Barros, John

, a Portuguese historian, was born at Viseu in 1496, and brought up at the court of king Emanuel, with the younger branches of the royal family. He made a rapid progress in Greek and Latin learning. The infant Juan, to whom he was attached, in quality of preceptor, having succeeded the king his father in 1521, de Barros had a place in the household of that prince. In 1522 he became governor of St. George de la Mine, on the coast of Guinea in Africa. Three years afterwards, the king having recalled him to court, appointed him treasurer of the Indies: this post inspired him with the thought of writing the history of those countries, and in order to finish it, he retired to Pombal, where he died in 1570, with the reputation of an excellent scholar and a good citizen. De Barros has divided his History of Asia and the Indies into four decads. He published the first under the title “Decadas d‘Asia,” in 1552, the second in 1553, and the third in 1563. The fourth did not appear till 1615, by command of king Philip III. who purchased the manuscript of the heirs ofde Barros. This history is in the Portugueze language. Possevin and the president de Thou speak more favourably of it than la Boulaye-le Goux, who considers it as a very confused mass; but certainly Barros has collected a great many facts that are not to be found elsewhere, and with less love of the hyperbole, and a stricter attachment to truth, he would have deserved a place among the best historians. Several authors have continued his work, and brought it down to the xiiith decad. There is an edition of it, Lisbon, 1736, 3 vols. folio. Alfonso Ulloa translated it into Spanish. Barros also wrote “Chronica do imperador Clarimando,” a species of romance in the style of Amadis, and some treatises on subjects of morality, religion, and education, for the use of the young princes. 2


Moreri. —Dict. Hist. Antonio Bibl. Hisp. where is a list of his minor works.