Jo%C3%A3o De Sa Panasco
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Jo%C3%A3o De S%C3%A1 Panasco
Detail of a painting (c. 1570-80) of the King's Fountain, in Lisbon, showing a black Knight of the Order of Saint James, traditionally identified as João de Sá.

João de Sá (fl. 1524-1567), known as Panasco (a nickname that meant rudeness as revealed by clothes or manners), was a black African in the employ of King John III of Portugal, who was eventually elevated from court jester to gentleman courtier of the Royal Household.

Celebrated as a very spirited man, he began his career as a court jester, entertaining both the King and Queen Catherine with witty jokes and parodies.[1] Even though he enjoyed the King's protection, João de Sá received constant racist abuse. His "inferior condition", undoubtedly a result of his initial condition as a slave, was frequently brought up by other courtiers.[2] He could do, however, what was not allowed to anyone else: mock the nobility with impunity. His status as simultaneously an outsider and insider made him an invaluable informer to the King.[2]

In 1535, he accompanied the King's brother, Infante Luís, Duke of Beja, to northern Africa, where he was part of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's military campaign to conquer Tunis from the Ottomans. The important victory over the Turks made the King of Portugal award João de Sá exceptional honours: he was eventually admitted to the prestigious Order of Saint James.[3][4]


  1. ^ Earle, Thomas Foster; Lowe, K.J.P. (2005). "Chapter 7 - Images of Empire: slaves in the Lisbon household and court of Catherine of Austria". Black Africans in Renaissance Europe. Cambridge University Press. pp. 159-161. ISBN 9780521815826.
  2. ^ a b Bethencourt, Francisco (2014). Racisms: From the Crusades to the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press. pp. 90-91. ISBN 9781400848416.
  3. ^ Goodwin, Stefan (1955). Africa in Europe: Antiquity into the Age of Global Exploration. Lexington Books. p. 167. ISBN 9780739129944.
  4. ^ Dutra, Francis A. (2011). "Ser mulato em Portugal nos primórdios da época moderna". Tempo. 16 (30): 101-114. doi:10.1590/S1413-77042011000100005. ISSN 1413-7704.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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