BARRETO, Francisco (1520-1573)
Governor of Portuguese India (1555-1558). Born in Faro, in 1520, he was a member of the Royal Council and a Knight in the Order of Christ. He was the second son of Rui Barreto, 4th lord of an entail and frontier commander in Algarve, and of Branca de Vilhena, daughter to the Chief Alcaide of Olivença. His brother Nuno Rodrigues Barreto inherited the entail owned by his father. Francisco Barreto married twice. His first wife was Dona Filipa de Meneses, daughter of the 1st Count of Tarouca, Dom João de Meneses; his second marriage was to Dona Brites de Ataíde, sister of Dom Luís de Ataíde, 3rd Count of Atouguia and prospective Viceroy of India. His choice of wives conveys an intention of social rising parallel to a military and political career intended to complement it. He left for India in 1547 and arrived there in 1548, already provided with the captaincy of Bassein (1549-1552). As an envoy to Kochi (1552) charged with supervising the ships carrying pepper supplies, and as a participant in the expedition to Ponda (February, 1555), he stood out during the time that Dom Afonso de Noronha and Dom Pedro Mascarenhas were Viceroys of India. He was appointed Dom Pedro Mascarenhas?s successor, having been the last governor of India during the reign of Dom João III and the first to hold the post when Dom Sebastião I ascended to the throne of Portugal.
Soon after taking up his position, on June 16th, 1555, Francisco Barreto had to overcome a fire that broke out in Goa. This occurrence was considered a bad omen at the time. A travel to Ponda came next, with the purpose of ensuring that the throne of Bijapur went to the Maleacão of the Portuguese sources. Once there, the Viceroy sent a contingent of 600 men under the command of Dom Antão de Noronha to take possession of all Concan, and appointed Dom Fernando de Monroi donatary captain of Ponda. Meanwhile, a new king had been enthroned in Bijapur with the support of Vijayanagar, known by the name of Meale. In spite of the victory of the Portuguese contingent, Dom Antão?s soldiers were incapable of preventing the Maleacão?s deposition. In his turn, the Meale, unhappy with the loss of territory, attacked the fortress of Ponda. In Diu, Dom Diogo de Noronha, though contrary to the appointment of Francisco Barreto, ended up accepting it. In Ceylon, Tribuly Pandar (as mentioned in the Portuguese sources), father of the king of Kotte, after leaving prison, turned against the Portuguese, with the help of Madune, king of Sitawaka. Several Portuguese settlements were attacked and numerous Christians were killed. War against Idalcão went on in India. The armada that set sail from Portugal at the beginning of the year played an important role in defeating Idalcão. Even so, Francisco Barreto ordered Dom Antão to withdraw from Concan, and Dom Fernando to leave Pondá.
In 1556, the political and military scene would remain turbulent. The coming of help from the armada that had arrived the year before enabled Dom Álvaro da Silveira, donatory capatain of Malabar, to cause a great commercial damage to the Zamorin of Calicut, forcing him to a peace proposal. At the same time, the fortress of Magalor, owned by the Queen of Olaha, was attacked and she was obliged to pay tribute to the Portuguese. After these accomplishments, Dom Álvaro da Silveira took up the command of an expedition to the Red Sea. Francisco Barreto entrusted him with the task of bringing Father Gonçalo da Silveira back from the Prester?s land, sending in the priest?s place the Bishop Dom André de Oviedo, who would later become patriarch of Ethiopia.
Dom André de Oviedo?s departure would mark the first Jesuitic mission into the Prester?s lands. The incidents affecting this armada in Suakin gave rise to the Turkish conquests and to threats impending on the Prester. By that time, the King of Basra conceived another plan of attacking the Turks with Portuguese support. Dom Álvaro da Silveira advanced to the city, but withdrew without providing any military help to that sovereign, in the course of a disagreement with the donatory captain of Ormuz. Francisco Barreto visited the Portuguese Northern trading posts and sent Tristão de Paiva on a mission to the Sultan of Gujarat, in a vain attempt to obtain the grant of Daman. Dom Diogo de Noronha expressed his disapproval at not having been informed of the mission. It was not the first time that the Portuguese tried to get hold of Daman. On a previous occasion, an offer had been made to grant Daman in exchange of the revenue from the Customs of Diu, and Dom Diogo had declined it. Meanwhile, Francisco Barreto conquered the fortresses of Assarim and Monora and handed over the captaincies of these places to António Moniz Barreto. Military expeditions razed down Dabul and other towns and villages in the region of Sindh. The King of Sindh turned to the Portuguese for help, seeking to avoid annexation in face of the Mogol expansionistic impetus, and 700 men came to his rescue, among them Dom Antão de Noronha. In Ceylon, the death of Tribuly Pandar encouraged Madune to go to war with the King of Kotte, a traditional ally of the Portuguese.
