Barros, João de (zhwouN dĭ bäˈrŏsh) [key], 1496–1570, Portuguese historian. Of noble family, he early entered the service of the prince who became King John III. 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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