) population. Although hESC-derived hematopoietic progenitors have been previously identified by functional assays, their phenotype has not been defined. Here, using hESC differentiation in coculture with OP9 stromal cells, we demonstrate that early progenitors committed to hematopoietic development could be identified by surface expression of leukosialin (CD43). CD43 was detected on all types of emerging clonogenic progenitors before expression of CD45, persisted on differentiating hematopoietic cells, and reliably separated the hematopoietic CD34(+) population from CD34(+)CD43(-)CD31(+)KDR(+) endothelial and CD34(+)CD43(-)CD31(-)KDR(-) mesenchymal cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the first-appearing CD34(+)CD43(+)CD235a(+)CD41a(+/-)CD45(-) cells represent precommitted erythro-megakaryocytic progenitors. Multipotent lymphohematopoietic progenitors were generated later as CD34(+)CD43(+)CD41a(-)CD235a(-)CD45(-) cells. These cells were negative for lineage-specific markers (Lin(-)), expressed KDR, VE-cadherin, and CD105 endothelial proteins, and expressed GATA-2, GATA-3, RUNX1, C-MYB transcription factors that typify initial stages of definitive hematopoiesis originating from endothelial-like precursors. Acquisition of CD45 expression by CD34(+)CD43(+)CD45(-)Lin(-) cells was associated with progressive myeloid commitment and a decrease of B-lymphoid potential. CD34(+)CD43(+)CD45(+)Lin(-) cells were largely devoid of VE-cadherin and KDR expression and had a distinct FLT3(high)GATA3(low)RUNX1(low)PU1(high)MPO(high)IL7RA(high) gene expression profile.