Afonso de Albuquerque

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Afonso de Albuquerque : biography

1453 – 1515

First conquest of Socotra and Hormuz, 1507

The fleet left Lisbon on April 6, 1506. Albuquerque piloted his ship himself, having lost his appointed pilot on departure. In Mozambique Channel, they rescued Captain João da Nova, who had had difficulties on his return from India; Nova and his ship, the Frol de la mar, joined the fleet. From Malindi, da Cunha sent envoys to Ethiopia, which at the time was thought to be closer than it actually is. Those included the priest João Gomes, João Sanches and Tunisian Sid Mohammed who, having failed to cross the region, headed for Socotra; from there, Albuquerque managed to land them in Filuk. After a series of successful attacks on Arab cities on the east Africa coast, they conquered Socotra and built a fortress at Suq, hoping to establish a base to stop the Red Sea commerce to the Indian Ocean.However, Socotra was abandoned four years later, as it was not advantageous as a base. See Foundations of the Portuguese empire, 1415-1580, Diffie, Shafer, Winius, p. 233

At Socotra, they parted ways: Tristão da Cunha sailed for India, where he would relieve the Portuguese besieged at Cannanore, while Albuquerque took seven ships and five hundred men in an unrequested advance towards Ormuz in the Persian Gulf, one of the chief eastern centers of commerce. On his way, he conquered the cities of Curiati (Kuryat), Muscat in July 1507, and Khor Fakkan, accepting the submission of the cities of Kalhat and Sohar. On September 25, he arrived with a fearsome reputation at Ormuz and soon captured the city, which agreed to become a tributary state of the Portuguese king. A few days later, the King of Ormuz was met by an envoy demanding the payment of tribute to Shah Ismail I from Persia. He was sent back with the answer that the only tribute would be in cannonballs and guns, thus beginning the connection between Albuquerque and Shah Ismail I (often named Xeque Ismael).According to Brás de Albuquerque it was Xeque Ismael who coined the term "Lion of the seas" for Albuquerque Immediately Albuquerque began building the Fort of Our Lady of Victory (later renamed Fort of Our Lady of the Conception), engaging his men of all ranks in the work.

However, some of his officers revolted against the heavy work and climate and, claiming that Albuquerque was exceeding his orders, departed for India. With the fleet reduced to only two ships and left without supplies, he was unable to maintain this position for long. Forced to abandon Ormuz in January 1508, he raided coastal villages to resupply the settlement of Socotra, returned to Ormuz, and only then headed to India.

Arrest at Cannanore, 1509

Albuquerque arrived at Cannanore on the Malabar coast in December 1508, where he immediately opened before the viceroy, Dom Francisco de Almeida, the sealed letter he had received from the King appointing him governor.Afonso de Albuquerque, like many others since then, took office as governor: when appointing the Viceroy Francisco de Almeida, the King promised not to appoint another in his lifetime, a vote of confidence in contradiction with the short term of three years he gave him, that may be due to the great fears about the sharing of power that this position represented. See Foundations of the Portuguese Empire, 1415-1580, p. 239, Por Bailey Wallys Diffie, Boyd C. 239, by Bailey Wallys Diffie, Boyd C. Shafer, George Davison Winius Shafer, George Davison WiniusIn the first months of 1508, the son of D. Francisco de Almeida, Lourenço de Almeida, died in dramatic circumstances at the Battle of Chaul and there are reports that the viceroy, an enlightened and incorruptible ruler, turned vindictive and cruel. The viceroy, supported by the officers who had left Albuquerque at Ormuz, had a matching royal order, but declined to yield, protesting that his term ended only in January and stating his intention to avenge his son’s death by fighting the Mamluk fleet of Mirocem, refusing Albuquerque’s offer to fight him himself. Afonso de Albuquerque avoided confrontation – which could have led to civil war – and moved to Kochi, pending instructions from Portugal, maintaining his entourage himself. He was described by Fernão Lopes de Castanheda as patiently enduring open opposition from the group that had gathered around Almeida, with whom he kept formal contact. Increasingly isolated, he wrote to Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, who arrived in India with a new fleet, but was ignored as Sequeira joined the Viceroy. At the same time, Albuquerque refused approaches from opponents of the Viceroy, who encouraged him to seize power.