ALBUQUERQUE, Matias de (1547-?)
Viceroy of India (1591-1597).
Born in Lisbon in 1547, Matias de Albuquerque was the son of Manuel de Albuquerque, captain of Elmina (son of Lopo de Albuquerque, commendator of Penamacor and frontier commander in Northern Africa), and of Dona Camila de Noronha (daughter of Rui Gomes da Silva, 2nd lord of Chamusca). From this matrimony was also born Andre de Albuquerque, who died in Ksar-el-Kebir. Matias de Albuquerque?s first years were spent under the supervision of his uncle, Afonso de Albuquerque, son of the homonymous Governor of India. A member of the Royal Council, Matias de Albuquerque soon departed to India (1566), and gradually built reputation as a valiant soldier and commander. Under the ruling of Viceroy Antao de Noronha, he fought against the Malabar people, and in 1570, following a request by Viceroy Dom Luis de Ataide, he succoured Goa. During the viceroyalty of Dom Antonio de Noronha, he accompanied Dom Diogo de Meneses in the endeavour to aid the fortress of Chale, which turned out to be unsuccessful as the stronghold had already surrendered. In March 1573, Dom Sebastiao rewarded the services of Matias de Albuquerque by appointing him captain of Hormuz. Upon his return to the kingdom, in 1574, he was warmly welcomed by the king, but he soon went back to India in 1576. He was assigned the position of provincial governor of the South with the main purpose of defending Malacca from the sultans of Aceh and Johor. In 1581, governor Fernao Teles de Meneses appointed him commodore of the Malabar Sea, putting him in charge of the supplies to Goa and of the fight against Malabar?s pirates. These goals were successfully achieved alongside Andre Furtado de Mendonça, a close friend of his. Upon the arrival of Viceroy Dom Francisco Mascarenhas in 1582, his position at that same captaincy was confirmed, and soon the Zamurin of Calicut was punished by having broken the peace treaty he had signed with the Portuguese India. At the end of that same year, the Viceroy granted him the captaincy of Hormuz, which he governed from 1584 to 1587. In the final stages of the Viceroyalty of Dom Duarte de Meneses, Matias de Albuquerque?s name was already mentioned for the provisional government of India if the offensive against Aceh, led by the Viceroy himself, happened, but it ended up not taking place due to the sudden death of the latter. Upon Dom Duarte?s death, in 1588, Matias de Albuquerque was the first in line for succession, but as he was back at the kingdom, the one to be appointed Viceroy of India was Manuel de Sousa Coutinho, second in line. Back at the kingdom, during his second stay (1588 to 1590), he married his cousin, Dona Filipa de Vilhena, daughter of Manuel de Sousa da Silva, killed in Ksar-el-Kebir, and of Dona Ana de Tavora. Appointed Viceroy of India, by royal letter dated from 18 January 1590, he left Portugal on 8 May of that same year, but only arrived to Goa on 15 May 1591, after solving some conflicts between the provincial governor of Mozambique and the General Magistrate in Eastern Africa. Manuel de Faria e Sousa refers in his works that due to the circumstances of being appointed governor following succession in 1588, Dom Filipe I had granted him two mandates to rule India.
Matias de Albuquerque started his administration by sending one of the great personalities of his viceroyalty, Andre Furtado de Mendonça, along with 20 war vessels, to Ceylon. The goal was to fight the king of Jaffanapatnam who was at war with the king of Candia, ally of the Portuguese. However, before arriving to Ceylon, Andre Furtado de Mendonça defeated three carrack ships from Mecca, fought against Malabar?s pirate Cotimuza, and won. This privateer, nephew of the famous privateer Cunhale, wished to expel the Portuguese from Colombo and from Mannar Island, using his fleet. The activities of these privateers dated back to the viceroyalty of Dom Antonio de Noronha. Only after the defeat of Cotizuma, whose armed fleet was seized, did Andre Furtado de Mendonça head to Ceylon where he managed to overcome the king of Jaffanapatnam, who died along with his first-born son. Facing defeat, the second-born son asked the captain for clemency. The latter accepted and appointed him sovereign of that territory, under terms to be defined by the Viceroy. Meanwhile, Matias de Albuquerque, informed of the battles against Malabar?s privateers, sent Dom Alvaro de Abrantes to fight them with a squadron, while Antonio de Azevedo Coutinho was dispatched north, where he took possession of the fortress of Colete.
During 1592, events in the African east coast were of major importance. After a small and unsuccessful siege by Africans to the fortress of Tete and the signing of a peace treaty, the Muzimbas murdered the captain of that fortress, Pedro Fernandes de Chaves, who was trying to help the captain of the fortress of Sena, Andre de Santiago, also under siege by Africans. After several encounters, which lasted until the following year and required the help of Dom Pedro de Sousa, governor of Mozambique, peace with the Muzimbas was finally achieved. However, it was not possible to avoid the death of many Portuguese, amongst which was Pedro Fernandes de Chaves, and the loss of many pieces of artillery to the enemy. Shortly after, the Muzimbas tried to infiltrate several Portuguese fortresses in the region, but were defeated in Malindi, by the donatory captain, Mendes de Vasconcelos, who afterwards dedicated his efforts to the stabilization of the region, not without facing some resistance. In the end of 1592, the Viceroy asked the king for a successor, as he felt displeased for being compelled to implement some unpopular measures from Dom Filipe I, such as the revoke of pensions paid to members of nobility (tenças) which had been granted by former governors and viceroys.
