João da Nova

João da Nova

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João da Nova Xoán de Novoa or Joam de Nôvoa galician spellings, Juan de Nova, Spanish spelling, (born c. 1460 in Maceda
Maceda
Maceda is a municipality in Ourense in the Galicia region of north-west Spain.-See also:*A Agualada, Coristanco*Costoya...

, Ourense, Galicia (Spain) - died July 1509 in Kochi, India) was a Galician
Galician
Galician can refer to:* Something of, from, or related to Galicia * Galician language* Galician people, an ethnic group of Galicia, Spain* Galician wine, wine produced in Galicia, Spain*Galician cuisine- See also :* Galicia...

 explorer of the Atlantic and Indian
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 Oceans at the service of Portugal
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

. He is credited as the discoverer of Ascension
Ascension Island
Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the equatorial waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, around from the coast of Africa and from the coast of South America, which is roughly midway between the horn of South America and Africa...

 and Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Saint Helena , named after St Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha...

 islands.

The Juan de Nova Island
Juan de Nova Island
Juan de Nova Island is a low, flat, tropical island in the narrowest part of the Mozambique Channel, about one-third of the way between Madagascar and Mozambique at...

, in the Mozambique Channel
Mozambique Channel
The Mozambique Channel is a portion of the Indian Ocean located between the island nation of Madagascar and southeast Africa, primarily the country of Mozambique. It was a World War II clashpoint during the Battle of Madagascar...

, is named after him. The Farquhar atoll
Farquhar Group
The Farquhar Group belong to the Outer Islands of the Seychelles, lying in the southwest of the island nation, more than 700 kilometres southwest the capital, Victoria, on Mahé Island. The total land area of all islands in the group is less than 11 km², but the total area of the atolls measures...

 (in the Seychelles
Seychelles
Seychelles , officially the Republic of Seychelles , is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar....

) was, for a long time, known as the João da Nova islands.The appelation 'João da Nova islands' for the Farquhar atoll appeared in most European navigational charts until the 19th C, when they were renamed after British Mauritius governor Robert Townsend Farquhar
Robert Townsend Farquhar
Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar, 1st Baronet was an influential British merchant of the early nineteenth century who served as a colonial governor and Member of Parliament.During his lengthy service for both the East India Company and the British government,Farquhar gained a reputation as an...

, to avoid confusion with the Mozambique Channel island.
It is sometimes thought that the Agalega island (in the Mascarenes) was also named after him (although it is almost certain he never visited it).Theories behind the 'Agalega' name are reviewed by Robert Scott (1961) Limuria: The Lesser Dependencies of Mauritius

Biography


João da Nova was born in the nobility of Maceda
Maceda
Maceda is a municipality in Ourense in the Galicia region of north-west Spain.-See also:*A Agualada, Coristanco*Costoya...

, Galicia, then a constituent kingdom of the Crown of Castile
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...

. Still a young boy, he was sent by his family to Portugal
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...

, in order to escape the struggles between aristocratic factions known as the Irmandiño wars
Irmandiño
The Irmandiño Wars were two revolts that took place in 15th-century Kingdom of Galicia against attempts by the regional nobility to maintain their rights over the peasantry and the bourgeoisie...

. He soon adopted Portugal as his home country and his skills earned him the appointment by 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...

 as Alcaide menor (mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

) of 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...

 in 1496.

First Voyage to India


On 9 or 10 March 1501, João da Nova departed as commander of the third Portuguese expedition
3rd Portuguese India Armada (Nova, 1501)
The Third India Armada was assembled in 1501 on the order of King Manuel I of Portugal and placed under the command of João da Nova. Nova's armada was relatively small and primarily commercial in objective. Nonetheless, they engaged the first significant Portuguese naval battle in the Indian Ocean...

 to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, leading a small four vessel fleet under a joint private initiative of Florentine Bartolomeo Marchionni
Bartolomeo Marchionni
Bartolomeo Marchionni was a Florentine merchant established in Lisbon during the Age of Discovery.Bartolomeo Marchionni arrived circa 1468 at Lisbon as an agent to the Cambini. In a long career he become the most successful merchant and one of the richest men in Lisbon at the time...

Bartolomeo Marchionni, possibly the richest man in Lisbon then, was the chief merchant in sugar from Madeira island and had participated extensively in voyages to Guinea, Brazil, Madeira, and would finance several voyages to India. and Portuguese D. Álvaro of Braganza
Álvaro of Braganza
Álvaro of Braganza was the 4th son of Ferdinand I, 2nd Duke of Braganza and his wife, Dona Joana de Castro.-Biography:...

. On the outward leg of this expedition, in May 1501, Nova is believed to have sighted Ascension Island
Ascension Island
Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the equatorial waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, around from the coast of Africa and from the coast of South America, which is roughly midway between the horn of South America and Africa...

 in the South Atlantic. Nova originally named it ilha da Conceição (Conception Island). When 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...

 sighted the island again in 1503, on Ascension Day, he renamed it after that day.
After doubling the Cape
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...

