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Nicola Santu, the illegitimate son of Don Nicola Sayd and an Ethiopian slave. The surname of Santu comes from Santi, the residence where Don 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.
The Noble Nicola Sayd gave liberty upon his death to one of his slaves and her children, who took the name of "Antonia Santu" upon Baptism. With their freedom, a house in Ghargur was provided and 2 turmi of land in that district.
Antonia was purchased about 1530 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 Soloman 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 Sanctu of Ghargur, Princess of Ethiopia, (1508 - 1568), mistress to Corsair Nicola Sayd of Birgu, Zebbug and of Santi (d. 1536), with issue.
1. Nicola Sanctu (1522 - 1584) of Ghargur, Abitante of Casal Lia, married (1) 1552 Naxxar to Agnese Portelli, (d. 1553), married (2) 1555 Naxxar to Imperia Concetta Alunna d' Giam Piero Sayd and Caterina a North African Slave, with issue.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2. Sandrine England, married NN Darmanin .
Titled, De Jures and Heirs.
Fief of Ghariescem (1638, attributed date of creation
* Titled: John Sant Cassia as the “pro tempore” owner of the Ghariescem estate
* Successor: (see above)
Special Terms: The land should be possessed iure feudi; that it could not be transferred to and divided among the descendants of both sexes of Giacinto Cassia, without the Grand Master’s license, until the total extinction of the descent of Giacinto; and that the holders of it should annually pay into the Tesoro of the Order, fifty Sicilian ounces of general weight, equivalent to 10/.Sc. 4d sterling. Giacinto was to obtain the investiture, take the oath of fealty , and procure the Bulls from the Cancelleria, and all his successors in the fief were to receive the investiture from the Grand Master
Grant of Conte (Sant) (1770 Grant)
* Titled: (as per law of Lombardy (today Italian Law) John Sant Cassia, as the present day seniormost descendant in the male to male line
* Succ: (see above)
Special Terms: Addentes hanc gratiam specialem ut si aliquando stirpem masculinam familiae tuae extingui contingant, comitis titulis ed dignitas ad primogenitum ex ultima foemina generis tui superstite natum vel nasciturum, qui gentis tuae cognomen assumit, ejusque posteros modo antedicto, servatoque simper ordine primogeniali, transeat (All male descendants are styled Conte and females are to style Contessa, though the title can only be enjoyed in the male to male line.