Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Printed at Granada in 1573, with the title page shown right, this is one of the earlier books known to have been the work of a black author.

The man referred to as “El negro Juan Latino” in Cervantes’ Don Quixote was a distinguished poet and scholar who was born in Guinea but captured by Spanish traders and sold into the family of Gonzalo de Cordova.

Recognising his natural aptitude for learning, his master had him educated at the cathedral school and later at the University of Granada, from which he graduated in 1556, at the age of 40. In 1565, by which time he had changed his name from Juan de Sessa to Juan Latino, he was awarded the university’s highest honour, being appointed to the Chair of Grammar.