Antonia Sanctu of Ghargur “Sives Princess of Ethiopia”, 

Daughter of Emperor Na’od of Ethiopia (r 1494 – 1508),

Mistress to Corsair Nicola Sayd.


Nicola Sanctu, the illegitimate son of Don Nicola Sayd and an Ethiopian slave. The surname of Santu comes from Santi, the residence where Nicola Sayd had resided amongst other places. Nicola Santu was granted freedom along with his mother and siblings, and later became an Arbitant in Casal Lia and resided in Ghargur, Malta. The founder of the Name-sake Sant and the ancestor of the Counts Sant and Fournier and ancestor of much of the nobility in Malta. References: Notary Vincenzo Cagega, 29th of December 1536.”Manumission of slave“: 
The Noble Nicola Sayd gave liberty upon his death to one of his slaves and her children, who took the name of “Antonia Sanctu” upon Baptism. With their freedom, a house in Ghargur was provided and 2 turmi of land in that district.
Antonia was purchased about 1518/20 amongst other slaves of Ethiopian abstract. 

It was quite common for this period when slavery was released to either take their master’s surname, a sponsor, or the town where one spent. Thus the surname of Sant (Sanctu, Santu) had come from. 
Interesting enough, most Maltese today can locate either a Slave, or an illegitimate ancestor. This is yet another one of those where a family worked its way to the riches of Nobility. 
Hopefully in the near future, a profile of Antonia Sanctu will be provided. So far, I only know that she was of Ethiopian descent. Perhaps even of Imperial blood. One will never know exactly, as the Imperial House of Solomon in Ethiopia was quite unstable at the beginning of the 16th century and many branches had usurped for the throne and or were taken into slavery or murdered.

Antonia a slave import to Malta was a high price due to her blood connections to the Emperor of Ethiopia. One can assume she must have been a daughter, grand daughter, niece, or a not so-distance relative of the Emperor of Ethiopia. Though location of her  connection is very much impossible, though an assumption can place her as a member of the Imperial House of Solomon of Ethiopia. At the time, a lot of Ethiopians were being traded in the Mediterranean Sea and Malta was no acceptations. Most highly connected slaves fetched high prices, depending on who captured what, as the highly prized slaves went to those such as Vice royals, nobility and very rich land owners. We can show how a lot of the Sant descendants carry resembles of this connection with either very tanned skin or very curly hair or both from the Africana links of Ethiopia and Africa. 

We believe she was born around 1506 and taken into slavery during her brother’s Davit II reign into slavery and bought by North African slave traders and sold in Malta to Don Nicola Sayd around 1518 -1520 and received her freedom in 1530, dying in Ghargur in 1568, buried in the local church tomb of Ghargur in Malta. Her five children born between 1522 and 1527 were looked after by the Sayd family including dowries for marriages and establishment of an income for the whole family. Antonia never sought to return to Ethiopia never finding out her blood relatives, though her brother, Emperor Davit II dying in 1540 and succeeded peacefully by his sons.

After Nicola Sayd’s death, Antonia remain unattached and a loyal servant to the local Church and to her family. This was one condition that if she were to marry, she and her family would lose their income from the Sayd family. Paid till the death of Antonia in 1568 which by that stage, the family were self supported and independant and free in Society. Even though Antonia was once a Princess, her status in Malta was always based on being a slave then a free-slave.

Her descendants are those of the Sant family and most of the nobility connected to the Count Sant family. Her most direct descendants are of course are the Sant-Cassia’s.

Reference: Some evidence of Ethiopian Slavery noted and documented in the period of Antonia Sanctu; – Slavery in the Islands of Malta and Gozo ca. 1000-1812, by Godfrey Wettinger, pages 11-17; 43-44.

The Royal Family of Ethiopia – “a basic tree but not complete”. Descendants of Solomon, King of Israel and Makeda, Queen of Sheba.

