Rulers of India: Albuquerque
by Henry Morse Stephens
1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse





[All rights reserved]

[Frontispiece: Portrait signed Afonso de Albuquerque]








Affonso de Albuquerque was the first European since Alexander the Great who dreamed of establishing an empire in India, or rather in Asia, governed from Europe. The period in which he fought and ruled in the East is one of entrancing interest and great historical importance, and deserves more attention than it has received from the English people, as the present ruling race in India. Dr. A. C. Burnell, an authority second to none in Indian historical questions, says in his prefatory note to A Tentative List of Books and some MSS. relating to the History of the Portuguese in India Proper: 'In the course of twenty years' studies relating to India, I found that the history of the Portuguese had been shamefully neglected.... In attempting to get better information, I found that the true history of the Portuguese in India furnishes most important guidance for the present day, and the assertions commonly made about it are utterly false, especially in regard to the ecclesiastical history.' I purpose, therefore, to give a short list of the more important works on the history of the Portuguese in the East during the sixteenth century, while they were a conquering and a ruling power, in the hope that it may be useful to any one wishing to investigate the subject further than it has been possible for me to do in this volume. I confine myself to the sixteenth century and to books on political history, as I have not the knowledge to classify the numerous works on the history of the Roman Catholic Missions in India, which is closely bound up with the ecclesiastical history of the Portuguese in the East.

Before mentioning books of general history, I must draw attention to the Commentaries of Albuquerque on which this volume is chiefly based, as indeed all biographies of the great governor must necessarily be. They were published by his son, Braz de Albuquerque, in 1557, reprinted by him in 1576, and republished in four volumes in 1774. They have been translated into English for the Hakluyt Society by Walter de Gray Birch in four volumes, 1875-1884, and from this translation the quotations in the present volume are taken. The nature and the authority of this most valuable and interesting work are best shown by quoting the first sentence of the compiler's dedication of the second edition to the King of Portugal, Dom Sebastian. 'In the lifetime of the King, Dom Joao III, your grandfather, I dedicated to Your Highness these Commentaries, which I have collected from the actual originals written by the great Affonso de Albuquerque in the midst of his adventures to the King, Dom Manoel, your great-grandfather.' The Commentaries have been for three centuries the one incontestable printed authority for Albuquerque's career. But in 1884 was published the first volume of the Cartas de Affonso de Albuquerque, seguidas de Documentos que as elucidam, under the direction of the Academia Real das Sciencias de Lisboa, and edited by Raymundo Antonio de Bulhao Pato. This collection includes a large number of despatches to the King, dated February, 1508; October, 1510; April, 1512; August to December, 1512; November, 1513, to January, 1514; October to December, 1514; and September to December, 1515; of which two, dated 1 April, 1512, and 4 December, 1513, are of great importance, and veritable manifestoes of policy. It contains also a more correct version of Albuquerque's last letter to the King than that given in the Commentaries. It is to be hoped that the many and serious lacunae, shown by the above dates, will be filled in the long-expected second volume of the Cartas.

Turning to the more general authorities on the history of the Portuguese in India in the sixteenth century, it will be well to take them in a rough classification of their importance and authenticity.

Joao de Barros (1496-1570), for many years treasurer and factor at the India House at Lisbon, published Asia: dos Feitos que os Portuguezes fizeram no Descobrimento e Conquista dos Mares e Terras do Oriente. This work is a primary authority, as the writer had access to all documents, and was the recognised historian of the events he described during his lifetime. It is written in imitation of Livy, and is divided into Decades. The first Decade was published in 1552, the second in 1555, the third in 1563, and the fourth after his death in 1615, and it carries the history down to 1539. The best edition is that in nine volumes, Lisbon, 1777-78. A German translation by Dietrich Wilhelm Soltau was published in five volumes at Brunswick, 1821, and it has been largely borrowed from by succeeding writers.

Diogo do Couto (1542-1616) was long employed in India, and had access to documents. He continued the work of Barros in the same style. His first Decade overlaps Barros, and his history goes from 1526 to 1600. The best edition is that published as a continuation of Barros, in fifteen volumes, Lisbon, 1778-1787.

Gaspar Correa (died at Goa between 1561 and 1583) went to India in 1514 and was Secretary to Albuquerque. His Lendas da India treat the history of the Portuguese from 1497 to 1549, and was published for the first time at Lisbon, four volumes, 1858-64. His chronology throughout differs much from Barros, and a critical comparison between them is much needed. A portion of this work has been translated by Lord Stanley of Alderley, for the Hakluyt Society, under the title of The Three Voyages of Vasco da Gama, and his Viceroyalty, 1869.

Fernao Lopes de Castanheda (died 1559) travelled much in India. He published his Historia do Descobrimento e Conquista da India pelos Portuguezes, which covers from 1497 to 1549, in 1551-1561, and is therefore anterior to Barros in date of publication.

Damiao de Goes (died 1573), Commentarius Rerum gestarum in India citra Gangem a Lusitanis, Louvain, 1539, is a small but early work.

These are primary authorities, but the following chronicles also contain some useful information:

Damiao de Goes (died 1573), Chronica do felicissimo Rey Dom Manoel, Lisbon, 1566, 1567.

Jeronymo Osorio (died 1580), De Rebus Emmanuelis Regis, Lisbon, 1571.

The historians of subsequent centuries simply use, with more or less judgment, the materials provided for them by the historians mentioned above for the sixteenth century, and with one exception are of no value. The one exception is:

Manoel de Faria e Sousa, who in his Asia Portugueza, three volumes, Lisbon, 1666-75, made use of good MS. materials.

The purely secondary historians, who in spite of their reputation are better left unread, are: Giovanni Pietro Maffei, Historiarum Indicarum Libri XVI, Florence, 1588; Antonio de San Roman, Historia General de la India Oriental, Valladolid, 1603; Joseph Francois Lafitau, Histoire des Decouvertes et des Conquetes des Portugais dans le Nouveau Monde, Paris, 1733.

Os Portuguezes em Africa, Asia, America e Oceania, published in Lisbon in 1849, is a lively summary of the best authorities.

In modern times the scientific historical spirit has developed greatly in Portugal, under the influence of the great historian Alexandre Herculano de Carvalho e Araujo, and the publication of documents has taken the place of the publication of historical summaries. Among these ranks first the Colleccao de Monumentos ineditos para a Historia das Conquistas dos Portuguezes em Africa, Asia e America, a series of which any nation might be proud, and of which the Cartas de Albuquerque already described forms a part. It is published under the superintendence of the Academia Real das Sciencias of Lisbon, which also brought out, in 1868, Subsidios para a Historia da India Portugueza, containing three valuable early documents, edited by Rodrigo Jose de Lima Felner. Intelligent and thoroughly scientific articles have also appeared in the Portuguese periodicals, especially in the Annaes Maritimos in 1840-44, and in the Annaes das Sciencias e Letteras, in which was published Senhor Lopes de Mendonca's article on Dom Francisco de Almeida. Mention should also be made of two books published in India, Contributions to the Study of Indo-Portuguese Numismatics, by J. Gerson da Cunha, Bombay, 1880, an interesting pamphlet on a fascinating subject, and An Historical and Archaeological Sketch of the City of Goa, by Jose Nicolau da Fonseca, Bombay, 1878, a most carefully compiled volume.

In conclusion I must express my gratitude to the editor of the series for much kindly advice and assistance, to Mr. E. J. Wade of the India Office Library, who has been my ever ready helper, and to Mr. T. Fisher Unwin for giving the plate of the portrait of Albuquerque, which appears as a frontispiece.



The names of Viceroys are printed in small capitals.

Assumed Office. DOM FRANCISCO DE ALMEIDA 12 Sept. 1505 Killed by Kaffirs at Saldanha Bay, 1 March, 1510. Affonso de Albuquerque 4 Nov. 1509 Died off Goa, 16 Dec. 1515. Lopo Soares de Albergaria 8 Sept. 1515 Returned to Portugal. Diogo Lopes de Sequeira 8 Sept. 1518 Returned to Portugal. Dom Duarte de Menezes 22 Jan. 1522 Returned to Portugal. DOM VASCO DA GAMA 5 Sept. 1524 Died at Cochin, 24 Dec. 1524. Dom Henrique de Menezes 17 Jan. 1525 Died at Cannanore, 21 Feb. 1526. Lopo Vaz de Sam Paio Feb. 1526 Returned to Portugal. Nuno da Cunha 18 Nov. 1529 Died at sea on his way to Portugal. DOM GARCIA DE NORONHA 14 Sept. 1538 Died at Goa, 3 April, 1540. Dom Estevao da Gama 3 April, 1540 Returned to Portugal. Martim Affonso de Sousa 8 May, 1542 Returned to Portugal. DOM JOAO DE CASTRO 10 Sept. 1545 Died at Goa, (Viceroy for 14 days only) 6 June, 1548. Garcia de Sa 6 June, 1548 Died at Goa, 13 June, 1549. Jorge Cabral 13 June, 1549 Returned to Portugal. DOM AFFONSO DE NORONHA Nov. 1550 Returned to Portugal. DOM PEDRO MASCARENHAS 23 Sept. 1554 Died at Goa, 16 June, 1555. Francisco Barreto 16 June, 1555 Returned to Portugal. DOM CONSTANTINO DE BRAGANZA 8 Sept. 1558 Returned to Portugal. DOM FRANCISCO DE COUTINHO 7 Sept. 1561 Died at Goa, 19 Feb. 1564. Joao de Mendonca 19 Feb. 1564 Returned to Portugal. DOM ANTAO DE NORONHA 3 Sept. 1564 Died at sea on his way to Portugal. DOM LUIS DE ATHAIDE 10 Sept. 1568 Returned to Portugal. DOM ANTONIO DE NORONHA 6 Sept. 1571 Returned to Portugal. Antonio Moniz Barreto 9 Dec. 1573 Returned to Portugal. Dom Diogo de Menezes Sept. 1576 Returned to Portugal. DOM LUIS DE ATHAIDE 31 Aug. 1578 Died at Goa, (second time) 10 March, 1581.