, he is said to also have discovered what has since been called Juan de Nova Island
Juan de Nova Island
Juan de Nova Island is a low, flat, tropical island in the narrowest part of the Mozambique Channel, about one-third of the way between Madagascar and Mozambique at...

 in the Mozambique Channel
Mozambique Channel
The Mozambique Channel is a portion of the Indian Ocean located between the island nation of Madagascar and southeast Africa, primarily the country of Mozambique. It was a World War II clashpoint during the Battle of Madagascar...

.

Arriving in India, Nova established a feitoria (trading post)
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

 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...

 and left behind a factor (on behalf of the private Marchionni-Braganza consortium, not the Portuguese crown). On December 31, 1501, João da Nova's little fleet engaged the fleet of the Zamorin of Calicut in a battle outside of Cannanore harbor, the first Portuguese naval battle
Naval battle
A naval battle is a battle fought using boats, ships or other waterborne vessels. Most naval battles have occurred at sea, but a few have taken place on lakes or rivers. The earliest recorded naval battle took place in 1210 BC near Cyprus...

 in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

. Some historians have conjectured that Nova (or one of his captains) might also have visited the island of Ceylon at some point on this trip, four years before the first officially documented Portuguese visit by D. 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...

 in 1505-6.

Nova's armada left India in January 1502. On his return journey, Nova is said to have discovered the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Saint Helena , named after St Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha...

 on 21 May 1502, the feast day of Helena of Constantinople.Given this is the feast day used by the Greek Orthodox Church, it has been argued that the discovery was made on 18 August, the feast day used by the Roman Catholic Church (albeit that is very unlikely given that Nova is documented to have arrived in Lisbon on September 11, which would be far too soon for an August discovery). It has also been suggested that the island may not have been discovered until 30 July 1503 by a squadron under the command of Estêvão da Gama
Estêvão da Gama (c.1470)
Estêvão da Gama was a Portuguese navigator and explorer, discoverer of the Trindade and Martim Vaz islands .Estêvão da Gama was Vasco da Gama's cousin, son of his cousin Aires da Gama, as explained by Manuel de Faria e Sousa, in its work "Ásia Portuguesa"...

 and that da Nova actually discovered Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha is a remote volcanic group of islands in the south Atlantic Ocean and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying from the nearest land, South Africa, and from South America...

 on the feast day of St Helena.

1505-06


On 5 March 1505, he undertook another voyage to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 as captain of the Frol de la mar
Frol de la mar
Flor de la Mar or Flor do Mar was a Portuguese nau of 400 tons, which over nine years participated in decisive events in the Indian Ocean until her sinking in November 1511...

in the 7th Portuguese India armada
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...

 commanded by Francisco de Almeida
Francisco de Almeida
Dom Francisco de Almeida , also known as "the Great Dom Francisco" , was a Portuguese nobleman, soldier and explorer. He distinguished himself as a counsellor to King John II of Portugal and later in the wars against the Moors and in the conquest of Granada in 1492...

, the first Portuguese Viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 of India. Nova had been granted credentials by the king entitling him to be Captain-Major of the Indian coast fleet if suitable. In East Africa, the armada captured Kilwa
Kilwa Kisiwani
Kilwa Kisiwani is a community on an island off the coast of East Africa, in present day Tanzania.- History :A document written around AD 1200 called al-Maqama al Kilwiyya discovered in Oman, gives details of a mission to reconvert Kilwa to Ibadism, as it had recently been effected by the Ghurabiyya...

 (in which event Nova played a critical role relaying secret missives between Almeida and local pretender Muhammad Arcone) and proceeded to raid Mombassa.

After crossing the Indian Ocean, the armada spent some time erecting forts and raiding ports, before eventually arriving at Cochin in October. There D. Francisco de Almeida inaugurated his term as Viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 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...

, but refused to allow João da Nova to invoke his credentials as Captain-Major of the Indian coastal patrol. Almeida claimed that the Frol de la mar
Frol de la mar
Flor de la Mar or Flor do Mar was a Portuguese nau of 400 tons, which over nine years participated in decisive events in the Indian Ocean until her sinking in November 1511...

was too large to enter the Indian coastal inlets and lagoons and thus unsuitable as a patrol ship. Almeida offered João da Nova the option of switching to a 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...

, and sending the Flor back under another captain, but Nova chose to bring the Flor de la mar back to Lisbon himself. Almeida then appointed his own 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...

, as captain-major of the patrol.

Leaving India in February 1506, Nova's heavy-laden Frol de la mar, developed a leak in the hull in the environs of 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...

 and was forced to stop for repairs in the islands of the Mozambique Channel
Mozambique Channel
The Mozambique Channel is a portion of the Indian Ocean located between the island nation of Madagascar and southeast Africa, primarily the country of Mozambique. It was a World War II clashpoint during the Battle of Madagascar...

. He would spend the next eight months in the area repairing the ship, a delay prolonged by illness and contrary winds.

1507


He was still stranded with his leaky ship in February, 1507, when the 8th Armada, under command 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...

