MENESES, António Teles de (?-1657)
18th governor-general of Brazil.
There is no precise information as to the date of birth of Count of Vila Pouca ? we only know that he died in July 1657.
António Teles de Meneses was the son of Rui Teles de Meneses, the Lord of Unhão, and of his wife, Dona Mariana de Silveira, and the brother of the 1st Count of Unhão.
The 1st Count of Vila Pouca held office as captain of Diu, as general of the oar fleets and tall ships armadas, and as governor and governor-general of Estado da India, from 1639 to 1640. His brother-in-law, the Viceroy Count of Aveiras, replaced him in the capacity of ruler of India. When he returned to the Kingdom, he was given a high post in the royal navy and was made a member of the Councils of State and of War. In 1647, Dom João IV appointed him governor and governor-general of Brazil, and he held this position until 1649.
He left Lisbon with the mission of forcing out of Salvador the Dutch assailants who, under the leadership of Sigismundo Van Schoppe, eventually left the captaincy in order to attend to Pernambuco?s need of help.
Diplomatic and military events combined to start the Battle of Guararapes, on 19 April, 1648, a conflict which marked the rule of the Count of Vila Pouca with the defeat of the Dutch.
It was also during his rule that the General Company of Trade of Brazil was created in Lisbon, in rather similar terms to those of the Dutch West India Company. The Company?s first armada sailed from Lisbon on November 4, 1649, under the command of the 2nd Count of Castelo Melhor.
After ruling Brazil, António Teles de Meneses went to Angola where he served as governor until 1652.
He married twice. His first wife was Dona Maria de Castelo Branco, the heiress of Dom Jorge de Castelo Branco, captain of Ormuz, and of Dona Maria de Mendonça. After this childless marriage, a second marriage, also childless, followed, this time with his cousin, Dona Helena de Castro, the daughter of Álvaro da Silveira, a Knight of the Order of Christ, and of Dona Ana de Castro. He left a legitimized son, Aires Teles de Meneses.
When he returned to the Kingdom, he was appointed chief Ensign of Dom João IV, and again Viceroy of India, but death took him on his way to India, before he could occupy the position.
CAMPO BELO, Conde de, Governadores Gerais e Vice-Reis do Brasil, Lisboa, Agência Geral das Colónias, 1935 Nova história da expansão portuguesa, dir. Joel Serrão e A. H. Oliveira Marques, vol. VII, O império Luso Brasileiro: 1620-1750, coord. de Fréderic Mauro, Lisboa, Estampa, 1991. VARNHAGEN, Francisco Adolfo de, História Geral do Brasil: antes da sua separação e independência de Portugal, São Paulo, Ed. Melhoramentos, 4ªed., 1948. ZÚQUETE, Afonso Eduardo Martins, Nobreza de Portugal e do Brasil, Lisboa, ed. Enciclopédia, 1960-1989.
Author: Rita Domingues
Translated by: Leonor Sampaio da Silva