Just after his return to Goa, by early 1557, Francisco Barreto faced several attacks against the provinces of Bardez and Salcette, ordered by the Hidalcão. Goa fought against the siege of the enemy forces with the help of the armada arriving from Portugal. After long years of war, Idalcão finally sought financial recovery and ended up accepting the peace proposal that came from Estado da India. The time was ripe for Francisco Barreto to direct his attention towards the Northern Provinces. With his mind set on the fortification of Chaul, he sent an envoy to the King Nizamuxá in central India. As a result of the envoy?s arrest he sent a fleet under the command of Álvaro Peres de Sotomaior with instructions to block the sea entrance to the city. After the governor went to the city, Nizamuxá allowed the building of the fortress. Shortly after, Barreto appointed Dom António de Noronha for the vacant captaincy of Diu. An equally tense atmosphere could also be found in the Moluccas. D. Duarte de Eça, donatory captain of Ternate, kept the king of that island and his mother imprisoned. The local population formed an alliance with the King of Tidore and rebelled against the Portuguese who, faced with such a dangerous and complex situation, freed the imprisoned king, arrested Dom Duarte and appointed another donatory captain, Dom António Pereira Brandão. Still in the Moluccas, the Jesuit António Vaz succeeded in converting the King of Bacan to Christianity exactly at the time that the events concerning Ternate were taking place. Meanwhile, the governor of Ormuz replaced the donatory captain Dom João de Ataíde, appointing Dom Antão de Noronha, a man of importance within the government of India, for that captaincy. While these events were taking place, the grant of Macao to the Portuguese was being formalised in the Far East.
After a year of turbulent events, Francisco Barreto returned to Goa in the beginning of 1558, with the purpose of devoting himself to the organization of a fleet that succeeded in neutralizing the attacks to Malacca from the sultan of Aceh. Though the arrival of the Viceroy Dom Constantino de Bragança in September, appointed by Dona Catarina, who was then Portugal?s regent, prevented Barreto to carry on his intent, the sources of the time refer to this armada as the biggest that India had ever seen. On the subject of religion, this was the year when the dioceses of Kochi and Malacca were founded and their first bishops appointed. This fact demonstrates the growing importance of the missionary ventures in the Empire, further encouraged by the introduction of typography in Goa as early as 1556. On 3rd September, Barreto handed the governorship to his successor, Dom Constantino de Bragança, after having held the post for three years and three months. He is described by Manuel de Faria e Sousa as a valiant soldier: ?A prudent, valiant, and most liberal knight was Francisco Barreto, and his governorship was one for which India is still longing for.?(SOUSA, Manuel de Faria e, Ásia Portuguesa, tradução de Manuel Burquets de Aguiar, vol. III, Part 2, Chapter XI, Porto, Livraria Civilização, 1945).
Though he left India in 1559 he wouldn?t arrive in Portugal until 1561. After a few years in obscure retreat, he participated in 1564 in the Castilian conquest of the fortress of Pinhão de Beles, under Filipe II sovereignty. In 1559 he was appointed chief commander of the galleys, a position he never held due to his being charged shortly after with the conquest of the gold mines of Monomotapa. He left for the region bearing the title of governor and provided with a regiment, miners and other technicians. This was surely connected to the appeal exerted at the time by the Castilian myths of El Dorado and to the growing tendency towards the territorialisation of the Empire. What was expected from Francisco Barreto in Eastern Africa (1571-1573) is characteristic of the period of Dom António de Noronha?s viceroyalty as well as of the early days of Dom Sebastião?s reign, when the King was engaged in several kinds of reform. In this context, the division of Estado da India (the State of India) into three autonomous governorships was effected, being one of them (the westernmost region, comprehending all African territories under Portugal?s rule within Portuguese India) conceded to Francisco Barreto. Against this background Francisco Barreto left with the Jesuit Francisco de Monclaros, three ships and 1000 soldiers, with the mission of ?avenging? the death of the missionary Diogo da Silveira and of disciplining the local populations. In the midst of several misunderstandings with the Jesuit priest and in spite of having defeated the King of Pate and of having moved forward along the rivers Zambeze and Sena with great logistical difficulties, Barreto fell ill and was unable to go any further. Notwithstanding this fact, he still had the opportunity to start important negotiations with the emperor of Monomotapa, from whom he received permission to go in search of the desired gold mines. The expedition, of great consequence as it was, since it represented the first attempt to make way into African inland territory, would be carried out by Vasco Fernandes Homem. Francisco Barreto died on the 9th of July 1573, and was buried at São Marçal?s chapel before his remains were brought to the Kingdom.
COUTO, Diogo do, Da Ásia, VII, ii-v, Lisboa, Livraria San Carlos, 1974, década VII, livros ii-v e década IX, caps. xxi-xxiii. EÇA, Duarte de, Relação dos Governadores da Índia (1571), edição de R. O. W. Goertz (Codex Goa 38), Calgary, University Printing Series, 1979, pp. 12-13. MARQUES, João Pedro, ?Francisco Barreto? in Dicionário de História dos Descobrimentos Portugueses, dir. Luís de Albuquerque, vol. I, s.l., Caminho, 1994, pp. 123-124. SOUSA, Manuel de Faria e, Ásia Portuguesa, tradução de Manuel Burquets de Aguiar, vol. III, Parte 2, cap. XI, Porto, Livraria Civilização, 1945, vol. III, Parte 2, cap. XI e volume IV, Parte 1, caps. XV-XVI. ZÚQUETE, Afonso, Tratado de todos os Vice-Reis e Governadores da Índia, Lisboa, Editorial Enciclopédia, 1962.
Author: Nuno Vila-Santa
Translated by: Leonor Sampaio da Silva.