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Francisco de Almeida

Francisco de Almeida

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Dom Francisco de Almeida (fɾɐ̃ˈsiʃku dɨ aɫˈmɐjðɐ), also known as "the Great Dom Francisco" (born ca. 1450 at Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

; died March 1, 1510 at Table Bay
Table Bay
Table Bay is a natural bay on the Atlantic Ocean overlooked by Cape Town and is at the northern end of the Cape Peninsula, which stretches south to the Cape of Good Hope. It was named because it is dominated by the flat-topped Table Mountain.Bartolomeu Dias was the first European to explore this...

, Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

), was a Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 nobleman, soldier and explorer
Exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

. He distinguished himself as a counsellor to King John II of Portugal
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

 and later in the wars against the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 and in the conquest of Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

 in 1492. In 1503 he was appointed as the first governor and viceroy of the Portuguese State of India
Portuguese India
The Portuguese Viceroyalty of India , later the Portuguese State of India , was the aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India.The government started in 1505, six years after the discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, with the nomination of the first Viceroy Francisco de...

 (Estado da Índia). Almeida is credited with establishing Portuguese hegemony in the Indian Ocean, with his victory at the naval Battle of Diu
Battle of Diu
The Battle of Diu sometimes referred as the Second Battle of Chaul was a naval battle fought on 3 February 1509 in the Arabian Sea, near the port of Diu, India, between the Portuguese Empire and a joint fleet of the Sultan of Gujarat, the Mamlûk Burji Sultanate of Egypt, the Zamorin of Kozhikode...

 in 1509. Before Almeida could return to Portugal, he lost his life in 1510. His son Lourenço de Almeida
Lourenço de Almeida
Lourenço de Almeida , son of Francisco de Almeida, acting under him, distinguished himself in the Indian Ocean, and made Ceylon tributary to Portugal...

 too was killed in the Battle of Chaul in 1508.

Exploits as soldier


As was customary for men in his social circle, he joined the military at a young age. In 1476 he took part in the Battle of Toro
Battle of Toro
The Battle of Toro was a Royal battle from the War of the Castilian Succession, fought on 1 March 1476, near the city of Toro, between the Castilian troops of the Catholic Monarchs and the Portuguese-Castilian forces of Afonso V and Prince John....

. He then fought in conflicts in different parts of Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and in 1492 participated in the Christian conquest of Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

 on the side of the Castilians
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

.

Mission to the east




In 1503 King Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

 appointed Almeida, then in his mid 50s, as the first viceroy of Portuguese India
Portuguese India
The Portuguese Viceroyalty of India , later the Portuguese State of India , was the aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India.The government started in 1505, six years after the discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, with the nomination of the first Viceroy Francisco de...

 (Estado da Índia). With an armada of 22 ships, including 14 carrack
Carrack
A carrack or nau was a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in 15th century Western Europe for use in the Atlantic Ocean. It had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle, forecastle and bowsprit at the stem. It was first used by the Portuguese , and later by the Spanish, to explore and...

s and 6 caravel
Caravel
A caravel is a small, highly maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave her speed and the capacity for sailing to windward...

s, Almeida departed from Lisbon on March 25, 1505. The armada carried a crew of 1,000 and 1,500 soldiers. The flagship
Flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 was the carrack São Rafael captained by Fernão Soares. The mission's primary aims were to bring the spice trade under Portuguese control, to construct forts along the east African and Indian coasts, to further Portuguese spice trade through alliances with local chieftains, besides constructing trading posts.

African conquest


Almeida rounded the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

 and entered African coastal waters again at Sofala
Sofala
Sofala, at present known as Nova Sofala, used to be the chief seaport of the Monomotapa Kingdom, whose capital was at Mount Fura. It is located on the Sofala Bank in Sofala Province of Mozambique.-History:...

 and the Island of Mozambique
Island of Mozambique
The Island of Mozambique lies off northern Mozambique, between the Mozambique Channel and Mossuril Bay. It has a population of around 14,000 people and is part of Nampula Province.-History:...

, whence they proceeded northwards to the coastal settlement of Kilwa. In July 1505 they employed 8 ships to attack and conquer the ca 4,000 strong population of this harbour town. Because of the good harbour that the town provided, sufficient for anchoring ships up to 500 tons, the Portuguese decided to build a fort here. For this purpose Pêro Ferreira and a crew of 80 soldiers remained in the town.