, arrived in Mozambique Island. Cunha helped complete the repairs, transferred its cargo to a Lisbon-bound transport, and annexed Nova and the Flor de la Mar into his own India-bound fleet.

João da Nova's took part in the Portuguese capture of Socotra
Socotra
Socotra , also spelt Soqotra, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. It lies some east of the Horn of Africa and south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island is very isolated and through...

 in August 1507. Much to his surprise, he was assigned to remain in Socotra with the Red Sea patrol, a detachment of six ships under D. 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 command, rather than continue with Cunha on to India. But his presence in the Red Sea patrol turned out to be a disturbance to Albuquerque, even if his exact role in the subsequent "mutiny of the captains" may have been somewhat murky. Besides his own frustrations, Nova regaled fellow patrol captains with tales of Indian riches, a much more attractive option than the barren coasts of Arabia they were assigned to patrol. In August–September, 1507, Albuquerque led his little squad into the Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman is a strait that connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then runs to the Persian Gulf. It is generally included as a branch of the Persian Gulf, not as an arm of the Arabian Sea. On the north coast is Pakistan and Iran...

 and began to raid a series of coastal cities in succession - Qalhat
Qalhat
The ancient city of Qalhat, or Galhat, is located just over 20 km north of Sur, in the Ash Sharqiyah Region of northeastern Oman.- Site Description :...

, Qurayyat
Qurayyat, Oman
Qurayyat is a small fishing village near Muscat, Oman. A popular stopping point on the way to Sur, Qurayyat is in itself also a very popular destination for Muscat.-External links:*...

, Muscat
Muscat, Oman
Muscat is the capital of Oman. It is also the seat of government and largest city in the Governorate of Muscat. As of 2008, the population of the Muscat metropolitan area was 1,090,797. The metropolitan area spans approximately and includes six provinces called wilayats...

 - signalling his intention to proceed in this manner all the way up the Arabian coast and across to the island of Hormuz
Hormuz Island
Hormuz Island , also spelled Hormoz, is an Iranian island in the Persian Gulf. It is located in the Strait of Hormuz and is part of the Hormozgān Province.-Geography:...

. The patrol captains, who were lured to the East Indies with dreams of quick and easy riches, balked at the prospect of a tiring succession of profitless, dangerous fights with insufficient men-at-arms. After Muscat, the exhausted João da Nova submitted a formal request to Albuquerque for permission to leave the patrol and proceed to India (ostensibly to request reinforcements from the viceroy Almeida). When this was denied, Nova protested and was placed under arrest. He was later pardoned and released, as his command was needed for the Battle of Hormuz
Capture of Ormuz (1507)
The Capture of Ormuz in 1507 occurred when the Portuguese Afonso de Albuquerque attacked Hormuz Island to establish the Castle of Ormuz. This conquest gave the Portuguese full control of the trade between India and Europe passing through the Persian Gulf....

 in October, 1507.

1508


Shortly after the battle, Nova once again was at the center of a renewed series of complaints, this time over the establishment of a fortress in the city of Hormuz. In early 1508, during the construction of the fortress, three of the patrol ships slipped away from Albuquerque's sight and set sail to India, intending to lodge formal complaints against Albuquerque with the vice-roy Francisco de Almeida
Francisco de Almeida
Dom Francisco de Almeida , also known as "the Great Dom Francisco" , was a Portuguese nobleman, soldier and explorer. He distinguished himself as a counsellor to King John II of Portugal and later in the wars against the Moors and in the conquest of Granada in 1492...

 in Cochin. João da Nova was not among them, but Albuquerque nonetheless decided to let him go as well, hoping that by this belated magnanimous gesture, Nova might argue on his behalf. He didn't. Once in Cochin, João da Nova joined the three other captains in opening a formal case against Albuquerque.

1509


João da Nova fought in the 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...

 in February 1509, his ship, the Flor de la Mar, being used by the vice-roy Francisco de Almeida as the flagship of the Portuguese battle fleet. In March of that year, Afonso de Albuquerque, by then in Cochin himself, invoked his own secret credentials to relieve Francisco de Almeida as governor of India. But João da Nova, along with the other captains, assembled a petition demanding that Almeida refused to yield it, characterizing Albuquerque as unfit to govern. In May of the same year, Almeida formally opened a council in Cochin to consider the reception of Albuquerque. Nova and the other patrol captains presented the case against him.

João da Nova died shortly after, in July 1509, just a couple of weeks before Almeida delivered the indictment and ordered Albuquerque's arrest. In spite of all this, Albuquerque is said to have personally paid for Nova's funeral in memory of his achievements in the Hormuz campaign.

See also

  • 3rd Portuguese India Armada (Nova, 1501)
    3rd Portuguese India Armada (Nova, 1501)
    The Third India Armada was assembled in 1501 on the order of King Manuel I of Portugal and placed under the command of João da Nova. Nova's armada was relatively small and primarily commercial in objective. Nonetheless, they engaged the first significant Portuguese naval battle in the Indian Ocean...

  • 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
  • List of maritime explorers

Sources