António Manoel de Vilhena

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António Manoel de Vilhena
AntonioManuelVilhena.jpg
Grand Master of the Order of Saint John
In office
19 June 1722 – 10 December 1736
Monarch King Charles IV
King Charles V
Preceded by Marc'Antonio Zondadari
Succeeded by Ramon Despuig
Personal details
Born 28 May 1663
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 10 December 1736 (1736-12-11) (aged 73)
Malta
Resting place Valletta
Nationality Portuguese
Military service
Allegiance Portugal Kingdom of Portugal
Sovereign Military Order of Malta Order of Saint John

António Manoel de Vilhena (28 May 1663 – 10 December 1736) was the 66th Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta from 19 June 1722 to his death in 1736.

Manoel de Vilhena was a Portuguese aristocrat of royal descent, son of Dom Sancho Manoel de Vilhena, 1st Count de Vila Flor, and first wife Ana de Noronha, and a remote uncle of the Duke of Terceira. Although most Grand Masters of the Order of Saint John were known to keep aloof from the Maltese populace, Vilhena was loved by the Maltese as he strived to better their lot and also set up a number of charitable institutions. To meet the demand for housing and accommodation in Valletta he laid the plans for the building of a suburb in the neighbourhood, Floriana, where his statue still stands today in Pope John XXIII Square. He built Fort Manoel in Marsamxett Creek. In 1731, he built the Manoel Theatre which is believed to be the second oldest theatre in Europe and is still in use today. His tomb in the Knights' Cathedral St John's Co-Cathedral is considered the largest and most sumptuous of all the Grand Masters' tombs.

Vilhena's coat of arms

Motifs from de Vilhena's coat of arms are still used today in the coat of arms of Floriana:

Grano coin of Vilhena

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Marc'Antonio Zondadari
Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller
1722–1736
Succeeded by
Ramon Despuig