NORONHA, D. Antão de (1520-?)
Viceroy of India (1564 ? 1568).
Born circa 1520, he was the son of Dom Joao de Meneses, donatary captain of Ceuta, and Maria Freire de Andrade, lady of Alcoutim. On his father?s side, he was the grandson of the 2nd Marquis of Vila Real (1499 ? 1524), Dom Fernando de Meneses. When his uncle, Dom Afonso de Noronha, left for India in 1550, he went along and became an important figure of that viceroyalty and, later on, of Dom Constatino de Bragança?s. In 1552, his uncle gave him the command of a fleet in the Persian Gulf, which was responsible for the taking of Al Qatif from the Turks and for an unsuccessful expedition to Basra. During 1552, he took part in several battles against the Turks in the Persian Gulf and, in 1553, he participated in the attack at the fortress of Chembe in India. In the same year, he was appointed by the viceroy to command the captaincy of Ormuz. As he headed there, he fought against Pirbec (a Turkish general, commonly known as Epir-Bey/Piri Reis), and defeated him in a naval battle. He was in charge of the captaincy until 1556, and again in 1559. Between the years 1556 and 1559, he actively participated in the government of Francisco Barreto, helping him in the fight against the new sovereign of Bijapur. In 1559, he went to the aid of the fortress of Bahrain, which was under the Turks? attack, and in 1561, returned to the kingdom with Dom Constantino, due to sickness. Member of the Royal Council and knight of the Order of Christ, he married Dona Ines de Castro, daughter of the 2nd Count of Feira, Dom Manuel Pereira, and Dona Francisca Henriques, daughter of the Chief Alcaide of Avis. There were no children born from this marriage. Appointed Viceroy of India by the regent, Cardinal Dom Henrique, on 24 February 1564, he set off to India on 19 March. He was chosen not only due to his high prestige and vast military experience in the fight against the Turks, but also because he was considered to be an honest and fair person by his fellow soldiers, having returned to the kingdom without any additional benefits to the captaincy of Ormuz besides his wage, which was something atypical for the majority of captains who left such post. Despite the good reputation, the first name to be appointed for Viceroy was Martim Afonso de Miranda. This nomination would allow the crown to save money, a concern expressed in several documents, but it did not go ahead because Miranda was married to an Indian woman, something which wasn?t socially acceptable at the time. The same economical concern is also evident in a royal prohibition which forbade viceroys and governors from granting rewards over 12 000 cruzados, and also ordered them to instruct all fortresses to lower their expenses. To sum up, although being a second choice, Dom Antao de Noronha was expected to be a great ruler.
On 3 September 1564, he arrived to India and after receiving the government from the hands of the Archbishop of Goa, Dom Gaspar de Leao Pereira, due to the disease of Dom Joao de Mendonça (provisional governor), he immediately decided to go to the aid of the fortified stronghold of Cannanore, whose siege was impending since the hostilities with Malabar had restarted, during the former viceroyalty. In order to help, he sent Dom Antonio de Noronha as commodore of a powerful aiding fleet, along with Gonçalo Pereira Marramaque, Dom Francisco Mascarenhas and Aires Saldanha. In the end of 1564, after an inconclusive naval and terrestrial battle, Dom Antao de Noronha decided to reinforce the aid to that fortress, in the beginning of 1565, through the dispatch of a new fleet of 3 ships with Dom Paulo Lima Pereira as commander. This fleet defeated the enemy in Batticaloa. The siege was nearly won by the people from Malabar, as the captain of the fortress, Dom Paio de Noronha, had decided to abandon it, but Dom Antonio de Noronha decided to fight back. In the battles, the action of people like Andre de Sousa and Gonçalo Pereira Marramaque was decisive for the Malabar defeat. In the fleet, also travelled Alvaro Pais de Sotomaior, who had been appointed by the viceroy to replace Dom Paio de Noronha in the captaincy of Cannanore. Meanwhile, in Ceylon, the spirits were still in turmoil due to the fifth siege of the city of Kotte, by the king of Sitawaka. Kotte?s ruler was a traditional ally of the Portuguese. In this siege, during which Pedro de Ataide, donatary captain of Ceylon, had a crucial role, it was necessary for Jorge de Melo, donatary captain of Mannar Island, to come and help by seeking the support of the viceroy and of the king of Candia. After the unsuccessful siege to Kotte, the enemy returned to Sitawaka. Consequently, and due to previous sieges, it was decided to move the capital city of the kingdom from Kotte to Colombo, a decision to which the orders of Dom Antao and his Council definitely contributed for. While these new charges happened in Ceylon, in Daman, Dom Antao de Noronha was forced to send a 4 - ship fleet to that fortified stronghold, in order to break the 3 000 Mughal horsemen siege. On board, was Aires de Saldanha. The siege was broken by the Portuguese, with the help of Tristao de Mendonça, donatary captain of Chaul. By the same time, Antonio Teixeira was received in Basra, due to the peace proposal in the Persian Gulf. But the year would not come to an end without Dom Antao appointing the Castilian Dom Fernando de Monroi for the command of two carrack ships and four galliots which would, later on, attack the fleet leaving Aceh for Mecca. The attack happened near the Maldives. It was also during this year that the Viceroy, following royal orders, instructed the captains of the fortresses to lower their expenses.
