Anthroponyms seta AZAMBUJA, Diogo de (?-1518)

A knight of the Order of Avis, he was keeper of the wardrobe for Dom Pedro, son of the Infante Dom Pedro. After the battle of Alfarrobeira, Diogo de Azambuja must have accompanied the prince to exile which followed the death of the Regent. In 1458, after the royal pardon of King Afonso V, he accompanied Dom Pedro to Alcacer Ceguer. Dom Pedro was acclaimed King of Aragon, due to being the grandson of the Count of Urgel. Diogo de Azambuja accompanied him during his short reign which ended June 1466. At this time, he left his position as keeper of the wardrobe to become Dom Pedro´s chief keeper. It is possible that after these events Diogo de Azambuja returned to Portugal; however, only in 1477 does his name reappear in the records, this time as attendant to the Perfect Prince. During the wars with the kingdom of Castille, he was part of the army that laid siege to Alegrete. He was wounded in battle and became lame. On 4 December, 1480, King Afonso V bestowed upon him the privilege of nobility. At the time, he was already a knight of the House of Prince João. On 12 December, 1481, he departed from Lisbon on a mission to build a fortress on the west coast of Africa in order to maximize the profitability of the important Gulf of Guinea trade. Therefore, Diogo de Azambuja initiated the construction of São Jorge da Mina. He would govern there for two and a half years, returning to the kingdom in 1484. During this time he established good relations with the local power structures. In the kingdom, he must have remained at Court possibly becoming one of King João II´s confidants, since only this relationship of trust would justify his being among those chosen to witness the execution of the Duke of Viseu. Conversely, he was nominated Chief Alcaide of Monsaraz, a post previously held by a supporter of the Duke of Bragança, who had fled to Castille. In addition to the post of Chief Alcaide, he was awarded rights to tolls and other tributary privileges. He was also a member of the Royal Council. On 17 March, 1485, he received a charter bestowing the right to add coat of arms. In December 1487, he was nominated Chief Overseer of artillery and armory for the Kingdom. After the death of King João II, he reappears in the record in 1506. At that time, King Manuel I selected him to lead the project of erecting a fortress in the Essaouira region, which would be named Castelo Real de Mogador. He became its captain and Chief Alcaide in 1507. Taking advantage of internal strife in Safim, Diogo de Azambuja conquered this fortified area for King Manuel. On 28 August, 1508 in recognition of his achievement, the King awarded him the Safim captaincy, rent of 150 reais per annum to him and to his descendants, and the captaincy of the village and the castle of Santa Cruz of Cabo Gué. However, due to his advanced age ? he was possibly 77 years old - the King nominated Nuno Fernandes de Ataíde to replace him in the command of Safim. On the same date, Diogo de Azambuja returned to the Kingdom, turning over to King Manuel his rights to the Royal Castle and to the Castle of Santa Cruz. Although nothing else is known about his life, he did not die until 1518.

Bibliography:
ALBUQUERQUE, Luís de, Navegadores, Viajantes e Aventureiros Portugueses, Lisboa, Caminho, 1992. BALLONG-WEN-MEWUDA, J. Bato?ra, São Jorge da Mina 1482-1637. L avie d?un comptoir portugais en Afrique occidentale, 2 vols., Lisbonne . Paris, Fondation Caloste Gulbenkian . Centre Culturel Portugais / Commission National pour les Commémorations des Découvertes Portugaises, 1993. CORDEIRO, Luciano, Diogo de Azambuja, Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional, 1892. LIMA, Durval Pires de, História da Dominação Portuguesa em Çafim (1506-1542), Lisboa, 1930. MOREIRA, Rafael, Portugal no Mundo: História das Fortalezas Portuguesas no Mundo, Lisboa, Alfa, 1989.

Author: Teresa Lacerda
Translated by: Maria João Pimentel


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