Barros, João de

Barros, João de

(zhwouN dĭ bä`ro͝osh), 1496–1570, Portuguese historian. Of noble family, he early entered the service of the prince who became King John IIIJohn III
(John the Fortunate), 1502–57, king of Portugal (1521–57), son of Manuel I. His reign saw the Portuguese empire at its apogee. The great Asian possessions were extended by further conquest, and systematic colonization of Brazil was begun.
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. The most important office he held (1533–67) was that of factor, or crown administrator, for Guinea and the Indies. His position gave him access to the documents of the Portuguese Empire in Asia and Africa and to the military and colonial officials that staffed it; he used this knowledge to produce his brilliantly written Décadas da Ásia (4 vol., 1552–53, 1563, 1615), a stirring narrative of the building of the Portuguese Empire.
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