Alessandro de’ Medici: Black Duke Of Florence

The African Ancestry Of Alessandro de’ Medici

The story of the African Ancestry Of Alessandro de’ Medici, the Black Duke Of Florence is evidence of the early African Presence in Medieval Europe.

Born in the Italian city of Urbino in 1510,  the argument that Alessandro de’ Medici was Black is based on the fact that his mother was a freed Black African Slave called Simonetta.

Alessandro de’ Medici was acknowledged as the only son of Lorenzo II de’ Medici and at age 19, Alessandro de’ Medici was chosen by Clement VII in order to restore the dominance of the Medici family in Florence when Alessandro was made Duke of Florence.

However, in 1537 Alessandro de’ Medici was assassinated in a Plot led by his own Cousin Lorenzino de’ Medici allegedly because Alessandro de’ Medici ruled like a Tyrant.

The Black African Ancestry Of Alessandro de’ Medici

One of the reasons it has been suggested that Alessandro de’ Medici was Black is because during his reign,  Alessandro de’ Medici was frequently referred to as “the Moor”.

Moors were the Muslims from North Africa and Spain, and the Moors were part of the established Ethnic social fabric of 16th Century Europe.

As a result of this Moorish African presence in Medieval Europe, Black Christian Saints like St. Maurice were even celebrated in Europe.

The question of Allesandro’s Black race was largely ignored up until the 19th and early 20th centuries when Alessandro de’ Medici’s African Ancestry became more widely discussed and acknowledged. 

In the final analysis, Alessandro de’ Mici’s African Ancestry challenges the conventional perception of the European Renaissance by demonstrating that White Men were not the only agents of the European  Renaissance.

Survived by two children, Alessandro de’ Mici’s story is perhaps also another reminder of the evidence we have avaliable for the early African presence in Medieval Europe.