CASTRO, André de Melo e (1668-1753)
5th Viceroy of Brazil (1735-1749).
The 4th Count of Galveias was born in December1668, and died on 29 January, 1753.
André de Melo e Castro was the second son of the 1st Count of Galveias, Dinis de Melo e Castro, and the uncle of the 3rd Count, António de Melo e Castro, from whom he inherited the title. He decided to join the clergy while still a youth, and obtained his doctorate at the University of Coimbra. He went as far as being appointed dean for the ducal chapel of Vila Viçosa, but abandoned the ecclesiastical career in 1711. Dom João V resorted to his diplomatic talents and sent him on a diplomatic mission to the Pope. He arrived in Rome that year and took office in the capacity of nuncio-at-large of Clement XI. All major negotiations concerning ecclesiastical matters that took place during the reign of Dom João V received his personal attention.
In 1732 he was appointed governor and captain-general of Minas Gerais. The 4th Count of Galveias managed to increase the gold extraction, by exploring new areas on the environs of São Mateus River, where he found gold, silver and diamonds. He was assisted in this task by the superintendent of Minas Novas, José Pereira Dutra, from São Paulo. In 1736 he was appointed Viceroy of Brazil and ruled in this capacity until 1749. During his viceroyalty the colony of Sacramento ceased, once again, to be under Portuguese control. In 1735-36, Spaniards from Buenos Ayres attacked the left shore of Prata River, and in spite of the Portuguese defensive power, an order issued by Lisbon in September 1737, after the convention of 16 March, commanded the transference of the Colony of Sacramento into Spanish control.
Known as a decided man, the Viceroy issued an order of prison for the whole aldermanship, and banned all aldermen from further official posts, after the town council of Bahia refused to act in accordance to an order that had been issued by Lisbon. He created bodies of militias in Salvador and in Itaparica, identical to those of the Metropolis, with the purpose of assuring peace.
He became Knight Commander of Santiago de Lanhoso and of Santa Maria da Pena in October, 1721. Though unmarried he was the father of a son, Francisco de Melo e Castro, who was born in Estremoz, in 1702, and who would become governor of Mazagan and Mozambique.
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