BAHAREM, António Correia (1487/88-1566)
Born in around 1487 or 1488, António Correia became known for his military feats in India, which brought him fame and allowed him to add the name Baharem to his surname, in honour of the place of his greatest victory.
The descendant of an illustrious lineage, with a tradition of service to the Crown, his father, Aires de Correia, a knight of the Royal Household, held the post of factor in the armada of Pedro Alvares Cabral, with a view to establishing a Portuguese trading station in India. The young António Correia accompanied his father on this voyage, having survived the conflict which broke out in Calicut, which prevented a trading house from being set up in the city and in which there were a number of Portuguese casualties, including Aires Correia.
António Correia was not mentioned again until he took part in an armada heading for Safi, in the North of Africa, in 1510, and later for his role in the defence of Goa, in 1512.
He returned to Portugal before resuming activities in the East in 1518, the year in which his cousin Diogo Lopes de Sequeira became governor of Portuguese India. In the same year, a royal licence was granted which allowed António Correia and his brother Aires Correia to trade two quintals (about two hundredweight) of ivory, the trade of which was the monopoly of the Crown.
On returning to India, for a brief period he substituted Aires da Silva as captain of the fortress of Kochi. He departed from that city in May, 1519, leading a military, commercial and diplomatic expedition in the Indian Ocean. In command of a small armada he headed for Malacca, relieving the city of the siege imposed by repeated attacks from the troops of the sultan Mahmud, the Malayan sovereign from whom the city had been conquered eight years before. He then set sail on a diplomatic mission to the kingdom of Pegu (Bago) on the Burmese coast. He gained the alliance of the local sovereign, which was essential for supplying Malacca, which he returned to with provisions, having subsequently led a successful attack on the Malayan troops, resulting in their retreat and the destruction of the fortress of Pago. When he returned to India, early in 1521, António Correia accompanied the governor, Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, in the attempt to set up a fortress in Diu. The attempt failed and the Portuguese fleet withdrew to spend the winter in the vassal kingdom of Ormus, which at that time was dealing with an uprising in its tributary kingdom Baharem. As a way of aiding Ormus and of affirming Portuguese authority, an expedition led by António Correia was sent out on 27th June, 1521, which crushed the uprising in a battle in which the king of Baharem perished. António Correia, also wounded in combat, took the king?s name and coat of arms, granted in a royal charter in 1540.
Baharem e devido à qual António Correia, também ele ferido no combate, adquiriu o seu sobrenome e escudo de armas, concedido por carta régia de 1540.
At the end of 1521, despite the fact that he was substituting Diogo Lopes de Sequiera as governor, António Correia stayed in the region of Chaul, taking on the duties of naval captain and defeating the attack from Gujarati warships.
The end of 1521 saw the end of the António Correia?s experiences in the East, and he returned to Portugal for good. However, he continued to be involved in eastern issues, and was a member of the council set up by King João III to discuss the dispute with the Spanish Monarchy for the possession of the Moluccas. Later, after marrying Isabel de Castro, daughter of the chief judge of the Palace of King Manuel, António Correia continued his military activity, commanding several fleets on the Portuguese and Moroccan coasts between 1532 and 1542.
As a result, over the years Correia was able to accumulate a vast estate, through royal concession and considerable family inheritance, plus the honours bestowed by the Crown, such as the commandery of Santa Maria de Ulme, in 1558, and the habit of the Order of Christ, in 1564. Well advanced in age, he passed away two years later, in 1566.
COELHO, Sandra, ?António Correia?, in Descobridores do Brasil ? Exploradores do Atlântico e Construtores da Índia, João Paulo Oliveira e Costa (coord.), Lisboa, SHIP, 2000, pp. 353-382. THOMAZ, Luís Filipe, De Ceuta a Timor, Lisboa, Difel, 1998.
Author: José Ferreira
Translated by: Kathleen Calado