The most striking event of 1593 was the siege to Chaul, set by the Turk Melique, captain of the sultan of Ahmednagar, who broke peace settled by Governor Francisco Barreto, due to disagreements with the Viceroy. The siege, which lasted from April to September, was undermined with the help of the donatory captain, Diogo de Sa Pereira, of Dom Alvaro de Abrantes and of troops sent from Salsette. As the siege ended and the hill next to the fortress was taken, Malique?s succeeding captain, Faratecao, was imprisoned along with his family, and then shipped to the kingdom, where they converted to Christianity. While the celebration of that victory happened, the death of Raju, king of Sitawaka, in Ceylon, encouraged the Viceroy to send Pedro Lopes de Sousa to the region with the goal of recovering territories lost in the previous years. The intention was to proclaim the queen of Candia as the ruler of the whole island, but a local rebellion prevented the plan from moving forward. As a consequence, and with the incarceration of Pedro Lopes de Sousa, it was Dom Jeronimo de Azevedo who executed the rebels? leader, Domingos Correia, after ending the rebellion and being appointed as the new governor of Ceylon.
In the following year, after the loss of a carrack ship from China to Malabar hands, a new mission was assigned to Andre Furtado de Mendonça. The Viceroy made him responsible for the punishment of Calicut for that loss, and he succeeded by seizing vast spoils. Afterwards, the Viceroy headed to Ceylon where he appeased the opposition against the governor.
He was warmly welcomed to Goa, as his arrival coincided with the entrance of the fleet that had left the kingdom in the beginning of 1594. By the end of that same year, the archive of Goa was created by royal decree and its administration handed to Diogo do Couto, but not without the Viceroy?s opposition. This year was also marked by new attacks to Portuguese ships by Cunhale?s pirates and by some conflicts in the fortress of Solor, founded by Dominican friars, and to where the viceroy had sent the first donatory captains.
Little is known about the last two years of the viceroyalty of Matias de Albuquerque, except that it was the period when Cunhale also started to attack the Zamurin?s ships. Due to such circumstance, and because of his involvement in both the previous rebellions of the queen of Olaha against the Portuguese India and in the siege of Chaul in 1593, Viceroy Matias de Albuquerque suggested a renegotiation of the peace terms with the Zamurin of Calicut, in order to jointly defeat Cunhale. These negotiations were to be handled by Dom Alvaro de Abrantes, but they did not happen during this viceroyalty, only in the following. On 25 May 1597, Matias de Albuquerque handed government to Dom Francisco da Gama, 4th Count of Vidigueira, the last Viceroy appointed by Dom Filipe I. He arrived to Portugal on 2 August 1598, and there are no records about his political or military career from then on. He died in 1609 without descendents. Nonetheless, even with his ruling being the longest of the Portuguese India (6 years) during the second half of the 16th century, and of so little being known about him despite this, it is referred that he was the target of a judicial inquiry by the Crown, under the accusation of embezzlement of Royal Treasury funds for personal use. Manuel de Faria e Sousa states that these accusations were created by his political opponents. The author defends the reputation of the Viceroy by referring that not only did he leave the Royal Treasury with a balance of 80 000 cruzados and several important gemstones from Ceylon, but that he also was ?limp of one foot, but not of character?. The same author quotes Diogo de Couto on this, with only one difference: the latter states that the amount left by the Viceroy was 100 000 cruzados, not 80 000. Both authors defend that Matias de Albuquerque was one of the most worthy rulers of India. In this same line of thought is Father Felix Lopes, who kept a record of the Viceroy?s activities, quoted and worked by Wicki, where he demonstrates the close surveillance of the Viceroy over matters of Treasury and Justice.
COUTO, Diogo do, Da Ásia, XI, 13-35, Lisboa, Livraria San Carlos, 1974. SOUSA, Manuel de Faria e, Ásia Portuguesa, tradução de Maria Vitória Garcia Santos Ferreira, vol. V, Parte 1, caps. VIII-IX, Porto, Livraria Civilização, 1947. VIGNATI, Antonella,?Vida e Acções de Mathias de Albuquerque, Capitão e Viso-Rei da Índia? in Mare Liberum, nº 15 (Junho de 1998), s.l., CNPCDP, 1999, pp. 139-245; IDEM, nº 17 (Junho de 1999), s.l., CNPCDP, 1999, pp. 269-360.
WICKI, José, ?Matias de Albuquerque, 16º vice-rei da Índia, 1591-1597? in separata IV Seminário Internacional de História Indo-Portuguesa, pp. 1-22. ZÚQUETE, Afonso, Tratado de Todos os Vice-Reis e Governadores da Índia, Lisboa, Editorial Enciclopédia, 1962.
Author: Nuno Vila-Santa
Translated by: Marília Pavão