CHAP. PAGES PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-12

LIST OF VICEROYS AND GOVERNORS OF PORTUGUESE INDIA, 1505-1580 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

I. THE PREDECESSORS OF ALBUQUERQUE . . . . . . . . . . . 15-40

II. THE EARLY CAREER OF ALBUQUERQUE . . . . . . . . . . . 41-63

THE RULE OF ALBUQUERQUE:— III. THE CONQUEST OF GOA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64-92



VI. HIS INTERNAL POLICY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145-169



INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209-222

* * * * * *


The orthography of proper names follows the system adopted by the Indian Government for the Imperial Gazetteer of India. That system, while adhering to the popular spelling of very well-known places, such as Punjab, Poona, Deccan, &c., employs in all other cases the vowels with the following uniform sounds:—

a, as in woman: a-accent, as in land: i, as in police: i-accent, as in intrigue: o, as in cold: u, as in bull: u-accent, as in rule.





The period of the growth and domination of the Portuguese power in India is marked by many deeds of bloodshed and by many feats of heroism; it is illustrated by many great names, among which the greatest without doubt is that of Affonso de Albuquerque. But the general and administrator, to whom his countrymen have given the well-deserved title of The Great, was only one of many famous heroes, and it is impossible to understand the greatness of his conceptions and of his deeds without having some idea of the general history of the Portuguese in India.

The importance to Europe of the successful establishment of the Portuguese in the East was manifested in two widely different directions. On the one hand, it checked the rapid advance of {16} Muhammadanism as represented by the Turks. In the sixteenth century the advance of the Turks was still a terror to Europe; Popes still found it necessary to preach the necessity of a new Crusade; the kings of Christendom occasionally forgot their own feuds to unite against the common enemy of the Christian religion; and the Turks were then a progressive and a conquering and not, as they are now, a decaying power. It was at this epoch of advancing Muhammadanism that the Portuguese struck a great blow at Moslem influence in Asia which tended to check its progress in Europe.

Of equal importance to this great service to the cause of humanity was the fact that the Portuguese by establishing themselves in Asia introduced Western ideas into the Eastern world, and paved the way for that close connection which now subsists between the nations of the East and of the West. That connection was in its origin commercial, but other results have followed, and the influence of Asia upon Europe and of Europe upon Asia has extended indefinitely into all departments of human knowledge and of human endeavour.

A wide contrast must be drawn between the Portuguese connection with Asia and between the English and Spanish connection with America. In the latter case the exploring and conquering Europeans had to deal with savage tribes, and in many instances with an uncultivated country; in the former the Portuguese found themselves confronted with a {17} civilisation older than that of Europe, with men more highly educated and more deeply learned than their own priests and men of letters, and with religions and customs and institutions whose wisdom equalled their antiquity.

The India which was reached by Vasco da Gama, and with which the Portuguese monopolised the direct communication for more than a century, was very different to the India with which the Dutch and English merchants sought concessions to trade. The power of the Muhammadans in India was not yet concentrated in the hands of the great Mughals; there were Moslem kingdoms in the North of India and in the Deccan, but the South had not yet felt the heavy hand of Musalman conquerors, and the Hindu Raja of Vijayanagar or Narsingha was the most powerful potentate in the South of India. The monarchs and chieftains whom the Portuguese first encountered were Hindus. Muhammadan merchants indeed controlled the commerce of their dominions, but they had no share in the government; and one of the ruling and military classes consisted, on the Malabar coast, where the Portuguese first touched, of Nestorian Christians.

The concentration of all commerce in the hands of the believers in the Prophet was not favourably regarded by the wisest of the Hindu rulers, who were therefore inclined to heartily welcome any competitors for their trade. The condition of the Malabar coast at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese was {18} particularly favourable to the Portuguese endeavours, and, had they been inspired with nineteenth-century instead of with sixteenth-century ideas of religion and morality, a prosperous and peaceful commerce might easily have sprung up between the East and the West.

But if the India which Vasco da Gama reached was favourably inclined to open relations with the nation to which he belonged, Portugal was also at that time singularly well fitted by circumstances to send forth men of daring and enterprise to undertake the task. The Portuguese nation had grown strong and warlike from its constant conflict with the Moors in the Peninsula, and the country attained its European limits in 1263. Since that time it had become both rich and populous, and a succession of internal troubles had led to the establishment of a famous dynasty upon the throne of Portugal.

King John I, the founder of the house of Aviz, and surnamed The Great, had won his throne by preserving the independence of the Portuguese nation against the power of Castile, with the help of the English, and rested his foreign policy upon a close friendship with the English nation. He married an English princess, a daughter of John of Gaunt, and by her became the father of five sons, whose valour and talents were famous throughout Europe. There being no more Moors to fight in the Peninsula, the Portuguese, led by their gallant princes, went to fight Moors in Morocco. The duty of fighting Moors had {18} from their history sunk deep into the hearts of the Portuguese people. Their history had been one long struggle with Muhammadans, and the Christian religion had therefore taken with them a fiercer and more warlike complexion than in any other country. This feeling was fostered by King Affonso V, the grandson of John the Great, who ruled in Portugal from 1438 to 1481, and who, from his many expeditions to Morocco, obtained the surname of The African. His perpetual wars both with the Spaniards and the Moors continued to keep the Portuguese a nation of soldiers; and when the conquest of the East demanded the services of daring men, there was never any lack of soldiers to go upon the most distant expeditions. It was fortunate for the great enterprises of Vasco da Gama and of Affonso de Albuquerque that they had no difficulty in obtaining plenty of brave and experienced warriors; but it is to be deplored that these soldiers were possessed by a spirit of fanaticism against the religion of Islam which stained their victories with cruel deeds. Such fanaticism is indeed deplorable, but considering the past history of the Portuguese nation and the century in which they performed their great feats of arms it was not unnatural.

Commerce with the East sprang up in Europe with civilisation. As soon as any nation became rich it began to desire luxuries which could not be procured at home. The Romans in the days of their greatness knew of the products of Asia, and attained them at a {20} great price. Throughout the Middle Ages the commodities of Asia were known and valued, and as civilisation progressed and Europe emerged from barbarism the demand for pepper and ginger, for spices and silks and brocades increased.

The original trade routes for the products of India were overland. The goods were borne in caravans from the North-West frontier of India across Persia to Aleppo and thence by ship to Italy and to whatever other country was rich enough to purchase them. But after the growth of Muhammadanism and of the power of the Turks, the caravan routes across Central Asia became unsafe. Two new routes then came into use, the one by the Persian Gulf, and the other by the Red Sea. Goods which went by the Persian Gulf were carried overland to Aleppo and other ports in the Levant; goods that went by the Red Sea were carried across Egypt from Suez to Alexandria. From these two entrepots of Eastern and especially of Indian trade the articles of commerce were fetched by Venetian ships, and from Venice were distributed throughout Europe.

In the days of the Renaissance the products of the East passed through the hands of Muhammadan merchants from India to the Mediterranean, and the large profits they made were commensurate with the risks they undertook. With the rapid growth of civilisation the value of this trade became enormous: every city through which it passed was enriched; Venice became the wealthiest State in Europe; and the cost {21} of all Indian luxuries and spices was extravagantly high.

All wise kings envied the prosperity of Venice, and schemed to secure a share of the Eastern trade for their subjects. Mention has been made of the five illustrious princes, the sons of John the Great and Eleanor of Lancaster. One of them is known in history as Prince Henry the Navigator. This prince devoted his life to the discovery of a direct sea route from Portugal to India. He established himself on the promontory of Sines, and collected around him the most learned geographers and mathematicians of the age. With them he discussed the probability of its being possible to sail round the continent of Africa and thus reach India. Year after year he sent forth expeditions to explore the African coast. Many and important discoveries were made by his navigators, and a generation of skilful pilots and adventurous sailors was formed by his wise encouragement.

Among the earliest discoveries by the sailors of Prince Henry were the islands of Madeira and the Azores, and at the time of his death, in 1460, the Portuguese navigators had learned the way past the River Senegal. What Prince Henry the Navigator began was continued by the enterprise of the Portuguese merchants. These men were not actuated by the high aims of Prince Henry; they were rather inclined to mock at his belief in the existence of a direct sea route to India. But with his discoveries along the African coast began the slave trade. It was found {22} to be excessively profitable to import negroes from the Guinea coast, and the Portuguese captains and pilots soon mastered the difficulties of the navigation of the North-West shoulder of Africa from the frequent voyages which they made in search of slaves.

In 1481 King John II succeeded his father Affonso V upon the throne of Portugal. He was one of the wisest monarchs of his age, and was surnamed by his people John 'the Perfect.' By his internal policy he, like his contemporaries Louis XI of France and Henry VII of England, broke the power of his nobility. His people aided him, for they were wearied of the pressure of feudalism, and he concentrated the whole power of the realm in his own hands. He took up the projects which had been left untouched since the death of his great-uncle, Prince Henry the Navigator. The dream of his life was to find the direct sea route to India. To achieve this end he collected at his Court all the learned men he could attract; he improved the methods of shipbuilding, and began to build full-decked ships of 100 tons; he did much to perfect the knowledge of navigation; and exploration became his favourite hobby.

John II dismissed Columbus as a visionary, and thus left it to Spain to acquire the fame and the profit of discovering the new world of America. But he was diligent in making enquiries, with regard to the East. He sent two of his equerries, Joao Peres de Covilhao and Affonso de Paiva, overland to India, and the former of these two travellers accompanied the {23} caravans to the East and visited the Malabar coast. He was refused a passage from Calicut to Africa by the jealous Muhammadan merchants, but he managed to find his way through Arabia to Abyssinia, where he died. More important than these overland expeditions were those which John II sent on the tracks of Prince Henry's sailors along the African coast. One of his captains, Diogo Cao or Cam, discovered the Congo in 1484, and in 1486 Bartholomeu Dias and Joao Infante for the first time doubled the Cape of Good Hope and reached Algoa Bay. John II, like Prince Henry, was fated not to see the fulfilment of his dearest hopes; but he it was who designed the expedition which, under the command of Vasco da Gama, reached India, and who trained the great captains and governors who were to make illustrious with their valour the name of the Portuguese in Asiatic seas.

