MASCARENHAS, D. Pedro (1484-1555)
Viceroy of India (1554-1555). Born in 1484, D. Pedro Mascarenhas was the third son of D. Fernão Martins de Mascarenhas?s second marriage, to Violante Henriques, daughter of the 1st Lord of Sarzedes. His father was the 1st Lord of Lavre and Estepe and Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard. Dom Pedro Mascarenhas was Knight Commander of Castelo Novo, in the Order of Christ, chief Alcaide of Trancoso and captain of the galleys. Highly esteemed by Dom Manuel I and Dom João III, he was pageboy to Queen Dona Leonor, the widow of Dom João II, and later on an ambassador to Charles V, first in Brussels, then in Rome, where he met those who would be the first Jesuits to arrive to the Kingdom, among whom Simão Rodrigues de Azevedo and Francisco Xavier. As an ambassador, he stood out for his pomp and wealth, and for being very close to Charles V. He was also advisor of Dom João III. His military experience in Northern Africa was ample, and often cited as his greatest passion. Having spent his youth in the strongholds of Asilah and Safi, he started by participating in the armadas that fought Moorish piracy, in 1508. In 1516 he joined his brother, Dom Nuno Mascarenhas, who was at the time the captain of Safi, to that fortress, and in 1520 he was appointed commodore of an armada of four galleys and five caravels for the protection of Safi. After helping in the defence of Azemmour, in 1530, he rose to captain of that city and honorary Master of the Horse during the reign of Dom João III, a position that he would later sell to the Count of Vidigueira. In 1549 he was chosen to negotiate with the King of Beles, in Morocco. Viceroy of India, by royal decree from January, 1554, the appointment was not welcomed by Dom Pedro, who at the age of seventy, tried to avoid occupying the post, but ended up accepting it, upon the Crown´s insistence. The King?s decision was grounded on Dom Pedro?s military and aristocratic prestige (he was the brother-in-law of Dom João Coutinho, 2nd Count of Redondo, and his oldest brother, Dom João de Mascarenhas, 2nd Lord of Lavre and Estepa, was donatory captain of Diu by the time the second siege was laid, in 1546), as well on his wealth, a fact that led to the conviction that he wouldn?t try to get rich at the expense of the royal funds. His reluctance in accepting the post was broken by the intervention of prince Dom Luís by whose side Dom Pedro had fought in the Battle of Goulette with Charles V?s men.
He left Lisbon on April, 2, 1554, with a contingent of 2000 armed men. His nephew, Dom Francisco Mascarenhas, and Dom António de Noronha, ?The Catarraz?, were also with him when he arrived in Goa, on the 16th of September. His first important act was the appointment of his nephew, the young and inexperienced Fernão Martins Freire, as sea captain, a particularly controversial appointment given the fact that Dom João III had already refused it. Nevertheless, Fernão Martins was tasked with the mission of bringing six Turkish galleys that had sought shelter in the port of Surat after the Battle of Muscat. After negotiating with the captain of Surat, the Caracem of the Portuguese sources, Fernão Martins left with the amount that had been agreed, and with the Viceroy´s knowledge. Meanwhile news concerning the victory reached Muscat, and the previous Viceroy, Dom Afonso de Noronha, left for the Kingdom as Fernão Martins?s armada sailed back to Goa. By the end of the year, the Alechelubij of the Portuguese sources (best known as Aley-Sebebuly) was replaced by a new Turkish captain, the Cafár of the Portuguese sources, who attacked four merchants? ships from Ormuz.
1555 started with the Viceroy?s decision of sending a fleet of five galleons and three caravels, under the command of Manuel de Vasconcelos, to the Strait of Mecca with the purpose of fighting Cáfar. It was also decided that the Galician nobleman Gomes da Silva, would be awarded some vessels, which he used in naval offensives surrounding Calicut. Another important decision concerned the appointment of Father Master Gonçalo Rodrigues and Brother Fulgêncio Freire as missionaries into the Prester?s domains. The decision was taken after a meeting with Bishop Dom João de Albuquerque and Diogo Dias took place. The above mentioned armada left the missionaries in Arquico and never faced Cáfar. The final peace agreement with the Raja of Chembe was also attained by Dom Pedro Mascarenhas. After a new attack to Diu by Abiscão, the captain of the Gujarat?s Sultan, Dom Diogo de Noronha managed to expel him with the help of the Tartacão of the Portuguese sources, one of the many lords who at the time fought for power in Gujarat. Internal agitation in the sultanate of Bijapur would turn to the Portuguese advantage. Dom Pedro Mascarenhas proclaimed the Maleacão of the Portuguese sources, who had been a refugee in Goa for some years, King of Bijapur, in exchange of a conclusive confirmation of Portuguese rule over Salcette, Bardez and all Concan, includind customhouses and jurisdiction areas, as tanadarias , and the fortresses of Ponda, Banda and Curale. The new fortresses were conceded to important names of this viceroyalty, as were the cases of Fernão Martins Freire, Sebastião de Sá and Dom António de Noronha. The latter was appointed captain of Ponda and had 600 men under his command. In the battle that followed the inhabitants? resistance against the taking over of the fortress, Francisco Barreto played an important role for the subsequent Portuguese victory. The Viceroy, being at the time seventy-one years old, never failed to join all movements by the Portuguese forces, and fell seriously ill. Before dying, in Goa, on June, 11, 1555, he sent for Francisco Barreto, whom he considered worthy of being his successor. His body was buried in the See at Goa and was afterwards transferred to the Church of São Francisco, in Alcácer do Sal, where it still is. He ruled for nine months.
Both Diogo do Couto and Manuel de Faria e Sousa picture him as a fair Viceroy, who regularly consulted his advisors. Sousa says that he ?? was equally gifted in authority as in sound judgement, in acts as in manners ?? (SOUSA, Manuel de Faria e, Ásia Portuguesa, translated by Manuel Burquets de Aguiar, vol. III, Part 2, chapter XI, Porto, Livraria Civilização, 1945). Both authors agree that the post was unwanted and practically viewed as an exile: ?? He was so far from wanting this viceroyalty that we do better calling it an exile?? (SOUSA, Manuel de Faria e, Ásia Portuguesa, translated by Manuel Burquets de Aguiar, vol. III, Part 2, chapter XI, Porto, Livraria Civilização, 1945). This should not obliterate the fact that the Crown valued immensely his family origins to the point of considering him a worthy successor of Dom Afonso de Noronha.
COUTO, Diogo do, Da Ásia, VII, i, 3-12, Lisboa, Livraria San Carlos, 1974. EÇA, Duarte de, Relação dos Governadores da Índia (1571), edição de R. O. W. Goertz (Codex Goa 38), Calgary, University Printing Series, 1979, pp. 11-12. LOPES, António, D. Pedro Mascarenhas: Introdutor da Companhia de Jesus em Portugal, Braga, Editorial A. O. Braga, 2003. SOUSA, Manuel de Faria e, Ásia Portuguesa, tradução de Manuel Burquets de Aguiar, vol. III, Parte 2, cap. XI, Porto, Livraria Civilização, 1945. 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.