In August 1505 the Portuguese arrived at Mombasa
Mombasa
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya. Lying next to the Indian Ocean, it has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the centre of the coastal tourism industry....

, a coastal port further north. The city with a population of about 10,000 was conquered in heavy combat against the troops of the local Arab sheik. The city was plundered and torched. The Portuguese were assisted in this attack by a Mombasa enemy, the Sultan of Melinde
Malindi
Malindi is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Galana River, lying on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. The population of Malindi is 117,735 . It is the capital of the Malindi District.Tourism is the major industry in Malindi. The city is...

. The same month a caravel of Almeida's fleet captained by John (João) Homere captured Zanzibar
Zanzibar
Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

 island and claimed it for Portugal.

Viceroy in India




On 25 March 1505, Francisco de Almeida was appointed Viceroy of India, on the condition that he would set up four forts on the south western Indian coast: at Anjediva Island
Anjadip Island
Anjadip Island is an island in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Canacona in the South Goa district, Goa, India. Legally and constitutionally, it remains a part of Goa, although there is a widespread misconception that it is a part of the Karnataka state off whose coast it lies.-History:Anjediva,...

, Cannanore
Kannur
Kannur , also known as Cannanore, is a city in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of the District of Kannur and 518km north of state capital Trivandrum. During British rule in India, Kannur was known by its old name Cannanore, which is still in...

, Cochin and Quilon
Quilon
Quilon may refer to,* Venad, a former state on Malabar Coast, India* Kollam , Kerala state, India* Kollam district, Kerala state...

. Francisco de Almeida left Portugal with a fleet of 22 vessels with 1,500 men.

On 13 September, Francisco de Almeida reached Anjadip Island
Anjadip Island
Anjadip Island is an island in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Canacona in the South Goa district, Goa, India. Legally and constitutionally, it remains a part of Goa, although there is a widespread misconception that it is a part of the Karnataka state off whose coast it lies.-History:Anjediva,...

, where he immediately started the construction of Fort Anjediva
Fort Anjediva
Fort Anjediva, built on the Anjadip Island, off the coast of the Indian state of Karnataka but under the administrative jurisdiction of the Indian state of Goa, was once under Portuguese rule. It has also in its vicinity an ancient church on the island called the Church of Our Lady of Springs built...

. On 23 October, he started, with the permission of the friendly ruler Kōlattiri, the building of St. Angelo Fort
St. Angelo Fort
St. Angelo Fort , is a fort facing the Arabian Sea, situated 3 km from the town of Kannur, a city in Kerala state, south India.-History:...

 in Cannanore
Kannur
Kannur , also known as Cannanore, is a city in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of the District of Kannur and 518km north of state capital Trivandrum. During British rule in India, Kannur was known by its old name Cannanore, which is still in...

, leaving Lourenço de Brito in charge with 150 men and two ships.

Francisco de Almeida then reached Cochin in 31 October 1505, with only 8 vessels left. There he learnt that the Portuguese traders at Quilon had been killed. He decided to send his son Lourenço
Lourenço de Almeida
Lourenço de Almeida , son of Francisco de Almeida, acting under him, distinguished himself in the Indian Ocean, and made Ceylon tributary to Portugal...

 with 6 ships, who wantonly destroyed 27 Calicut vessels in the harbour of Quilon. Almeida took up residence in Cochin. He strengthened the Portuguese fortifications of Fort Manuel on Cochin
Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi is a region in the city of Kochi in the state of Kerala, India. This is part of a handful of water-bound regions toward the south-west of the mainland Kochi, and collectively known as Old Kochi or West Kochi. Adjacent to this is Mattancherry...

.

The Zamorin of Calicut prepared a large fleet of 200 ships to oppose the Portuguese, but in March 1506 his son Lourenço de Almeida
Lourenço de Almeida
Lourenço de Almeida , son of Francisco de Almeida, acting under him, distinguished himself in the Indian Ocean, and made Ceylon tributary to Portugal...

 intercepted Zamorin's fleet in a sea battle at the entrance to the harbour of Cannanore
Kannur
Kannur , also known as Cannanore, is a city in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of the District of Kannur and 518km north of state capital Trivandrum. During British rule in India, Kannur was known by its old name Cannanore, which is still in...