It was in the month of July, 1497, that a fleet of three ships was placed under the command of Vasco da Gama to follow the route taken by Bartholomeu Dias and find the way to India. Vasco da Gama was the third son of Estevao da Gama, who is said to have been the captain nominated by John II for the command of the expedition. Other accounts give to King Emmanuel, the successor of John II, the credit of choosing the successful admiral. Whoever selected him made a wise choice, for Vasco da Gama showed himself during his eventful voyage possessed of the highest qualities of constancy and daring. The two ships which sailed under his command, in addition to {24} his own, were placed under his elder brother Paulo da Gama and his intimate friend Nicolas Coelho, who proved themselves worthy of their chief. The fleet, of which the crews did not number more than 160 men, nor the tonnage of any ship more than 120 tons, experienced terrific storms in doubling the Cape of Good Hope, but eventually Vasco da Gama struck the South-East coast of Africa. He met with opposition from the rulers of Mozambique and Quiloa (Kilwa), where he first touched, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that he suppressed an incipient mutiny among his sailors.

In April, 1498, he reached Melinda, a port situated 200 miles to the north of Zanzibar, where he was kindly received by the ruling chief. The passage across the Indian Ocean was well known to the navigators of the South-East coast of Africa, for there was a considerable amount of trade conducted between the two localities which was almost entirely controlled by Muhammadans. At Melinda, Vasco da Gama was able to obtain experienced pilots, and after a stay there of one month according to most authorities, and of three months according to Correa, Vasco da Gama pursued his way to India.

The Portuguese ships arrived off Calicut in June or August, 1498. The powerful Hindu ruler on the Malabar coast, who was known as the Zamorin,[1] had {25} his capital in that city. His body-guard and most of his aristocracy consisted of Nairs and Nestorian Christians, but all commerce was in the hands of the Muhammadan merchants. These Muhammadans were Moplas, or descendants of Arab traders who had long settled upon the Malabar coast. They quickly perceived that if Vasco da Gama could make his way direct from Portugal to India other Portuguese ships could do the same, and that then their lucrative monopoly of the Indian trade with Europe by way of the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf, would be at an end. They therefore intrigued with the Hindu ministers of the Zamorin to repulse the endeavours of Vasco da Gama to procure a cargo of Indian commodities for his ships, and it was only after much difficulty and some danger that he was able to take on board an inadequate amount of merchandise. On leaving Calicut the Portuguese Admiral visited Cannanore, and he eventually reached Melinda on his way home in January, 1499. He had a long and difficult passage back to Europe; in the island of Terceira his beloved brother Paulo da Gama died, and when he got safely to Lisbon at the end of August, 1499, he had with him but fifty-five of the companions who had started with him on his adventurous voyage.

[Footnote 1: The title Zamorin is a version of the Malay[a-macron]lim word T[a-macron]m[a-macron]tiri or T[a-macron]m[u-macron]ri, which is a modification of the Sanskrit S[a-macron]mundri 'the Sea King.']

King Emmanuel of Portugal, and his people, received Vasco da Gama with the utmost enthusiasm. The dreams of Prince Henry the Navigator and of King John II were fulfilled. King Emmanuel took the title of 'Lord of the Conquest, Navigation and {26} Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia and India,' which was confirmed to him by a Bull of Pope Alexander VI in 1502, and he commenced the erection of the superb church at Belem as a token of his gratitude to Heaven. On Vasco da Gama the King conferred well deserved honours. He was granted the use of the prefix of Dom or Lord, then but rarely conferred; he was permitted to quarter the Royal Arms with his own; he was given the office of Admiral of the Indian Seas; and in the following reign, when the importance of his voyage became more manifest, he was created Count of Vidigueira.

King Emmanuel determined to take immediate advantage of the trade route opened to him by Dom Vasco da Gama's voyage. On March 9, 1500, a fine fleet of thirteen ships was despatched under the command of Pedro Alvares Cabral, well laden with merchandise, to trade with India. On his way out this Portuguese fleet was driven far to the westward, and to Cabral belongs the honour of discovering Brazil, which was eventually to become far more valuable to Portugal than the Indian trade. On leaving Brazil, Cabral followed the course taken by Dom Vasco da Gama, and with the help of pilots from Melinda anchored safely in the port of Calicut. At that place he established a factory or agency for the sale of the merchandise he had brought with him and for the purchase of Indian commodities, and then sailed for Cochin.

But the Mopla merchants were still the declared {27} enemies of the Portuguese. They raised a riot in the city of Calicut, and Ayres Correa, the Portuguese agent, was killed with several of his associates. It is worthy of remark that this murderous attack was entirely the work of the Arab Moplas. The Hindu Zamorin showed no disinclination to trade with the Europeans; the Malabar Muhammadans, that is the natives who had been converted to Islam, did not share in the outrage, and one of their principal merchants even interfered to save the lives of Correa's children and of some of the Portuguese clerks.

Cabral then loaded his ships at Cannanore and Cochin, where Hindu Rajas, inferior in power to the Zamorin, but not so much subject to Mopla influence, ruled, and after burning some of the Indian ships in the harbour of Calicut he returned to Lisbon in July, 1501. Cabral had not been so fortunate as Vasco da Gama, for he only brought back five out of the thirteen ships which he had taken with him. But, on the other hand, he did what Vasco da Gama had feared to do, and in spite of the fate of Ayres Correa and his associates, Cabral left a Portuguese factor with a considerable staff at Cochin to purchase goods for despatch to Portugal by the next fleet which should arrive.

On the return of Cabral from India, King Emmanuel resolved to send once more to the East the famous captain who had discovered the direct sea route to India. It was obvious to the king that large profits were to be made by the Eastern trade, but at this early period he had formed no distinct idea as to the policy {28} he would pursue. On one point only he was resolved. It was quite certain that Portuguese agents would have to be left at the places of export if a prosperous trade was to be developed, and it was therefore necessary to give a severe lesson to the Zamorin of Calicut for the murder of the Portuguese factor at his capital. Adequate protection to Portuguese agents could only be given by maintaining a strong force in the Indian Seas. Vasco da Gama was therefore ordered to punish the Zamorin and to leave a squadron of ships for the defence of the Portuguese factors.

The establishment of commerce was at this time the chief aim of the Portuguese in the East, as it was in the succeeding century the chief aim of the Dutch and the English. But in the same way that the Dutch and English East India Companies were compelled to become military powers in order to defend their local agents, so King Emmanuel of Portugal was obliged to provide for the military defence of the first Portuguese factors. It was the fierce enmity of the Muhammadan merchants which caused the early European traders to take the attitude of invaders. The original Portuguese visitors had no more idea of establishing a Portuguese power in the East than the original English adventurers of the reign of Elizabeth foresaw that their successors would become the rulers of India. The position of a military and ruling power was forced on the Portuguese as it was afterwards on the Dutch and the English.

In February, 1502, Dom Vasco da Gama, Admiral {29} of the Indian Seas, set sail from Lisbon with twenty ships, of which five were lateen-rigged caravels or lightly built warships which he was directed to leave behind him in the East. The Admiral followed his previous course, and after renewing his friendship with the Chief of Melinda he reached the Indian coast in safety. He found that the Portuguese factor at Cochin and his clerks had laid in a good store of Indian commodities, and that they had been kindly treated by the Raja of that city in spite of the threats of the Moplas of Calicut. He then proceeded to repeat the lesson which Cabral had given to the Zamorin, and after destroying, under circumstances of atrocious cruelty, the crew of a large ship belonging to a wealthy and important Muhammadan owner, he bombarded the city of Calicut.

The Rani of Quilon, an important pepper port, sent a message requesting that the Portuguese would come to her port also to obtain goods. But Dom Vasco da Gama feared to offend the Raja of Cochin by trading elsewhere, and it was only after receiving the express consent of the latter monarch that he took two shiploads of pepper from Quilon. Having taken on board a lucrative cargo Dom Vasco da Gama returned once more to Portugal, leaving behind him the squadron designed for that purpose under the command of one of his relations, Vicente Sodre.

The Admiral also made a treaty with the Raja of Cannanore, a ruler nearly as powerful as the Raja of Cochin, which provided that the former should {30} never make war on the Raja of Cochin, and should refuse to assist the Zamorin in case that powerful ruler undertook such an attack, and he also established a factory at Cannanore. Vicente Sodre cruised for some time on the Malabar coast, as he had been directed to do, and then sailed for the coast of Arabia in order to intercept the ships of Muhammadan merchants trading between India and Egypt. He had, however, but small success; for in the summer of 1503 his squadron was wrecked on the Abd-el-Khuri rocks off Socotra, three of his ships were lost, and Sodre himself was drowned.

In 1503 three separate squadrons were despatched to the East from Portugal under the command respectively of Affonso de Albuquerque, the future Governor, Francisco de Albuquerque, his cousin, and Antonio de Saldanha, the last of whom was ordered to explore the African coast and gave his name to Saldanha Bay. Francisco de Albuquerque, who arrived first in India, was only just in time to succour the Raja of Cochin. The Zamorin of Calicut, as Vasco da Gama had foreseen, had attacked the Raja of Cochin in force, at the instigation of the Moplas, as soon as Sodre's squadron had left the Malabar coast. The situation of the Cochin Raja was one of peril. He had been driven from his capital and was being besieged in the island of Vypin, and he welcomed the arrival of the ships of Francisco de Albuquerque with cries of joy.

