MENESES, Afonso Furtado de Mendonça Castro do Rio e (?-1675)
23rd governor-general of Brazil.
His date of birth is unknown; his death took place in Bahia, on 8 May, 1675.
The Viscount of Barabacena was the son of Jorge Furtado de Mendonça, the 4th Lord of Barbacena, and of Dona Mariana de Vilhena.
He took up a military career, and held the posts of artillery and cavalry general in Alentejo, military governor of Beira, and Counsellor of War.
In 1671, he was appointed governor and captain-general of Brazil, where he lived until his death, in 1675.
He committed himself to Brazilian inland reconnaissance campaigns, namely into the backlands of Piauí. In the process, he fell upon the rebellious natives with severe punishments and turned most of them into slaves. The exploratory missions into Brazilian inlands were closely connected with his interest for precious metals. He sent his only son, Jorge Furtado de Mendonça, to the Kingdom and commissioned him with the task of getting support for the exploration of a newly found silver deposit, but the discoverer died before giving details regarding the location of the deposit.
The governor sent a retaliatory expedition to Angola, with the purpose of inflicting punishment upon the sobas who had rebelled against Portuguese settlers.
Afonso Furtado de Mendonça died in 1675. A provisional board, formed by Field Marshal Álvaro de Azevedo, Judge António Guedes and High Court Chancellor Agostinho de Azevedo Monteiro, ruled until the new governor arrived. The High Court Chancellor died shortly after the governor and his place was taken by the chief judge Cristóvão de Burgos de Contreiras. He married his cousin, Dona Maria de Távora, daughter of João Furtado de Mendonça.
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