CUNHA, Matias da (?-1688)
27th governor-general of Brazil.
Matias da Cunha was the governor of Rio de Janeiro when he was appointed the successor of the Marquis of Minas, D. António Luís de Sousa Telo de Meneses, as governor-general of Brazil, a position that he held from 1687 to 1688.
On his return to Bahia, after an expedition against the natives of the Ceará, Matias da Cunha, fell ill with bicha, an epidemic which was rife since his predecessor?s rule. He therefore transferred his ruling power to Archbishop Dom Friar Manuel da Ressurreição and to the High Court Chancellor Manuel Carneiro de Sá: the first was to handle political matters whereas the second was to deal with judicial questions.
As soon as the news spread, the garrison of São Salvador took up arms in protest against unpaid wages, and threatened to sack the town, in particular the houses and property of the aldermen, if the town council didn?t honour the debts. The dying governor and the archbishop met the demand and shortly after Matias da Cunha died, on 24 October, 1688, with yellow fever.
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.
Author: Rita Domingues
Translated by: Leonor Sampaio da Silva