The Portuguese met with little difficulty in {31} defeating the army of the Zamorin and in restoring their ally, the Raja of Cochin, to his dominions. But the extremity of the danger had been such that the two Albuquerques built a strong fort of wood and mud, mounted with artillery, at Cochin; and when they departed they left behind them not only a squadron of war-ships, as Vasco da Gama had done in the previous year, but also a garrison of trained soldiers for the new fort, both under the command of Duarte Pacheco. The two cousins Albuquerque had more than one difference of opinion, and Affonso, after sailing to Quilon, where he made a treaty with the Rani and established a factory, returned to Portugal with his squadron, without waiting for Francisco.

No more valiant warrior illustrated the glory of the Portuguese name than Pacheco. The Zamorin of Calicut, as soon as the Albuquerques had left the coast, advanced against Cochin with a more powerful army than he had set on foot in the previous year. Pacheco had only 150 Portuguese soldiers, but nevertheless he inspired perfect confidence into the mind of his ally, the Cochin Raja. That king, at the request of the Portuguese commander, abandoned his first idea of deserting his capital, and placed all his resources at the disposition of Pacheco, who repulsed every assault which the Zamorin made upon Cochin, and defeated his troops in four pitched battles beneath the walls of the city. The valour of the Portuguese greatly impressed the Zamorin, who witnessed the last of these battles, and the Hindu ruler soon repented his {32} compliance with the demands of the Mopla merchants.

After defeating the Calicut troops on land Pacheco took the personal command of his squadron at sea, and defeated the Calicut fleet of fifty-two ships. The news of these battles spread abroad through India. Many Rajas in the interior sent envoys to the Portuguese commander, and the Zamorin himself earnestly sued for peace. The prestige of the Portuguese was assured by Pacheco's victories, and from this time forth for nearly a century the inhabitants of Southern India recognised that the Portuguese were stronger than themselves, and were eager to trade with them or to make alliances.

Pacheco increased his reputation by a daring march to Quilon, where he rescued the Portuguese factor from much danger; for at Quilon, as at all the ports along the coast, the Moplas showed an unrelenting hatred to the European agents. When Lopo Soares de Albergaria, son of the Chancellor of Portugal, who commanded the squadron sent from Portugal in 1504, reached the Malabar coast he found the Indian ports ringing with news of Pacheco's victories. He once more bombarded Calicut, and then returned to Portugal, bringing with him a rich cargo and also the gallant Portuguese commander. It is a lasting disgrace to King Emmanuel that he neglected to reward the hero of Cochin according to his merits. He gave his faithful servant a distinguished reception, and had sermons preached in his honour in every church of Portugal, {33} but eventually, like Camoens and other famous Portuguese warriors, Pacheco was left to die in poverty and misery.

It was after the return of Pacheco, and probably owing to that brave man's advice, that King Emmanuel in 1505 inaugurated a new departure in the relations between Portugal and the East. Pacheco's victories made it evident that it was not only possible for Portuguese garrisons and local squadrons to defend the Portuguese factors, but that they could defeat and conquer powerful native monarchs. A conception of the ease by which a Portuguese empire could be established in the East was now grasped by King Emmanuel. His ideas were still mainly commercial, but he began to perceive also that the safe maintenance of trade and commerce would necessarily involve a regular war to the death with the Muhammadan powers who had reaped the greatest profit from the trade of the East with Europe. Hitherto the Portuguese in India had striven with the Muhammadan Moplas settled on the Malabar coast; but it now became apparent that the Muhammadans of Egypt, Persia, and Arabia would come to the help of their co-religionists. Emmanuel decided therefore to maintain a more powerful army and navy in Asia than he had yet despatched to the Eastern seas, and to replace annual expeditions by a local establishment.

Such a force had to be commanded by an experienced general, who should also be a man of rank, in order to exercise undisputed sway over the whole {34} resources of Portugal in the East. For this important office the king first selected Tristao da Cunha, a daring and skilful commander and navigator. But Tristao da Cunha was struck with temporary blindness, and King Emmanuel then chose Dom Francisco de Almeida, a member of one of the most illustrious families of Portugal. Almeida when he sailed received only the title of Chief Captain, but on his arrival at Cannanore on September 12, 1505, he took the high-sounding title of Viceroy of Cochin, Cannanore, and Quilon.

The great Portuguese nobleman looked upon the situation of affairs in a different light to his predecessors. He was not satisfied with the idea of protecting the Portuguese trade which had been established, but considered it his duty to destroy the Muhammadan traders and to secure for his countrymen the entire command of the Eastern seas. Since it was necessary for the Portuguese fleets to have some safe ports at which they could refit before and after crossing the Indian Ocean, he built a strong fortress at Quiloa (Kilwa), about 200 miles south of Zanzibar, and made the Chief of Mombassa between Zanzibar and Melinda tributary. He also organised, for the first time, a regular Portuguese Indian pilot service, for he felt it to be a weakness to the Portuguese to be dependent on native pilots like the men who had shown Vasco da Gama the way across the Indian Ocean.

Having firmly established the Portuguese power on {35} the African coast, Dom Francisco de Almeida continued on his way to India. His fleet consisted of fourteen ships and six caravels, and carried 1500 soldiers. On reaching the Malabar coast he first punished the Rajas of Honawar and Cannanore, and then established his seat of government at Cochin. The Viceroy next sent his son Dom Lourenco de Almeida, who had been appointed Chief Captain of the Indian Sea, to attack Quilon. The Moplas in that city, in spite of the lesson taught to them by Pacheco, had not ceased their intrigues against the Portuguese; and soon after Almeida's arrival they rose in insurrection and killed Antonio de Sa, the factor, and twelve other Portuguese subjects. Dom Lourenco, who was but eighteen years of age, and who soon made for himself a reputation for daring and valour unequalled in the East, bombarded and practically destroyed the city of Quilon. The young captain then visited the island of Ceylon, which had not yet been explored by the Europeans. The native prince on whose coasts he landed received Lourenco with great pomp, recognised the suzerainty of the King of Portugal and promised to provide the Portuguese ships with cargoes of cinnamon. From Ceylon also Dom Lourenco brought the first elephant ever sent to Portugal.

After his return to Cochin the Viceroy despatched his gallant son to meet a fresh fleet which had been prepared by the Zamorin of Calicut. On March 18, 1506, with but eleven ships of war under {36} his command, Lourenco de Almeida attacked the Zamorin's fleet of eighty-four ships and a hundred and twenty prahs or galleys. The sea-fight which followed was chiefly an artillery combat; most of the Zamorin's ships were sunk, and it is said that 3000 Muhammadans perished and not more than six or eight Portuguese. The young captain sailed northward with his victorious fleet, but was repulsed in an attack on Dabhol, an important port belonging to the Muhammadan King of Bijapur. In the following year Dom Lourenco de Almeida continued his series of victories, and on November 23, 1507, with the assistance of Tristao da Cunha, who had just arrived in India, he sacked the port of Ponani, then, as it still is, a religious centre of the Mopla community.

Meanwhile the danger which King Emmanuel had foreseen was coming to pass. The Mameluke Sultan of Egypt perceived that his income from the passage of the Indian trade through Cairo was seriously diminishing, and he resolved to make a great effort to expel the daring European intruders from the Eastern seas. He therefore prepared a large fleet, which was placed under the command of the Emir Husain, an admiral of high reputation, whom the Portuguese chroniclers call Mir Hocem. This was the first regular war fleet which the Portuguese had yet met. The fleets of the Zamorin, which Pacheco and Dom Lourenco de Almeida had defeated, consisted only of merchant ships roughly adapted for war by the Mopla traders of Calicut. The fleet of {37} the Emir Husain, on the other hand, was a regular war fleet; it was largely manned by sailors who had experience in fighting with Christian fleets in the Mediterranean, and who understood the use of artillery quite as well as the Portuguese.

The Egyptian admiral in 1508 sailed from the Red Sea for the coast of Gujarat, where the Muhammadan King of Ahmadabad and the Muhammadan Nawab of Diu, Malik Ayaz, had promised to receive and assist him. Dom Lourenco de Almeida was unable to prevent the junction of the Egyptian and the Diu fleets, and on their approach to his station in the port of Chaul he boldly sailed out and attacked them. His numbers were totally inadequate, but he had received express orders from his father to endeavour to prevent the allies from coming south to Calicut to join the Zamorin. For two days the Portuguese maintained a running fight, but Dom Lourenco de Almeida soon found that he had to deal with more experienced and warlike foes than the merchant captains he had so often defeated. His ship was surrounded on every side; his leg was broken by a cannon-ball at the commencement of the action; nevertheless he had himself placed upon a chair at the foot of the mainmast and gave his orders as coolly as ever. Shortly afterwards a second cannon-ball struck him in the breast, and the young hero, who was not yet twenty-one, expired, in the words of Camoens, without knowing what the word surrender meant. Malik Ayaz treated the Portuguese prisoners whom he took kindly. He {38} wrote to the Viceroy regretting that he was unable to find Dom Lourenco's body to give it honourable burial, and congratulated the father on the glory the son had acquired in his last combat.

At this juncture Affonso de Albuquerque, who had been sent from Lisbon with a commission to succeed Dom Francisco de Almeida, at the close of the latter's three years tenure of office, made his claims known. The Viceroy, however, refused to surrender his office or to abandon the government until he had avenged his son's death. Albuquerque told the Viceroy that it was his privilege to fight the Egyptian fleet, but he felt for the father's feelings and allowed Francisco de Almeida to sail northwards without further pressing his rights. The Viceroy first relieved the fortress of Cannanore, which was being besieged by the Moplas and gallantly defended by Lourenco de Brito, and he then attacked Dabhol with a fleet of nineteen ships. He stormed Dabhol and wreaked a horrible vengeance, which passed into a proverb, on the inhabitants in December, 1508. On February 2, 1509, Dom Francisco de Almeida came up with the united fleet of the Muhammadans under Emir Husain and Malik Ayaz off Diu, and after a battle which lasted the whole day a great victory was won, in which the Muhammadans are said to have lost 3000 men and the Portuguese only twenty-two.

