1570  — 1606

Huang Mingsha

Francesco Martines

Chinese Jesuit lay brother and martyr.

Martines is the Italian name of Huang Mingsha; in some records he is also known as Francisco Martinez (Spanish) or Martins (Portuguese). Born in Macao, Martines joined Matteo Ricci in Shaochow (Shaoguan) in 1589 as a brother candidate, and two years later, he and Sebastian Fernandez (Zhong Mingren) became the first two Chinese to enter the Society of Jesus. He served as a language instructor for Western missionaries and as catechist. In 1606 Martines was denounced to the Chinese authorities by an apostate Christian for being part of a supposed Jesuit-led foreign conspiracy to invade and conquer China. He died in a Canton (Guangzhou) jail after several days of brutal torture.


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


  • Joseph Dehergne, Repertoire des Jesuites de Chine (1973), p.167; George H. Dunne, Generation of Giants (1962), pp. 31,119; Pasquale M. d’Elia, ed., Fonti Ricciane: Storia dell’introduzione del Cristianesimo in Cina (1942-1949), 1: 289-293, 2: 374-379; Jonathan Spence, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci (1976), pp. 49-51; Nicolas Trigault, China in the Sixteenth century: The Journals of Matthew Ricci, 1583-1610, Louis J. Gallagher, tr. (1953), pp. 467, 485-490.

About the Author

Jean-Paul Wiest

Center for Missions Research and Study at Maryknoll, Maryknoll, New York, USA