Numerous contributions have been made by black leaders around the world for centuries. These great black male leaders left an enormous early impact on Europe, from music to politics.
1. Saint Maurice (3rd Century, C.E.)
Saint Maurice was the leader of the legendary Roman Theban Legion in the 3rd century, and one of the favorite and most widely venerated saints of that group. He was the patron saint of several professions, locales, and kingdoms. He was considered a martyr in present day Switzerland for his conversion to Christianity.
2. Henrique Dias (1605-1662)
Henrique Dias was a soldier and militia leader born in the Portuguese colony of Brazil. He was born to freed slave parents. Dias led freed slaves with distinction against Dutch forces. He also played an important role in the First and Second Battles of Guararapes. For his courage and leadership in battle, the Portuguese king made him a knight of the Order of Christ.
3. John Blanke
John Blanke was a black musician in London in the early 16th century. He was probably brought to England as one of the African attendants of Catherine of Aragon in 1501. He is one of the earliest recorded black people in England after the Roman period.
4. Alessandro De Medici (1510-1537)
Alessandro de’ Medici, called “il Moro,” Duke of Penne, and Duke of Florence, was ruler of Florence from 1530 until 1537. Though considered to be illegitimate, he was the last member of the “senior” branch of the Medici to rule Florence, and the first to be a hereditary duke.
5. Abram Petrovich Hannibal
Abram Petrovich Hannibal was brought as a black servant to Czar Peter I, also known as Peter the Great. He was raised in the Emperor’s household and eventually became a prominent Afro-Russian nobleman, military engineer and general.