Anthroponyms seta BERNALDEZ, João

He was Captain of one of the ships in the fleet commanded by Lançarote, sent in 1444 to the coast of Arguin, where they made the first great capture of slaves, 253 prisoners according to Zurara, a Portuguese chronicler. In 1446, under the command of Estêvão Afonso, a fleet of nine ships left Lagos to Guinea. Following the orders of Prince Henry the Navigator, the fleet stopped in Madeira Island to collect «vitalhas» [edible offal of pigs, calves and sheep considered then delicacies]; there, two other ships captained by Tristão da Ilha and Garcia Homem joined the fleet. They travelled to La Gomera Island, in Canary, and then to Gorée Island, where they failed to make some prisoners. The ship commanded by Tristão da Ilha and those commanded by Garcia Homem and Gil Eanes returned to the Kingdom while the remaining ships continued the voyage until 60 leagues (192 nautical miles) after Cape Verde, where they found a very large river (Rio Grande) and explored the backlands with the intention of capturing some slaves. They didn?t succeed and travelled to Arguin Island to get water supplies and then continued to the Cape of Ransom, where they captured 48 slaves. After they assured the economical sustainability of the voyage, the captains returned to the Kingdom, with the exception of Estevão Afonso.

The chancellery of King Afonso V mentions the appointment of a man called Fernão Rodrigues to serve as Royal Treasurer in Ceuta, in replacement of João Bernaldez, who had moved to Lisbon. The appointment dates back to July 18, 1446, and it is probably a reference to the same person.

ZURARA, Gomes Eanes de, Crónica dos feitos notáveis que se passaram na conquista de Guiné por mandado do infante D. Henrique, 2 vols., Lisboa, Academia Portuguesa de História, 1973-1981.

Author: Teresa Lacerda
Translated by: Ana Pereira

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