Jan de Witte (bishop)

Jan de Witte O.P. (1475–1540), also Joannes Albus in Latin and Juan de Witte Hoos or Juan de Ubite in some Spanish sources, was a Flemish renaissance humanist and Roman Catholic prelate who served as the first Bishop of Cuba (1518–1525).[1]

Most Reverend

Jan de Witte
Bishop of Santiago de Cuba
ChurchCatholic Church
DioceseDiocese of Santiago de Cuba
In office1518–1525
SuccessorSebastián de Salamanca
Personal details
Born6 August 1475
Died18 September 1540 (age 65)
An anonymous 1473 Triptych of Jan de Witte and Maria Hoose, parents of bishop Jan de Witte, on either site of the Virgin Mary


Jan de Witte was the son of Maria Hoose and the merchant Jan de Witte, lord of Ruddervoorde, who was mayor of Bruges in 1473. The De Witte family traded with Spain and Jan was sent to Valladolid for training, where he ended up being ordained a priest in the Order of Preachers.[2] In 1506 he was called back to Flanders, probably Mechelen, to be the teacher Spanish and Dutch for the children of Philip I of Castile and Joanna of Castile.[3][4]

On 15 May 1514, he was appointed during the papacy of Pope Leo X as Titular Bishop of Selymbria near Constantinople and on 11 February 1517 as Bishop of Baracoa on Cuba.[2] On 28 April 1522, during the papacy of Pope Adrian VI, this diocese was renamed and his title was changed to Bishop of Santiago de Cuba. He served in Santiago de Cuba until his resignation on 4 April 1525.[2] He retired to his native city where he lived in a stately palace later known as Hof van Cuba [vls] ("Cuba's court"). He died there on 18 September 1540[2] In his will he established a chair of literature and a chair of theology, named the "Cuba foundation".[5]


  1. ^ Eubel, Konrad (1923). Hierarchia catholica medii et recentioris aevi. Vol. III (second ed.). Münster: Libreria Regensbergiana. p. 182. (in Latin)
  2. ^ a b c d Cheney, David M. "Bishop Juan de Witte Hoos (Ubite), O.P." Catholic-Hierarchy.org. Retrieved June 16, 2018. [self-published]
  3. ^ Jordanus Piet de Pue, Dominikaanse wetenswaardigheden in West-Vlaanderen, Gent Paters Dominikanen, 1989
  4. ^ Pascale Syfer-d'Olne, Roel Slachmuylders, Anne Dubois, The Flemish Primitives: Masters with provisional names, Brepols, 2006, footnote 26, page 412
  5. ^ Dirk Sacré, Jan Papy, Syntagmatia: Essays on Neo-Latin Literature, Leuven University Press, 2009, page 462.

External links and additional sourcesEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Baracoa
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Bishop of Santiago de Cuba
Succeeded by