The year of 1556 started with the shock waves from the defeat and fragmentation of the kingdom of Vijayanagar, which had been imposed by the triple Islamic coalition and which would profoundly transmute Indian geopolitics, and motivate the wide attack on the State of India. Even so, in Cannnanore, war was heading to an end with a peace proposal being presented by the adversary to the State of India. Nonetheless, Marramaque still had time to get some takings and to destroy some gentile pagoda, spreading destruction everywhere. This persecution would find echo in the raids, ordered by the Viceroy in the territories close to Goa, against gentiles and Jews. These persecutions had the hand of the king behind them and were a clear sign of the development of Counter- Reformation dynamics. Soon after, Gonçalo Pereira Marramaque was sent to Moluccas to aid the Christians at Ambon Island, ending up involved in local conflicts in the following years. In Goa, a new fortress started being built, maybe predicting the difficult future siege to the city by the forces of the sultan of Bijapur, during the viceroyalty of Dom Luis de Ataide.
During the year of 1567, and after having sent the fleet of Diogo Lopes de Mesquita to Ternate, Dom Antao de Noronha organised an expedition against Mangalore where he wished to build a fortress, in order to prevent the Islamic occupation of that port on the coast of Kanara. After, the Portuguese moved onwards to occupy Onore and Basrur, with Dom Luis de Ataide. There were also the goals of dislodging some pirates from that port and punishing the queen of Olaha. Important figures of the viceroyalty took part in this expedition: Dom Jorge de Meneses (the Baroche), Dom Fernando de Monroi and Dom Francisco Mascarenhas. Still, the most relevant event of that year and the following was, without a doubt, the siege to Malacca by the sultan of Aceh, who was instigated and supported by the Turks. Such siege faced strong opposition from the captain of the fortress, Dom Lionel Pereira, and it substantiated the anticipation of a global Islamic alliance to attack the State of India. This alliance became historically known as the crisis of 1565-75. The Viceroy then sent a galleon and four galliots, under the command of Joao da Silva Pereira, to help. At the end of the year, the Ecclesiastic Council of Goa met, and exposed the abuses committed by several donatary-captains and governors, a clear sign of the growing influence of the Jesuits over the Viceroy.
The year of 1568 was marked by the victory in the siege of Malacca, made possible not only by the help sent by the Viceroy in the previous year, but also by the help of local people. As Gonçalo Pereira Marramaque arrived in Moluccas, he got involved in disputes with not only the locals, but also some Castilians who had settled in the Philippines since 1565. Throughout this year, the building of the fortress of Mangalore started. It was the last governmental decision taken by Dom Antao de Noronha, before he handed the position to Dom Luis de Ataide, on 10 October. Dom Luis de Almeida was appointed to do the surveillance of the sea of Surat and look for enemy ships. Fernao Teles de Meneses was part of his fleet which seized 3 ships. Leaving for the kingdom on 2 February 1569, Dom Antao de Noronha died in Angoche, on the Mozambican coast, and had a burial at sea. His right arm was taken from the body and sent to his uncle, Dom Nuno Alvares de Noronha, in Ceuta, according to his last wishes. He had ruled the State of India for four years.
The viceroyalty of Dom Antao de Noronha corresponds to the first period of the so called crisis of 1565-75. From all the fortified strongholds that were under siege during his viceroyalty, none fell into the hands of the enemy, something which only reinforces the military expertise of the nobleman. However, and due to the great silence with which Couto and Faria acknowledge him when evaluating his government, whether because of the majestic shadow of the following Viceroy or because of the expectations placed upon him, it should be noted that during this period not only military events dominate, but also some religious tensions, clearly present in the persecutions and ?revenges? against several gentiles. This fact results not only from the Counter-Reformation spirit and from the kingdom?s orders, but also from the growing importance given by Dom Antao de Noronha to the Jesuits, which initially he ostracized. The image he left was of ?a person with good nature, understanding and zeal? (SOUSA, Manuel de Faria e, Ásia Portuguesa, Manuel Burquets (translation), vol.IV, Parte 1, cap. IV, Porto, Livraria Civilização, 1945). He was also considered to be an honest man who did not squander the Crown?s resources, and who did not get involved in ?meaningless? fights. These images were strongly displayed by the sources of that period, which portray the growing decadence of the State?s values and habits in India, even during this ?military? viceroyalty.
CRUZ, Maria Augusta Lima, Diogo do Couto e a Década 8ª da Ásia, edição crítica e comentada, volume I, livros i-iv, Comissão Nacional para as Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses Imprensa Nacional Casa da Moeda, s.l., 1993. EÇA, Duarte de, Relação dos Governadores da Índia (1571), edição de R. O. W. Goertz (Codex Goa 38), Calgary, University Printing Series, 1979, pp. 15-17. SOUSA, Manuel de Faria e, Ásia Portuguesa, tradução de Manuel Burquets, vol. IV, Parte 1, caps. I-IV, Porto, Livraria Civilização, 1945. THOMAZ, Luís Filipe, A Crise de 1565-1575 na História do Estado da Índia, separata da revista Mare Liberum, nº9, s.l., 1995, CNCDP, pp. 481-519. ZÚQUETE, Afonso, Tratado de Todos os Vice-Reis e Governadores da Índia, Lisboa, Editorial Enciclopédia, 1962.
Author: Nuno Vila-Santa
Translated by: Marília Pavão