After the victory the powerful Muhammadan King of Ahmadabad or Gujarat, Mahmud Shah Begara, disavowed the conduct of Malik Ayaz, his tributary, {39} and made peace with the Portuguese. He refused to surrender the Emir, but he gave up the Portuguese prisoners who had been taken in the previous engagement as well as the remains of the Egyptian fleet. On his return to Cochin, Dom Francisco de Almeida again refused to hand over the government to Albuquerque, and imprisoned his destined successor in the fortress of Cannanore.

However, on the arrival of Dom Fernao de Coutinho, Marshal of Portugal, the Viceroy was forced to abandon this attitude, and he left Cochin on November 10, 1509. On his way home he was obliged to put in to refit at Saldanha Bay, where his sailors had a dispute with some Kaffirs whose sheep they had stolen. Dom Francisco de Almeida went to their help, but he was struck down and killed with an assegai. Thus died the first Viceroy of Portuguese India on March 1, 1510, and it is a strange irony of fate that the famous conqueror of the Muhammadan fleet, who by his victory assured the power of the Portuguese in the East, should die by the hands of ignorant African savages.

The policy of the first Viceroy of India was not so grandiose as that of his successor. He did not believe in building many forts or attempting to establish direct government in the East. He argued that Portugal had not sufficient inhabitants to occupy many posts, and his view was that the Portuguese fleets should hold the sea and thus protect the factories on land. Any idea of establishing a Portuguese {40} dominion in Asia seemed visionary to the first Portuguese Viceroy, and in this respect his policy differed entirely from that of his successor, Affonso de Albuquerque.

A letter from Francisco de Almeida to Emmanuel is published by Senhor Lopes de Mendonca in the Annaes das Sciencias e Letteras for April, 1858, and reveals the Viceroy's policy. In it he says:—

'With respect to the fortress in Quilon, the greater the number of fortresses you hold, the weaker will be your power; let all our forces be on the sea; because if we should not be powerful at sea (which may the Lord forbid) everything will at once be against us; and if the King of Cochin should desire to be disloyal, he would be at once destroyed, because our past wars were waged with animals; now we have wars with the Venetians and the Turks of the Sultan. And as regards the King of Cochin, I have already written to your Highness that it would be well to have a strong castle in Cranganore on a passage of the river which goes to Calicut, because it would hinder the transport by that way of a single peck of pepper. With the force we have at sea we will discover what these new enemies may be, for I trust in the mercy of God that He will remember us, since all the rest is of little importance. Let it be known for certain that as long as you may be powerful at sea, you will hold India as yours; and if you do not possess this power, little will avail you a fortress on shore; and as to expelling the Moors (Muhammadans) from the country, I have found the right way to do it, but it is a long story, and it will be done when the Lord pleases and will thus be served.'




The name of Albuquerque was already famous in the history of Castile and of Portugal before the birth of the great man who increased its lustre. It is not without interest to examine the history of the family, for it illustrates in a remarkable manner the origin of the most noble houses of the Peninsula. It is besides always of interest to study the ancestry of a great man, for the qualities which distinguished him are generally to be perceived also in former members of his family.

The family of Albuquerque derived its origin from Dom Affonso Sanches, an illegitimate son of King Diniz or Denis, The Labourer, and a beautiful Gallician lady, Dona Aldonsa de Sousa. King Denis is one of the most remarkable figures in the early history of Portugal. He ascended the throne in 1279, just after the Moors had been thoroughly conquered and Portugal had attained its European limits by the annexation of the Algarves. He reigned for nearly half a century, and, as his sobriquet indicates, was a man of peace. {42} He devoted himself to improving the internal administration of the country, to bringing waste lands under cultivation and to encouraging commerce. But he had another side to his character. King Denis was one of the earliest of the Portuguese poets. He wrote in the style of the Troubadours, and imitated their morality as well as their verse. The mother of Dom Affonso Sanches was one of the most famous of the king's mistresses, and was very dearly beloved by him. He showered favours on his illegitimate children, and made Affonso Sanches Mordomo-Mor, or Lord High Steward, of his realm, to the extreme wrath of his legitimate heir, who was afterwards King Affonso IV.

The latter years of the reign of King Denis were embittered by war between the king and the heir apparent. As soon as the latter ascended the throne in 1325 he banished his half-brothers from Portugal and confiscated all the lands which his father had granted to them. Dom Affonso Sanches, who was a renowned warrior, took refuge at the court of the King of Castile, and there married Dona Theresa Martins, daughter of Joao Affonso Telles de Menezes and granddaughter of Sancho III, King of Castile. With her he obtained, in addition to other lands, the Castle of Albuquerque, near Badajoz, which he entirely rebuilt. His son Joao Affonso took the name of Albuquerque from this castle; he married Dona Isabel de Menezes and became Mordomo-Mor to King Pedro the Cruel, of Castile and Leon.

{43} The legitimate issue of this great lord, who was one of the most important figures in the history of the time, founded the famous Spanish house of Albuquerque, which gave many distinguished generals and statesmen to the service of the State. He had also certain illegitimate children, who returned to Portugal. The two daughters of this illegitimate family, Dona Beatrice and Dona Maria, were ladies whose beauty was famous, and they married two brothers of Leonor, the queen of King Ferdinand of Portugal, the Counts of Barcellos and Neiva. Their brother, Fernao Affonso de Albuquerque, became Grand Master of the Portuguese Knights of the Order of Santiago. The illegitimate daughter of the Grand Master, Dona Theresa, married Vasco Martins da Cunha, who, by his first marriage, was great-grandfather of the famous navigator, Tristao da Cunha; his granddaughter married Goncalo Vaz de Mello, and his great-granddaughter, Dona Leonor, Joao Goncalvez de Gomide. The husband of the last-mentioned lady took her famous surname of Albuquerque, and was the father by her of a numerous family, one of whom, Pedro de Albuquerque, became Lord High Admiral of Portugal. His eldest son, Goncalo de Albuquerque, succeeded his father as Lord of Villa Verde, and married Dona Leonor de Menezes, daughter of Dom Alvaro Goncalvez de Athaide.

Affonso de Albuquerque, who, it may be remarked, always spelt his name Alboquerque, which is the version adopted by the early Portuguese writers, was {44} the second son of this marriage. This sketch of the history of his ancestors shows to what great families the future governor of Portuguese Asia was allied; the frequent tale of unlawful love to be observed throughout it is a feature common to the records of the most illustrious captains of his time. His elder brother, Fernao de Albuquerque, married a daughter of Diogo da Silva, and had two daughters, one of whom married Dom Martinho de Noronha, and the other Jorge Barreto, both names which often occur in the history of the Portuguese in the East. His next brother, Alvaro, took Holy Orders and became Prior of Villa Verde, and his youngest brother, Martim, was killed by his side at Arzila. His elder sister, Constance, married Dom Fernao de Noronha, and his younger sister, Isabel, married Pedro da Silva Relle.

Affonso de Albuquerque was born at Alhandra, a beautiful village about eighteen miles from Lisbon, in 1453. He was brought up at the court of King Affonso V, where he is said to have been a page. He was certainly educated with the king's sons, and became in his early years a friend of Prince John, afterwards John II. He was not only a thorough master of his own language, which, as his despatches show, he wrote with force and elegance, but he also studied Latin and Mathematics. The latter science was an especial favourite of his and very useful to him during his voyages, in assisting him to master the technicalities of navigation, so that he could, in time of need, act as a pilot. The court of Affonso V was {45} well calculated to stir the knightly spirit of a lad. The king himself was known as El Rey Cavalleiro or the Chivalrous King; his one delight was in war, and he was never tired of reading the romances of mediaeval chivalry and trying to follow the example of its heroes. King Affonso V had also a great taste for literature: he founded the famous library at Evora, and his answer to the chronicler, Acenheiro, who asked how he should write the chronicle of his reign, illustrated his disposition; for he answered simply, 'Tell the truth.'

In 1471 Affonso de Albuquerque, then a young man of eighteen, served in King Affonso's third expedition to Morocco, in which the Portuguese took the cities of Tangier, Anafe, and Arzila. In the last of these towns he remained for some years as an officer of the garrison. This was an excellent school for the training of an officer, and Albuquerque there learnt not only his military duties but his hatred for the Muhammadans. It was in the garrisons in Morocco that the Portuguese soldiers and captains, who were to prove their valour in the East, served their apprenticeship to war; and the ten years which Albuquerque spent there were not years thrown away.

In 1481, when his friend John II succeeded to the throne, Affonso de Albuquerque returned to Portugal, and was appointed to the high court office of Estribeiro-Mor, which is equivalent to the post of Master of the Horse or Chief Equerry. This office he held throughout the reign of John II, and his close {46} intimacy with that wise and great king ripened his intellect and trained him to thoughts of great enterprises. John II was always thinking of the direct sea route to India; Albuquerque shared his hopes, and there can be no doubt that the grand schemes for establishing Portuguese influence in Asia which he afterwards conceived, had their origin in his intimacy with The Perfect King. He served on the fleet sent to the Gulf of Taranto to defend King Ferdinand of Naples against an invasion of the Turks; and in 1489 he commanded the defence of the fortress of Graciosa, on the coast of Morocco, against an attack of the Moors.

On the death of John II, in 1495, Affonso de Albuquerque, like the other intimates of the deceased sovereign, was looked upon coldly by King Emmanuel. This cannot be wondered at, for John II had murdered Emmanuel's elder brother with his own hand, and had even thought of ousting Emmanuel himself from the throne by legitimatising his natural son Dom Jorge. In 1495, Affonso de Albuquerque returned to Arzila and served there for some time longer against the Moors. At this period his younger brother Martim was killed by his side in a foray, and the boy's death further increased Albuquerque's personal hatred for all Muhammadans. After this catastrophe Affonso went back to Portugal, and since King Emmanuel was now firmly fixed upon the throne, he did not further hesitate to use the services of so experienced an officer.