, the Battle of Cannanore (1506)
Battle of Cannanore (1506)
The Battle of Cannanore took place in 1506 off the harbour of Cannanore in India, between the Indian fleet of the Samorin and a Portuguese fleet under Lourenço de Almeida, son of the Viceroy Almeida....

 and inflicted heavy loss. Hereupon Lourenço de Almeida explored the coastal waters southwards to Colombo
Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

, modern Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. Meanwhile, the Zamorin succeeded in convincing the Kōlattiri of Cannanore of the true imperialistic motives of Portuguese in Kerala. The Kōlattiri was already annoyed and angered with the Portuguese for their violation of the safe conduct guaranteed to the ships of Muslim merchants of Cannanore. The Kōlattiri put up a common fight against the Portuguese besieging Fort St. Angelo Siege of Cannanore (1507)
Siege of Cannanore (1507)
The Siege of Cannanore was a four-month siege, from April to August 1507, when troops of the local ruler , supported by the Zamorin of Calicut and Arabs, besieged the Portuguese garrison at St. Angelo Fort in Cannanore, in what is now the Indian state of Kerala...

.

In 1507 Almeida's mission was strengthened by the arrival of Tristão da Cunha
Tristão da Cunha
Tristão da Cunha was a Portuguese explorer and naval commander. In 1514 he served as ambassador from king Manuel I of Portugal to Pope Leo X leading a luxurious embassy presenting in Rome the new conquests of Portugal...

's squadron. Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

's squadron had however split from that of Cunha off east Africa and was independently conquering territories to the west.

In March 1508, at the request of the Arab merchants of Calicut, an Egyptian fleet under the command of Amir Husain Al-Kurdi
Amir Husain Al-Kurdi
Amir Husain Al-Kurdi, , named the Mirocem or Mir-Hocem by the Portuguese, was a governor of the city of Jeddah in the Red Sea, then part of the Egyptian Mamluk Sultanate, in early 16th century. He stood out as admiral of the Mamluk fleet fought by the forces of the Portuguese Empire in the Indian...

 (Mir Hussain) of the Mameluk Egyptian
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt was the final independent Egyptian state prior to the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1805. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, Arabised...

 attacked and defeated the Portuguese squadron under command of Lourenço de Almeida at Chaul
Chaul
Chaul is a former city of Portuguese India, now in ruins. It is located 60 km south of Mumbai, in Raigad District of Maharashtra state in western India....

 in the Battle of Chaul. Lourenço de Almeida was killed in this battle and led to a temporary retreat by the Portuguese from the Indian waters.

Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 arrived at Cannanore at the close of 1508 and immediately made known an hitherto secret commission he had received from the King empowering him as governor to supersede Almeida at his term as viceroy. Almeida, determined to avenge the death of his son and free the Portuguese prisoners made at Chaul, refused to recognize Albuquerque's credentials immediately, and later arrested him.

In 1509, Almeida become the first Portuguese to set sail in Bombay. He sought Meliqueaz, to whom he had written a menacing letter, and the Mameluk Mirocem, fiercely investing at the naval Battle of Diu
Battle of Diu (1509)
The Battle of Diu sometimes referred as the Second Battle of Chaul was a naval battle fought on 3 February 1509 in the Arabian Sea, near the port of Diu, India, between the Portuguese Empire and a joint fleet of the Sultan of Gujarat, the Mamlûk Burji Sultanate of Egypt, the Zamorin of Kozhikode...

 on February 3, 1509 commanding a fleet of 23 ships near the port of Diu. He inflicted a decisive defeat on a joint fleet from the Mamlûk Burji Sultanate of Egypt
Burji dynasty
The Burji dynasty المماليك البرجية ruled Egypt from 1382 until 1517. It proved especially turbulent, with short-lived sultans. Political power-plays often became important in designating a new sultan. During this time Mamluks fought Timur Lenk and conquered Cyprus. Constant bickering may have...

, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, the Zamorin
Saamoothiri
Zamorin is the title used by the Hindu Eradi Samanthan kshatriya rulers of the erstwhile late medieval feudal kingdom of Kozhikode located in the present day state of Kerala, India....

 of Calicut
Kozhikode
Kozhikode During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikkode was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District...

 and the Sultan of Gujarat
Mahmud Begada
Sultan Abu'l Fath Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah I, popularly known as Mahmud Begada was the most prominent sultan of Gujarat. He was the great-grandson of Ahmad Shah I, the founder of the Muzaffarid dynasty, and of the city of Ahmedabad in the present-day state of Gujarat, India. He was known to be...

, with technical naval support from the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 and the Republic of Ragusa
Republic of Ragusa
The Republic of Ragusa or Republic of Dubrovnik was a maritime republic centered on the city of Dubrovnik in Dalmatia , that existed from 1358 to 1808...

 (Dubrovnik), that feared for its eastern trade links.

His victory was decisive: the Ottomans and Egyptians left the Indian Ocean, enabling Portuguese trade monopoly over Indian waters for over 100 years, into the 17th century when it was ended by the Dutch and English. Albuquerque was released after three months' confinement, on the arrival of the grand-marshal of Portugal with a large fleet, in November 1509.

Return and death


Almeida sailed for Portugal in December 1509 and reached Table Bay
Table Bay
Table Bay is a natural bay on the Atlantic Ocean overlooked by Cape Town and is at the northern end of the Cape Peninsula, which stretches south to the Cape of Good Hope. It was named because it is dominated by the flat-topped Table Mountain.Bartolomeu Dias was the first European to explore this...

 near the Cape of Good Hope, where the Garcia, Belém and Santa Cruz dropped anchor late February, 1510, to replenish water. There they encountered the local indigenous people the Khoikhoi. It is here the Admiral committed his greatest sin, one which he would pay for with the lives of his men and his own. After friendly trade with the Khoikhoi
Khoikhoi
The Khoikhoi or Khoi, in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography spelled Khoekhoe, are a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group, the native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen . They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD...

 some of the crew visited their nearby village where they tried to steal some of the locals' cattle. Almeida allowed his captains Pedro and Jorge Barreto to return to the village on the morning of March 1, 1510. The village's cattle herd was raided with the loss of one man, while Almeida awaited his men some distance from the beach. As the flagship's master Diogo d'Unhos moved the landing boats to the watering point, the Portuguese were left without a retreat. The Khoikhoi
Khoikhoi
The Khoikhoi or Khoi, in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography spelled Khoekhoe, are a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group, the native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen . They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD...

 sensed the opportunity for an attack, during which Almeida and 64 of his men perished, including 11 of his captains. Almeida's body was recovered the same afternoon and buried on the shore front of the current Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

.


Relatives and subjects


Almeida was the son of the 1st Count of Abrantes
Count of Abrantes
Count of Abrantes was a Portuguese title of nobility created by a royal decree, dated from June 13, 1476, by King Afonso V of Portugal, and granted to his 4th cousin, Lopo de Almeida....

 and one of a number of highly distinguished siblings including two bishops, an ambassador to the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 and the Portuguese head of the Order of Malta. His son, Lourenço, was killed in battle, but he was survived by a daughter, Leonor, who married Rodrigo de Melo, Count of Tentúgal
Count of Tentúgal
Count of Tentúgal was a Portuguese title of nobility created by a royal decree, dated from January 1, 1504, by King Manuel I of Portugal, and granted to Dom Rodrigo de Melo, son of Álvaro of Braganza and Philippa of Melo .Twenty nine years later, in 1533, King John III of Portugal granted him...

, precursors of the Dukes of Cadaval.

There is also a community of Goan Christians, who carry the surname Almeida in his honour.

Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

 (Fernão de Magalhães) accompanied Almeida to the east, but was promoted to captain and only returned in 1512 after losing that commission.

External reference


See also

  • Lourenço de Almeida
    Lourenço de Almeida
    Lourenço de Almeida , son of Francisco de Almeida, acting under him, distinguished himself in the Indian Ocean, and made Ceylon tributary to Portugal...

    , his son
  • 7th Portuguese India Armada (Almeida, 1505)
    7th Portuguese India Armada (Almeida, 1505)
    The Seventh India Armada was assembled in 1505 on the order of King Manuel I of Portugal and placed under the command of D. Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy of the Indies...

  • Exploration of Asia