1.Yekuno Amiar, 1st Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia (r. 1270-1314), with issue.
1.1. Yagbel’u Seyon, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1285-1294), with issue.
1.1.1. Senfra Ared IV, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1294-1295).
1.1.2. Hesba Asgad, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1295-1296).
1.1.3. Qedma Asgad, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1296-1297).
1.1.4. Jin Asgad, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1297-1298).
1.1.5. Saba Asgad, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1298 – 1299).
1.2. Wedem Arad, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1299 -1314), married with issue.
1.2.1. Amda Seyon I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1314-1344), married with issue. Newaya Krestos, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1344-1372), married with issue. Newaya Maryam, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1372 -1382). Davit I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1382-1413), married Igzi Kebra, with issue. Tewodros I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1413 – 1414). Yeshaq I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1414 -1429)., married with issue. Andreyas, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1429 -1430). Takla Maryam, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1430 – 1433)., married with issue. Sarwe Iyasus, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1433 -). Amda Iyasus, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1433 -34). Zara Yagob, Emperor of Ethiopia, (Born 1399), (r. 1434-1468), married Seyon Morgasa, with issue. Baeda Maryamm, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1468-1478), married (1) Romna, married (2) Kalyupe, with issue. (First Marriage) Eskender, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1478 – 1494), married with issue. Amda Seyon II, Emperor of Ethiopia, (born 1487 -), (r. 1494 -), dunm. (Second Marriage) Na’Od, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1494-1508), married to Woisero Atilegeb, with issue. Davit II, Emperor of Ethiopia, (born 1501 -), (r. 1507-1540), married Wanag Mogassa, with issue. Prince Fiqtor Lebna Dengal of Ethiopia. Gelawdewos, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r, 1540 – 1559) Prince Yakob of Ethiopia., married with issue. Prince Fasilidas of Ethiopia, married with issue. Susenyos I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (1606 -1632), married with issue. Fasilides, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1632 -1667), married with issue. Yohannes I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1667 -1682), married with issue. Iyasu I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1682 -1706), married with issue. Tekle Haymanot I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1706 – 1708). Bakaffa, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1721 – 1730), married with issue. Iyasu II, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1730 -1755)., married with issue. Iyoas I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1755-1769). Hezqeuas, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1789 -1794)., married with issue. Egwale Seyon, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1801 – 1818). Iyoas II, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1818 -1821). Prince Atsequ of Ethiopia, married with issue. Iyasu III, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1784 – 1788). Prince Adigo of Ethiopia, married with issue. Salomon II, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 177-1779), married with issue. Beada Maryam II, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1795 -). Susenyos II, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1770 -). Gigar, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1821 – 1826; 1826 – 1830). Dawit III, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1716 – 1721). Yohannes II, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1769 -)., married with issue. Tekle Haymanot II, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1769 -1770; 1770 -1777)., married with issue. Salomon III, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1796 -1797; 1799)., married with issue. Iyasu IV, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1830 -1832). Tekle Giyorgis I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (1779 -1784; 1788-1789; 1794-1795; 1795-1796; 1798 -1799; 1800)., married with issue. Yohannes III, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1840-1841; 1845; 1850 -1851). Prince Segwa Qal, married with issue. Warada Qai, married with issue. Lebsa Qai, married with issue. Negasi Krestos, Ruler of Shewa, married with issue. Sebestyanos, Ruler of Shewa, married with issue. Qedami Qai, Ruker of Shewa, married with issue. Amha Iyasus, Ruler of Shewa, married with issue. Asfa Wossen, Ruler of Shewa, married with issue. Sahle Selassie, Ruler of Shewa, married with issue. Haile Melekot, Ruler of Shewa, married with issue. Menelik II, Ruler of Shewa, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1889 – 1913), married to Woizero Altash, Princess of Ethiopia., with issue. (From other wife) Zewditu, Empress of Ethiopia, (r. 1916 -1930), married to Araya Selassie, King of Tigray. Princess Shoagard of Ethiopia, married with issue. Iyasu V, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1913 – 1916). Princess Tenagnework of Shewa, with issue. Ras Makonnen, Governor of Harar, married with issue. Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1930 -1974), married with issue. Prince Asfaw Wossen, Crown Prince of Ethiopia( r. 1974 -1997), married with issue. Zera Yacob, (1953 -), Crown Prince of Ethiopia, (r. 1997 -.. Menas., Emperor of Ethiopia., (r. 1559 – 1563), married to Admas Mogasa, with issue. Sarsa Dengel, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1563 – 1597), married to Maryam Sena, with issue. Yaqob I, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1597 – 1603 – 1604-1606), married to Nazarena, with issue. Prince Cosmas of Ethiopia. Prince Saga Krestos of Ethiopia, (d. 1638) buried at Rueil-Malmaison Prince Lesana Krestos of Ethiopia, married with issue. Za Dengel, Emperor of Ethiopia, (r. 1603 -1604), married to Princess Woizero Wangelawit of Ethiopia. Princess Walatta Hanna of Ethiopia. Princess Amata Giyorgis of Ethiopia. Princess Tewdada of Ethiopia. Princess Sabla Wangel of Ethiopia. Princess (Unknown original name) Antonia Helena of Ethiopia, (1506 -), Captured and taken into slavery by the Muslins – See Above. Princess Waletta Qalamsis of Ethiopia, (d. 1526). Princess Romana Qorq of Ethiopia, married to Ras Dagelhan, Governor of Bali. Princess Amata Dengal of Ethiopia, married with issue. Princess Amata Waten of Ethiopia, married. Princess Amata Mikael, married with issue. Princess Waletta Samu’el of Ethiopua, married with issue.