{47} In 1503 Affonso de Albuquerque was for the first time despatched to the Indian seas, in which he was at a later date to perform his great feats of arms. In this year he only commanded, as has been said, a little squadron of three ships, and played a part inferior to that played by his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque, the son of John II's Lord High Admiral. His chief act of importance at that time was his commencing to build a fort at Cochin to defend the local Portuguese factory; but he also visited Quilon and appointed a factor in that city. Nevertheless, though he did not do much in 1503, he learnt much that was useful to him in subsequent years. He saw for the first time the Indian coast, and was enabled to study on the spot the problems presented by the establishment of the Portuguese.

He also experienced the difficulties of a divided command. He quarrelled seriously with his cousin, and eventually, in spite of the king's direct orders to the contrary, he left the Malabar coast without waiting for his colleague. On leaving Cochin he took the bold step of shaping his course for Mozambique. Hitherto the Portuguese fleets had always struck the African coast higher up in order to make the passage across the Indian Ocean as short as possible. Nevertheless, guided by a Muhammadan pilot, Albuquerque reached Mozambique in safety, and after a perilous voyage along the West Coast of Africa, arrived at Lisbon in July, 1504. His cousin, who had delayed his departure, was lost at sea with his squadron {48} without anyone ever knowing where or how they perished.

On his return to Portugal Affonso de Albuquerque was very favourably received by King Emmanuel. He encouraged the king's idea of securing the monopoly of the Indian trade, and insisted that the only way by which this could be done was to close the previous routes by the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Modern ideas of commercial freedom were unknown even in the last century, when the River Scheldt was closed by treaties assented to by the chief European powers; and it was hardly to be expected that in the sixteenth century the general good of humanity should be preferred to national considerations. King Emmanuel therefore entered into Albuquerque's schemes for destroying the commerce carried on by the Muhammadans with India, and resolved to despatch the chief author of this policy to the East.

Accordingly, in 1506, when Tristao da Cunha was ordered to the East with a fleet of eleven ships, Albuquerque accompanied him with a separate squadron of five ships destined to operate on the coasts of Arabia. Albuquerque was placed under the command of Da Cunha until the island of Socotra should be conquered and garrisoned by the Portuguese, after which event Da Cunha was to proceed to India to load his ships. Albuquerque was then to assume an independent command, and after doing what he could to close the Red Sea to commerce was to go to India and take over the supreme command from {49} the Viceroy, Dom Francisco de Almeida. These secret orders were not communicated to the Viceroy immediately, and Albuquerque was directed not to present his commission until Almeida had completed three years of government. At the same time a powerful fleet was despatched to the Mediterranean, under the Prior of Crato, who was instructed to attack the Turks, and thus to prevent them from sending sailors to assist the Muhammadans in the Eastern seas. Selim I, who was then ruling at Constantinople, was at issue with the Mameluke Sultan of Egypt, whom a few years later he conquered, but the opposition between them was not understood in Portugal, and it was believed that the Turks would be inclined to assist the Egyptians.

On April 5, 1506, Tristao da Cunha and Affonso de Albuquerque set sail from the Tagus. Differences between the two commanders soon appeared. Albuquerque's own pilot had fled to Castile, after murdering his wife, and, since Tristao da Cunha refused to give him another pilot, the future Governor of Portuguese India had to navigate his own vessel. But the difference between them was not due alone to this personal dispute—the two men were of essentially different temperaments. Tristao da Cunha was before all things an explorer; his hope was to discover fresh countries for his royal master. Albuquerque was, on the other hand, a statesman, fully impressed with the importance of the mission on which he was sent and determined to subordinate {50} everything else to it. This radical difference soon made itself felt. When the united fleet reached Mozambique, news was brought to the principal commander by Ruy Pereira Coutinho that he had discovered an island which seemed rich in cloves and other spices. This island he had named the Island of San Lourenco, and it is the island now known as Madagascar. Tristao da Cunha, in spite of the remonstrances of Albuquerque, who refused to accompany him, went off at once to explore the new land. But, after a perilous voyage, he abandoned his purpose and joined Albuquerque to carry out the first aim of the expedition, the conquest of the island of Socotra.

As they made their way north along the African coast, they paid a visit to Melinda and renewed the treaty of friendship between the Chief of that place and the Portuguese. The Chief of Melinda told the Portuguese captains that the Chiefs of Mombassa and Angoja caused him much annoyance for his friendship with the Portuguese, and begged that they would take vengeance on them. In accordance with this request, the Portuguese sacked and burnt the city of Angoja, the Chief of which place was 'a Moorish merchant who came from abroad, but as he was very rich he had made himself lord of all that land.'[1] The fleet then proceeded to Braboa, or Brava, where the Muhammadan ruler refused to acknowledge the supremacy of or pay tribute to the King of Portugal. {51} The place was therefore attacked and burnt by the Portuguese sailors. In this engagement Tristao da Cunha was wounded, and at his own request was knighted by Affonso de Albuquerque on the spot where he had received his wound.

[Footnote 1: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. i. p. 36.]

After these acts of summary vengeance the Portuguese fleet proceeded to Socotra. This island, which is situated off Cape Guardafui, in such a position as to command the Gulf of Aden, had been discovered by Diogo Fernandes Pereira two years before, and had been visited by Antonio de Saldanha. They had reported the existence of Christians on the island, who wished to place themselves under the authority of the King of Portugal. King Emmanuel had for this reason, as well as on account of its importance in commanding the Gulf of Aden, ordered that a fortress should be built upon the island, and had given a commission as Governor to Albuquerque's nephew, Dom Affonso de Noronha. The Portuguese found a strong castle on the island, defended by a Muhammadan garrison of 150 men. It was stormed, after an engagement lasting seven hours, in which Albuquerque himself was wounded. A well-armed fortress, to which the name of St. Michael was given, was then erected, as well as a Franciscan monastery, and the somewhat degraded Christians, who are described by Marco Polo as belonging to the Greek Church, were in great numbers baptized in the Catholic religion. On August 1, 1507, Tristao da Cunha, having completed the first task appointed to him, sailed away to {52} India to take in cargo, leaving behind him Affonso de Albuquerque with six ships. On his way back to Portugal the great explorer, who did not again go to the East, discovered the solitary island in the Atlantic which bears his name. He was received with great honour, and was sent as Portuguese Ambassador to Pope Leo X. His fame was such that the Pope begged him to take command of an expedition against the Turks. But the explorer felt he was not a great soldier, and declined the flattering offer. He eventually returned to Portugal, and died a member of the King's Privy Council in 1540.

On the departure of Da Cunha, Albuquerque provided for the government of the island of Socotra. He divided the palm-groves which had belonged to the Muhammadans among the native Christians, and those which had belonged to the mosque he gave to the Christian churches. He then refitted his ships and left Socotra, with the intention of intercepting the Muhammadan merchant-vessels on their way from India to Egypt. Before long he began to have disputes with the captains of his principal ships. His own flagship, the Cirne, was in good control, and he was always bravely helped in his difficulties by his gallant young nephew, Dom Antonio de Noronha. But the captains of the other ships which had accompanied him from Portugal—Francisco de Tavora, Antonio do Campo, Affonso Lopes da Costa, and Manoel Telles—were inclined to resent his authority, and objected to cruising on the barren coast of {53} Arabia instead of fetching lucrative cargoes from India. Their opposition was fomented by a famous captain, Joao da Nova, the discoverer of the island of St. Helena, who had come to the East with Dom Francisco de Almeida, and who showed himself throughout his career in Asia to be Albuquerque's most implacable enemy. He had joined the fleet at Socotra, in command of one of the finest Portuguese ships ever launched, the Flor de la Mar, and had been directed, much to his chagrin, by Tristao da Cunha to remain with Albuquerque.

Being in need of supplies, the Portuguese commander next resolved to shape his course for the Persian Gulf. He had at first intended to penetrate the Red Sea, but having become possessed of a chart of the Persian Gulf made by a Muhammadan pilot, he bent his way thither instead. The important city of Ormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, was at this time one of the great centres of the Eastern trade. Not only did a certain portion of trade for Europe pass through it, but the large and important commerce carried on between Persia and India was concentrated there. The wealth and prosperity of Ormuz is described in glowing terms by all early travellers in Asia, and it is called in ancient books 'the richest jewel set in the ring of the world.' Albuquerque quickly grasped the importance of getting possession of Ormuz; he saw that he might by that means not only intercept the Indian trade which went that way, but might also establish a {54} direct trade between Persia and Europe. Persian commodities, as well as those of India, were much valued in Europe. Hitherto they had generally passed through the hands of the merchants of the Levant; but the Portuguese statesman at once perceived that it would be possible to convey them more cheaply by the direct sea-route to Portugal.

The first place at which Albuquerque touched on his way to Ormuz was Calayate (K[a-macron]lh[a-macron]t), which the inhabitants described as the door of Ormuz. It was a great resort for shipping, and exported horses and dates in large quantities to India. Albuquerque was favourably received there, and took in supplies. Following the coast, the Portuguese bombarded Curiate and Muscat, where they were badly received, and with atrocious cruelty Albuquerque ordered the ears and noses of the Muhammadan prisoners to be cut off before they were released. On October 10, 1507, he reached Ormuz, and there entered into negotiations with Cogeatar (Khojah Atar), the Prime Minister of the King of Ormuz. The Portuguese commander first demanded that the native ruler should declare himself a vassal of the King of Portugal and should promise to pay tribute to him. In this he was successful. He then demanded a site on which to erect a fortress to be garrisoned by a Portuguese force. The foundations of this fortress were marked out on October 24, 1507, and the building was undertaken by native labour under Portuguese superintendence. Meanwhile, the disgust of {55} the Portuguese captains increased; they protested against the conduct of Albuquerque, and spoke openly of leaving him and going by themselves to India. In consequence of this conduct Albuquerque suspended Francisco de Tavora from the command of his ship. Nor were the sailors less mutinous: four of them escaped to the native minister and informed Cogeatar of the dissensions which prevailed. Albuquerque haughtily demanded the immediate surrender of the deserters, and threatened to attack Ormuz in case of a refusal.

