CHICHORRO, Belchior de Sousa (?-1553)
Illegitimate son of Catarina Pereira and Garcia de Sousa Chichorro (chief alcaide of Bragança, member of the Counsel and superintendent of All Saints Hospital).
Belchior headed for the Orient in 1537 or 1538, but stayed in Sofala, where his half-brother, Aleixo de Sousa Chichorro, was serving as captain. He would name Belchior chief alcaide. It is thought that he was still in the region in September of 1541, at the time of the arrival of his cousin and newly-appointed governor of the State of India, Martim Afonso de Sousa, and that he might have sailed for India in his company at the end of February of the following year. During the administration of Martim Afonso, Belchior's presence became more evident, as captain in the attack on Baticalá (1542), as a member of the so-called pagoda expedition (1543) and, above all, as commander of the armada patrolling the coast of Malabar (1542-1545).
In this last post, during 1544 Belchior made himself available to collaborate with the governor in the kidnapping of the Muslim merchant Khawja Shams-ud-din, who lived in Cananor. The objective was to pressure the hostige to hand over an appreciable quantity of currency for the benefit of the State of India. Belchior tried to enlist the aid of the leader of Canador, Abu Bakr Ali, who not only refused but also warned the potential victim, thereby unraveling the plan. In retaliation, Belchior persecuted Abu Bakr Ali and his business dealings during the first trimester of 1545, especially his commercial and maritime activities, by keeping a vigilant watch over the port of Cananor. The tension would culminate in March with the assassination of Abu Bakr Ali at his own doorstep. This would lead the Islamic merchant community to abandon the city. Only months later did the situation improve slightly, with the arrival of the new captain of the fortress, Manuel de Vasconcelos. The excessive behavior of the commodore of the armada of Malabar warranted the attention of Dom João de Castro, but with no great consequences.
The last news of the whereabouts of Belchior de Sousa Chicharro places him in the Congo in 1553. He had assumed the post of ambassador, in an effort to improve his standing in the eyes of King John III and to earn a significant recompense from the Crown. He would die, however, during this diplomatic mission.
GOERTZ, R. O. W., «The Portuguese in Cochin in the Mid-Sixteenth Century», in Stvdia, nº 49, Lisboa, CEHCA, 1989, pp. 5-38.
PELÚCIA, Alexandra, Martim Afonso de Sousa e a sua Linhagem ? A Elite Dirigente do Império Português nos Reinados de D. João III e D. Sebastião, Lisboa, UNL-FCSH, 2007, dissertação de doutoramento policopiada.
SUBRAHMANYAM, Sanjay, O Império Asiático Português, 1500-1700, s.l., Difel, s.d.
Author: Alexandra Pelúcia
Translation: Rosa Simas