Alessandro de’ Medici was a complex and influential figure in European history who questioned established notions of power and identity. As Europe’s first Black head of state, his story is rich and full of fascinating details.
Here are 10 things you might not have known about the “Black Prince of Florence.”
Alessandro was likely Europe’s first Black head of state
He was the first person of color to hold such a high position of power in Europe when he became the first Duke of Florence in 1532, at the age of 19. Alessandro’s ascension to the top of the social ladder was truly groundbreaking at a time when European societies were highly stratified and segregated.
He was the son of a pope
While his father was publicly acknowledged to be Lorenzo de’ Medici II, most historians believe Lorenzo’s cousin Giulio, who later became Pope Clement VII, was his true father. This means that Alessandro was not only Europe’s first Black head of state, but also the son of one of the Catholic Church’s most powerful men.