On the news of the contemplated assault the rebellious captains, on January 5, 1508, presented a remonstrance to their commander, which is so characteristic of the difficulties which beset Albuquerque on every side, and so illustrative of the impression formed by his character, that it is worth quoting in full:—

'SIR,—We do this in writing, because by word of mouth we dare not, as you always answer us so passionately; and for all that you, Sir, have frequently told us that the King gives you no orders to take counsel with us, yet this business is of so great an importance, that we consider ourselves obliged to offer you our advice; did we not do so, we should be worthy of punishment. Now, because this war, in which you are now desirous of engaging, is very much opposed to the interest of the King, our Lord, we consider that your Excellency ought to weigh well, before entering upon it, how little Cogeatar is to blame for objecting to have against all reason to pay down in ready money 15,000 cruzados of revenue every year, contrary to the honour of such a large city and kingdom; yet, if notwithstanding all this, your {56} Excellency is determined to prosecute the war, and break the peace and agreement which has been made with him, it is our opinion that you ought not to do so; for it would be more to the service of the King, our Lord, if we were now to quit this city and temporize with Cogeatar, and in the course of the year return in strength in order to subdue it, and confirm our hold upon it, than to destroy it for ever. And if, in spite of all we can say, your Excellency is bent upon entering into this war, see you that it be with all the circumspection and assurance that the fleet can command, in that it is more conducive to the interest of our said Lord to obtain possession and not to destroy the city now, since it can be destroyed at any time we please; because, in case of your Excellency's landing in Ormuz or at the city we are determined not to go with you, nor enter into such a war, nor such designs, and that this may be known for certain, and we be not able to deny it hereafter, we all sign our names here: this day, the 5th of the month of January, 1508.


[Footnote 2: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. i. pp. 169, 170.]

It need hardly be said that Albuquerque refused to listen to this remonstrance. Francisco de Tavora, whom he had pardoned and restored to his command, declared himself on Albuquerque's side, and in a few hours all the captains

'begged him very earnestly to do them the favour to forget it all, for their passion had blinded them, and all were {57} ready to serve him in the war and to perform all that he might require of them.'[3]

[Footnote 3: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. i. p. 172.]

Albuquerque accordingly attacked Ormuz and defeated the troops who had assembled to prevent his landing; but Cogeatar knew of the discontent of the captains, and steadfastly refused to surrender the deserters. With Joao da Nova the situation soon became still more strained. This captain was undoubtedly the leader of the malcontents, and at last, after a disgraceful scene, Albuquerque ordered him under arrest. An enquiry was made into his conduct and that of his ship's crew, and in the words of the Commentaries,

'the captain and all the men were found to be so guilty that it was thought to be better counsel to forgive them, considering the times they had fallen upon, and the necessity there was of them, than to punish them as they deserved; ... and he [Albuquerque] ordered them to return to the ship, and released Joao da Nova from custody and returned him his captaincy, not caring to hear any more of his guilt, but leaving the punishment of it for the King to settle, although he had, in the instructions given to him, granted him power for all.'[4]

[Footnote 4: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. i. p. 189.]

These troubles in his fleet caused Albuquerque to abandon his project of building a castle at Ormuz, and he therefore sailed away, in April 1508, to intercept the Muhammadan merchant-ships on their way from India. The disputes with his captains still continued, and three of them—Antonio do Campo, Affonso {58} Lopes da Costa, and Manoel Telles—deserted him and went to India. Their desertion was soon followed by that of Joao da Nova, whose departure deprived him of the finest ship in his squadron. With his diminished force of only two ships Albuquerque sailed to Socotra, where he found the garrison suffering from want of provisions, having nothing to eat but palm-leaves and wild fruit. He then cruised for some time in the Gulf of Aden, and eventually he finally disgraced Francisco de Tavora, his sole remaining captain, who disgusted him by further mutinous behaviour.

After cruising for four months in the Gulf of Aden, during which time he only took one prize, he proceeded once more to Calayate (K[a-macron]lh[a-macron]t). The governor of the place was an intimate friend of Cogeatar, and did not receive the Portuguese as favourably as he had done in the previous year. On observing symptoms of resistance Albuquerque promptly attacked the city, and after a furious engagement, in which Dom Antonio da Noronha especially distinguished himself, Calayate was sacked and burnt. The ships in the harbour were also destroyed, and with great barbarity the ears and noses of all the Muhammadans who were taken prisoners were cut off.

Albuquerque then went on to Ormuz, where he heard the news of the sea-fight off Chaul, in which Dom Lourenco de Almeida had been killed. Cogeatar also forwarded to Albuquerque a letter which he had received from Dom Francisco de Almeida, the Portuguese Viceroy. In this letter Albuquerque's conduct in {59} the previous year was greatly blamed, and the Viceroy declared his intention of chastising Albuquerque, 'in order that he may learn that wheresoever he shall receive honour, and give a writing on the King's behalf, he ought not to alter it, for the King of Portugal is not a liar, and it is necessary that his captain should not depart from his commands.'[5] In enclosing this letter to Albuquerque, Cogeatar announced his intention of informing the Viceroy that Albuquerque was a traitor to the King of Portugal. In reply to these communications, Albuquerque sent a haughty letter, in which he defended his conduct during the previous year:—

'Have I not already many a time told thee,' he wrote, 'that I was no corsair but Captain-General of the King of Portugal, an old man and a peaceable one?... In what is stated in the Persian letter [from the Viceroy] about my not daring to go to him, but that I went instead to Socotra, know of a certainty that I have fear of no one except of my King; but, on the contrary, I tell thee that the captain who knew both how to obtain this kingdom, and conquer a king in battle, and make him tributary to the King of Portugal, will be treated with great honour let him go whithersoever he will, and the Viceroy knows that I have performed my duty in proceeding to succour the fortress of Socotra, as my King had ordered me, and that I had not now fled, had I not gone to seek for the supplies which the captains carried away from me when they departed, leaving thy fleet of seventy sail against me, although I commanded them to make for it and destroy it; {60} but this they would not do, and well it was that it turned out so, since between thee and them there was such amity.'[6]

[Footnote 5: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. i. p. 227.]

[Footnote 6: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. i. pp. 237, 238.]

Albuquerque then promised to demand a strict account some day from Cogeatar for his behaviour; he swore not to cut his beard until he had completed the fortress at Ormuz, and, after capturing a rich merchant-ship, he sailed for India. He had spent two years and eight months at sea, and was now to show his capacity in a wider sphere.

While Albuquerque was establishing the power of Portugal on the coasts of Arabia and in the Persian Gulf, Almeida was being prejudiced against him. The deserter and rebel captains met with a favourable reception from the Viceroy. They described Albuquerque to him 'as a very harsh sort of a man, and very hasty, without bearing in mind the honour of his men,'[7] and declared that he had exceeded his orders in attempting to build a fortress at Ormuz. This, according to Almeida, was the head and front of Albuquerque's offending. It has been said that Almeida's policy was opposed to the building of many fortresses in the East, on the ground that it would not be possible to garrison them. He was afraid of the vast schemes of Albuquerque, and wrote to the King, alleging that Albuquerque had disobeyed orders by his conduct at Ormuz. Almeida's opposition to the policy of Albuquerque was increased by a personal grievance owing to the news which arrived in {61} 1508, that Albuquerque was his destined successor at the close of three years of government. When, therefore, Albuquerque reached Cannanore, in December 1508, he found that the Viceroy was prejudiced against him and had received the mutinous captains with honour; and on Albuquerque's requesting the Viceroy to hand over the government to him, Almeida replied that his term did not expire till January 1509, and that he desired to defeat the Egyptian fleet of Emir Husain and to wreak vengeance for the death of his son, Dom Lourenco. Albuquerque acknowledged the force of these arguments, and retired to Cochin, where he remained inactive until Almeida's return, in March 1509, after the great victory off Diu.

[Footnote 7: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. i. p. 206.]

Albuquerque again demanded that Almeida should resign the government to him. But the Viceroy, influenced by Joao da Nova and the other captains, who had good cause to fear Albuquerque's anger, persistently refused. They drew up a requisition to the Viceroy, which they got signed by many other officers, stating that Affonso de Albuquerque 'was a man of great inaptitude, and covetous, and of no sense, and one who knew not how to govern anything, much less so great a charge as the Empire of India.'[8] The Viceroy received this petition favourably. In August, 1509, he ordered Albuquerque to be imprisoned at Cannanore; he had a regular indictment in ninety-six counts drawn up against him; he declared his intention of sending him to {62} Portugal in chains; and he tried to induce Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, who had just arrived from Portugal, to take over the government of India. So great was the Viceroy's wrath against Albuquerque that he gave orders for the destruction of all the houses in which Albuquerque had lived at Cochin, and took out of them everything that was to be found there; for he said that it was a case of treason, and very necessary that Albuquerque should be punished with rigour.

[Footnote 8: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. ii. p. 33.]

Matters remained in this state for two months, and the native princes on the Malabar coast, especially the Raja of Cochin, were at a loss to understand the causes of these quarrels, for it had been a proud boast of the Portuguese that they would obey even a cabin boy who held the King's commission. The hopes of the Zamorin of Calicut began to revive, and it was fortunate for the Portuguese that, in October 1509, a fresh fleet arrived at Cannanore, under the command of Dom Fernao de Coutinho, Marshal of Portugal. This powerful nobleman was a relative of Albuquerque, and at once released him from custody. With Albuquerque on board, the Marshal sailed to Cochin, and he insisted that, in compliance with the royal mandate, Albuquerque should be immediately recognised as Governor of India.

