Diogo Rodrigues


Diogo Rodrigues : biography

1500 – 21 April 1577

Life and Legacy in Goa and Salsette

Governor of Salsette and Landlord of Colva

Dom Diogo Rodrigues set up his base in Goa, learnt the local language, was commander of the construction for the fort of GoaGeorge Schurhammer, Francis Xavier, his life and his time, Volume 2, Asia (1541–1549), 2nd Halband: India and Indonesia. (Herder: Freiburg and Vienna, 1971), pp. 96 and 108 and governor of the island of Salsette (later part of Bombay, present Mumbai) (called as ilha de Salcete do Nord at that time) as it was leased to him from 25 October 1535 to 1548J Gerson da Cunha,"The Origin of Bombay", New Delhi, 1900, Reprinted 2004, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 978-81-206-0815-3 after the Treaty of Bassein between the Portuguese viceroy Nuno da Cunha and Bahadur Shah of the Gujarat Sultanate that placed the islands into Portuguese possession from 1534. He was also known as Mestre Diego for his artistic contributions to the beautification of Salsette. Also in the defence of the fortress of Diu, Diu Fort whose reconstruction he was involved with, under the military leadership of Dom João de Castro in 1535 and the fort was considered impregnable later as it resisted for more than four centuries to multiple intrusion attempts. Diogo also owned the entire beach called "praia da Colva" (beach of Colva) in Goa that was passed on to his family descendants as a part of the family property, this is the same village where he constructed his huge residential house in 1551.

Captain of the Fortress of Rachol

Diogo was the Captain of Rachol in Salcette – Goa. Rachol was the chief town during the earliest Portuguese conquest. It was then a fortressDenis Louis Cottineau de Kloguen, "An Historical Sketch of Goa", Printed for the proprietor by William Twigg, at the Gazette Press, 1831, Harvard University, ark:/13960/t9x067m4t. and the church was considered as the first in dignity of Salcette (called as ilha de Salcete do Sul at that time); as this first church at Rachol and hence Salcette was built to completion in the year 1565, on the site of Hindu temples and was built in mud with a thatched roof. It can thus be called the mother church (Matriz) of the whole of South Goa and was named: Igreja da Nossa Senhora de Neves ; It was the first Archbishop of Goa, Dom Gaspar Jorge de Leão Pereira who personally visited Margão and surrounding areas to choose the location. After seeing all other places, he guarded an arrow into this ground at Rachol and ordered to build the church there, the Captain of Rachol (Capitão de Rachol) Diogo was appointed to do the needful.

José Nicolau da FonsecaJosé Nicolau da Fonseca, Historical and Archaeological Sketch of the City of Goa, Bombay: Thacker, 1878, pp. 47–48. Reprinted 1986, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 81-206-0207-2. has recorded that Diogo Rodrigues died in Colva, Goa and was buried inside this mother church (Matriz) of Salcette of which he was the Captain of the fort at that time called Igreja da Nossa Senhora de Neves at Rachol with his grave’s inscription reading: Aqui jaz Diogo Rodrigues o do Forte, Capitão desta Fortaleza, O qual derrubou os pagodes destas terras. Falleceu a 21 de Abril de 1577 annos. In English translation this reads: "Here lies Diogo Rodrigues (called) ‘O do Forte/ Captain of this Fortress, who destroyed the pagodas of these territories. He died on the 21st April of the year 1577." The grave inscription stone and his relics are still inside the church, near the altar of Igreja da Nossa Senhora de Neves from 1577.


  • Discovered Rodrigues Island :1528
  • Made a Fidalgo of the King of Portugal :1529
  • Governor of Salsette :1535-48
  • Captain of Rachol :1554-77
  • Lord of Colva :1550-77

Family and Lineal Descendants

D. Diogo had two sons namely Nicolau Roiz and Inácio Roiz from a woman belonging to the Prabhudesai family of Goud Saraswat Brahmin Hindu tribe . The family used the royal diminutive of Roiz instead of its simple form Rodrigues till the late 19th century as the family name. The standing monument in Colva, Goa is the existing structural evidence with inscriptions of the Roiz (Rodrigues) family in Goa. This monument was rebuilt to a bigger structure in 1857 and still stands intact from 2 May 1857, as one of the great grandsons of Diogo died suddenly due to illness at a young age of 38 years, namely Sebastião Francisco Roiz. The monument inscription reads: "Eis os restos de Seb F Roiz fala 18-8-1855 de 38 annos colla 2-5-57 ese pede aos viand pater no p’sua alma". In English translation: "This is the resting place of Sebastião Francisco Roiz who died on 18-08-1855 at 38 years of age and this monument was built in memory of him on the 02-05-1857 and for the resting of his family members". This wasis the only family in Goa with Roiz (Rodrigues) ancestry and one part of the descendants from his son Nicolau still live in the ancestral house that was built by D. Diogo in Colva, Goa and still owned parts of Colva beach property till the 21st century under Indian governance. The family monument is maintained by various family descendant members till date. On 18 February 2012, one of the great grandsons of D. Diogo; Shaun José Roiz Rodrigues visited Rodrigues Island, handed over informative materials of the ROIZ (Rodrigues) family to Perrine Joseph Louis Rosaire from the Rodrigues Regional Assembly, had an opportunity to see the archives managed by Aurele Auquetil Andre from the Francois Leguat reserve and also visited all the 14 municipalities or zones in Rodrigues.