Afonso de Albuquerque


Afonso de Albuquerque : biography

1453 – 1515

Albuquerque prepared Malacca’s defences against any Malay counterattack, immediately building a fortress, assigning his men to shifts and using stones from the mosque and the cemetery. Despite the delays caused by heat and malaria, it was completed in November 1511, its surviving door known as "A Famosa" (‘the beautiful’). It was possibly then that Albuquerque had a large stone engraved with the names of the participants in the conquest. To quell disagreements over the order of the names, Albuquerque had it set facing the wall, with the single inscription Lapidem quem reprobaverunt aedificantes (Latin for "The stone the builders rejected", from prophecy of David, Psalm 118:22-23) on the front.

He settled the Portuguese administration, reappointing Rui de Araújo as factor, a post assigned before his 1509 arrest, and appointing rich merchant Nina Chatu to replace the previous bendahara, representative of the Kafir people and adviser. Besides assisting in the governance of the city and first Portuguese coinage, he also provided the junks for several diplomatic missions. Meanwhile, Albuquerque arrested and had executed the powerful Javanese merchant Utimuti Raja who, after being appointed to a position in the Portuguese administration as representative of the Javanese population, had maintained contacts with the exiled royal family.

Albuquerque also shipped over many Orfas del Rei to Portuguese Malacca.Orfas del Rei, literally translated as "Orphans of the King", were Portuguese orphan girls sent to overseas colonies to populate them ISBN 0415947715, ISBN 978-0-415-94771-8 Length 336 pagesISBN 0226734986, ISBN 978-0-226-73498-9 Length 219 pages

Missions from Malacca

Embassies to Pegu, Sumatra and Siam, 1511

Most Muslim and Gujarati merchants having fled the city, Albuquerque now invested in diplomatic efforts demonstrating generosity to Southeast Asian merchants, like the Chinese, to encourage good relations with the Portuguese. Trade and diplomatic missions were sent to continental kingdoms: Rui Nunes da Cunha was sent to Pegu (Burma), from where king Binyaram sent back a friendly emissary to Kochi in 1514Manuel Teixeira, "The Portuguese missions in Malacca and Singapore (1511-1958)", Agência Geral do Ultramar, 1963 and Sumatra, Sumatran kings of Kampar and Indragiri sending emissaries to Albuquerque accepting the new power, as vassal states of Malacca. Knowing of Siamese ambitions over Malacca, Albuquerque immediately sent Duarte Fernandes in a diplomatic mission to the Kingdom of Siam (Thailand), travelling in a Chinese junk returning home. He was one of the former Portuguese arrested in Malacca, having gathered knowledge about the culture of the region. There he was the first European to arrive, establishing amicable relations between the kingdom of Portugal and the court of the King of Siam Ramathibodi II, returning with a Siamese envoy bearing gifts and letters to Albuquerque and the king of Portugal.

Expedition to the "spice islands" (Maluku islands), 1512

In November, after having secured Malacca and learning the location of the then secret "spice islands", Albuquerque sent an expedition of three ships sailing east to find them, led by trusted António de Abreu with the deputy commander Francisco Serrão.A History of Modern Indonesia Since c.1300 Malay sailors were recruited to guide them through Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Ambon Island to Banda Islands, where they arrived in early 1512.Hannard (1991),page 7; There they remained for about a month, buying and filling their ships with nutmeg and cloves. António de Abreu then sailed to Amboina whilst Serrão stepped forward to the Moluccas but was shipwrecked near Seram. Sultan Abu Lais of Ternate heard of their stranding, and, seeing a chance to ally himself with a powerful foreign nation, brought them to Ternate in 1512 were they were permitted to build a fort on the island, the Forte de São João Baptista de Ternate (pt), built in 1522.