Dom Francisco de Almeida saw that it was necessary for him to yield. He handed over the government on November 5 to Albuquerque, and on November 10, 1509, he left Cochin. His murder {63} by savages at Saldanha Bay has been already noticed, and it is sad to have to narrate that he died without having been reconciled to his successor in the government of India. The Commentaries of Albuquerque imply that it was Albuquerque's fault that a reconciliation was not made, but, considering his conduct towards his greatest enemy, Joao da Nova, this does not seem to be probable; for it is written:—

'Joao da Nova died at Cochin in July 1509, so reduced in circumstances that he had no one to care for him; but Affonso de Albuquerque forgot all that he had been guilty of towards himself, and only held in memory that this man had been his companion in arms, and had helped him in all the troubles connected with the conquest of the kingdom of Ormuz like a gallant knight, and he ordered him to be buried at his own expense, with the usual display of torches, and himself accompanied the body to the grave, clad all in mourning, a thing the Viceroy would not have done.'[9]

[Footnote 9: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. ii. p. 49.]




The Conquest of Goa

It was on November 5, 1509, almost a year after he had reached India from his campaign in the Arabian seas, that Affonso de Albuquerque took up office as Governor and Captain-General of the Portuguese possessions in Asia. King Emmanuel had not conferred upon him the title of Viceroy, which had been held by his predecessor—probably because he had no right to the prefix Dom, or Lord. His powers, however, were as great as those exercised by Dom Francisco de Almeida, and he received a special patent granting him authority to confer Moradias, or palace pensions, for services rendered. There can be no doubt that during the months in which he had been kept out of his office by the intrigues of his enemies with the Viceroy Almeida, Albuquerque had carefully considered the state of affairs in India, for he struck the keynotes of his future policy immediately after taking up office.

The state of Southern India, and especially of the Malabar coast, was at this time very favourable to the {65} aspirations of the Portuguese. The Hindu Rajas, with the exception of the Zamorin of Calicut, were greatly opposed to the monopoly by the Moplas of the commerce of their dominions. These Arab traders were as completely foreigners to the races of Southern India as the Portuguese themselves. They made proselytes to their religion, as the Portuguese afterwards endeavoured to do, but the Muhammadan converts were not favourably regarded either by the Rajas or their Brahman ministers.

The most important ruler in Southern India was the Raja of Vijayanagar or Narsingha. His power was still great, but it was threatened by the Muhammadan dynasties established in the Deccan, which eventually destroyed the power of the Vijayanagar kingdom at the battle of Talikot in 1565. But when Albuquerque took up his office the Hindu kingdom was still powerful, and it might have been able with the assistance of the Portuguese to resist the advance of the Muhammadans.

The Portuguese felt none of the hatred which they showed to the disciples of Islam towards the Hindus. They had found to their great delight that the Christian religion flourished on the Malabar coast, and that the native Christians[1] were a prosperous and thriving community. They inclined to believe that the Hindus or Krishna-worshippers believed in a form of Christianity. The grounds for their belief were very {66} slight, but sufficient to impress ardent Christians like Albuquerque himself. One of the first designs of the great Governor was to strike up a cordial alliance with the Hindu rulers. The friendship which the Raja of Cochin had consistently shown to the Europeans gave him confidence, and one of his earliest measures was to send a Franciscan friar, Frei Luis, on a special embassy to the Raja of Vijayanagar. The aim of this embassy was to induce the Raja to attack the Zamorin of Calicut by land while the Portuguese attacked him by sea, but there was also a general desire expressed to make an alliance with the Raja.

[Footnote 1: On the early history of Christianity in India, see Hunter's Indian Empire, chapter ix, pp. 229-241.]

Frei Luis was directed to state in the name of Albuquerque:

'The King of Portugal commands me to render honour and willing service to all the Gentile Kings of this land and of the whole of Malabar, and that they are to be well treated by me, neither am I to take their ships nor their merchandise; but I am to destroy the Moors [Muhammadans], with whom I wage incessant war, as I know he also does; wherefore I am prepared and ready to help him with the fleets and armies of the King, my Lord, whensoever and as often as he shall desire me to do so; and I likewise, for my part, expect that he will help us with his army, towns, harbours, and munitions, and with everything that I may require from his kingdom; and the ships which navigate to his ports may pass safely throughout all the Indian sea, and receive honour and good treatment at the hands of the fleets and fortresses of the King of Portugal.'

Albuquerque goes on to say—

'And so I intend to drive out of Calicut the Moors, who {67} are the people that furnish the Zamorin with all the revenue that he requires for the expenses of war, and after this is over I shall give my attention forthwith to the affairs of Goa, wherein I can help in the war against the King of the Deccan.'

Albuquerque then adds that Ormuz now belongs to the King of Portugal, and that—

'the horses of Ormuz shall not be consigned except to Baticala [Bhatkal] or to any other port he [the Raja of Vijayanagar] pleases to point out where he can have them, and shall not go to the King of the Deccan, who is a Moor and his enemy.'[2]

[Footnote 2: Instructions to Frei Luis; Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. ii. pp. 74-77.]

These instructions make evident the attitude of Albuquerque, his desire to earn the friendship of Hindu rulers and his unrelenting enmity to all Muhammadans. He had not the absurd notion which Almeida attributed to him of desiring to establish a direct Portuguese rule all over India. He wished rather to pose as the destroyer of Muhammadanism and the liberator of the natives. In return for this service Portugal was to control the commerce of India with Europe. The attitude is not very different from that adopted by the English 300 years later, and it is a remarkable conception for a statesman at the very beginning of the sixteenth century.

Before however Albuquerque was able to combine operations with the Hindu Raja of Narsingha he was forced, against his better judgment, to make an immediate attack unaided upon Calicut. Dom Fernao de {68} Coutinho, the Marshal, insisted on this expedition against the Zamorin, on the ground that the King had ordered him to destroy Calicut before he returned to Portugal. The prudent Albuquerque endeavoured to dissuade the Marshal, but the headstrong young nobleman insisted on having his way. The entire military force of the Portuguese in India sailed for Calicut, and on Jan. 4, 1510, a landing was effected in front of the city. Albuquerque desired that a halt should then be made, as the men were very wearied, and could not bear the weight of their arms by reason of the great heat,—but in vain. He found himself forced to comply with the wishes of his impetuous relative, but he did his best to assure a safe retreat from the disaster, which he foresaw, by ordering Dom Antonio de Noronha, after burning the ships in the port, to remain in reserve with 300 men. Albuquerque then proceeded to follow the Marshal, who was rapidly making his way towards the Zamorin's palace. As the Marshal moved forward—

'There came against him twenty or thirty Nairs, armed with swords and shields, shouting aloud in their accustomed manner. When he caught sight of them coming against him he began to chuckle, and said to Gaspar Pereira, who was close beside him:—"Is this your Calicut that you terrify us all with in Portugal?" Gaspar Pereira replied that he would think differently before long; for he would wager that, if they could that day penetrate to the houses of the Zamorin, those little naked blacks would give them trouble enough. The Marshal replied:—"This is not the kind of people who will give me any trouble."[3]

[Footnote 3: Albuquerque's Commentaries, vol. ii. p. 67.]

{69} The Portuguese vanguard under the Marshal managed to reach the Zamorin's palace, but the men soon scattered to plunder and got into disorder. They burnt the palace, but were hotly attacked by the Nairs when they endeavoured to retreat. More than eighty of the Portuguese were killed as they retired, including the Marshal and ten or twelve of the principal officers. Albuquerque himself was wounded, and all the invaders would probably have been cut to pieces but for the gallant conduct of the reserve under the command of Dom Antonio de Noronha. After this repulse, which was the most serious the Portuguese had sustained in India, Albuquerque returned to Cochin.

It is interesting to compare the account of this attack on Calicut, as given by Sheikh Zin-ud-din in his historical work called the Tohfut-ul-mujahideen, which was written in the sixteenth century:—

'Now on Thursday, the 22nd day of the month of Ramzan, in the year of the Hejira 915, the Franks made a descent upon Calicut, committing great devastation and burning the Jama Mosque which was built by Nakuz Miscal; and they attacked also the palace of the Zamorin, hoping to obtain possession of it, as that prince was absent, being engaged in war in a distant part of his dominions. But the Nairs that had been left behind at Calicut, having united against these invaders, made an assault upon them, and succeeded in ejecting them from the palace, killing at the same time nearly 500 of their party; a great number also were drowned, and the few that escaped were saved by flying on board their vessels; having been entirely defeated in their designs by the permission of God Most High. Now, both {70} before this time and after it, they made various descents upon the dominions of the Zamorin, burning in these attacks in all nearly fifty vessels that were lying near his shores, and conferring martyrdom upon upwards of seventy of the faithful.'[4]

[Footnote 4: Tohfut-ul-mujahideen, translated by Lieut. M. J. Rowlandson for the Oriental Translation Fund, 1833; pp. 97-99.]

After this serious disaster, which seemed an evil omen for Albuquerque's governorship, the great captain returned to Cochin to be healed of his wounds. Sickness however could not repress his energies, and he soon equipped his fleet afresh and took on board 1000 Portuguese soldiers. With this fleet he intended to sail to the Red Sea. Duarte de Lemos, who had succeeded him as Captain of the Ethiopian and Arabian Seas, earnestly implored the Governor to bring him help at once, alleging that his ships were rotten and unable to defend the island and fortress of Socotra. Albuquerque was well acquainted with King Emmanuel's desire to put an end to the Muhammadan commerce by way of the Red Sea. It was the notion which he had himself advocated to the King, and its execution was one of the principal aims of his policy. He desired also to return to Ormuz in order to punish the Minister, Cogeatar, and firmly establish Portuguese influence in the Persian Gulf. He therefore left Cochin with twenty-three ships on Feb. 10, 1510, and on his way to the island of Anchediva [Anjidiv], whence he intended to start for Arabia, he anchored off the port of Mergeu [Mirjan]. {71} He there considered an alternative scheme of campaign, namely, to attack Goa, for it was suggested to him by a native pirate or corsair captain, named Timoja or Timmaya, that it was a particularly suitable time for a sudden attack upon that central port.

This man played a most important part in the history of Portuguese conquest in India. He is reported to have been a Muhammadan by Correa, and, more correctly, a Hindu in the Commentaries of Albuquerque. The first Portuguese captain who had relations with this pirate was Dom Vasco da Gama during his second voyage to India in 1502. Correa says that certain ships—

1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse