Albuquerque, Alphonso D'

, surnamed the Great, and one of the most illustrious characters of the Portuguese nation, was born at Lisbon in 1452, of a family who traced their origin to the kings of Portugal, and in an age remarkable for the heroism, the discoveries, and the conquests of Portugal. The Portuguese navigators had already subdued the greater part of the west coast of Africa, and were bent on extending their conquests to India. D' Albuquerque was accordingly appointed viceroy of the new settlements in Asia, and the commander of a squadron destined for that quarter, of six ships, which set sail 1503; and the same year three more were sent under his brother, Francis Albuquerque. The latter arrived in India some time before the other, with two ships only, the third having perished by the way. Arriving at the islands of Anchedive, he found some Portuguese officers, from whom he learned the distressed situation of their ally Trimumpar, king of Cochin, and sailed to Vipian, where the king then was. The arrival of the Portuguese so alarmed the garrison who then had possession of Cochin, that they precipitately left it. Here one of the ships that had sailed from Portugal with Alphonso, joined him. Francis restored Trimumpar to his capital, and subdued some islands near it. Having rendered the king such essential service, he desired leave to build a fort as a mutual defence against their enemies: this was granted, and the fort immediately begun. Four days after it began, Alphonso joined him, and with the additional number of hands he brought with him it was soon completed.

A consultation was then held among the Portuguese officers, when it was resolved to etttack some towns belonging to the prince of Repelsin, about twenty miles distant from Cochin. The Portuguese set out in boats, and surprised the towns, but were soon after attacked by a large | army, and obliged to retreat. They returned to Cochin, and the same night made an attack on some other villages, when Alphonso being advanced with a fresh party, was attacked by some of the enemy who lay in ambush, and in this dangerous situation signalized himself by his courage, having fought with great intrepidity till break of day, when his brother Francis came to his assistance. The Portuguese then put the enemy to flight, pursued, and slew a great number of them. The fame of the Portuguese being spread everywhere, Alphonso Albuquerque sailed to Coulon to load three ships, which he completed without opposition, made an alliance with the people, and returned to Cochin. On his return, he found the Zamorin ready to enter into a treaty of peace with him, which was concluded. The two brothers soon after sailed to Cananor, and thence proceeded for Portugal. Alphonso arrived safe at Lisbon; but it is most probable Francis perished at sea, as he was never more heard of.

In 1508, Alphonso was appointed to succeed to the government of India, and dispatched with five ships; he sailed in company with Cugna, another Portuguese officer. Having plundered and taken some towns on the coast of Arabia, they sailed to Zocatora, and made themselves masters of the fort there. After which Cugna returned to Portugal, and Albuquerque, who now acted alone, immediately formed the design of attacking Ormuz island, situated at the mouth of the Persian Gulph, and subject to a king of its own, who had extended his dominions over several cities in Arabia. With a small army of 470 men, he proceeded along the Arabian coast, took many towns, and proceeded to the island itself. He found several ships fitted for war in the harbour; these it was determined to burn. However, he first offered peace to the king, who entered into a treaty, with a view to gain time until a reinforcement arrived. The expected force came, and an engagement ensued, in which the Portuguese were victorious. Albuquerque then pressed the city, and the king, finding no resource, solicited peace, on condition of becoming tributary to the king of Portugal, which was agreed to. Albuquerque went on shore, had an interview with the king; and, knowing the perfidy of the Arabians, began to build a fortress. While this was carrying on, some deputies arrived from the king of Persia to demand tribute. of the king of Ormuz. The latter consulted Albuquerque., | who with great spirit told the deputies that his master paid no tribute, but arms. Albuquerque was, however, forced to desist by the perfidy of his officers, and to repair on board his fleet. He then renewed the war; but receiving a letter from the governor (AJmeed) blaming his conduct, he proceeded for India; when, after some hesitation, Almeed resigned the government to him, and sailed to Europe.

Being now invested with the supreme command, he prepared a fleet, and sailed against Calicut; where, in a desperate and imprudent attack, he was dangerously wounded and forced to retreat.

Albuquerque, being recovered, went to sea with twentythree ships, two thousand Portuguese, and several Indian auxiliaries, designed for Ormuz; but, by the persuasion ofTimoia, a piratical prince^ changedhis intention, and proceeded to attack Goa. The forts near it on the continent were taken and destroyed: and learning that the city was in the greatest consternation, he sent deputies to offer the people his protection, and the enjoyment of their religion. The citizens accepted the conditions, and Albuquerque catered Goa the following day, being the 16th of Feb.1510. This city has long been the head of the Portuguese dominions in India. Here Albuquerque fixed his winter quarters, and behaved himself in such a manner as to merit universal esteem. But, while he was thus employed, some of the chief Portuguese began to murmur against him. However, by seizing and imprisoning the leaders, he quieted the disturbance. The enemy, being informed of the dissentions among the Portuguese, made an attack upon the island; and landing men, laid siege to the city, pressing it hard. The situation of Albuquerque became now truly distressing; an enemy vastly superior without, discontent among his officers within, and his troops greatly diminished. These circumstances determined him to embark on board his ships, and evacuate the city; which he effected after a fierce combat, having first set fire to the magazines.

He then steered to a place called Rapander to winter; but the enemy soon obliged him to remove, and take shelter between the continent and the island of Divar, where he was informed his enemies were also preparing to make an attack upon him,. In this extremity, being very scarce of provisions, he determined to make a desperate | effort on a strong castle, called Pangin. Accordingly, having stationed a force to prevent succours being sent to it, he proceeded under cover of the night, and succeeded in surprising both the fort and camp of the enemy, both which were taken without much resistance. Such an unexpected turn of good fortune determined him not only to object to offers of peace, but also to make an attack on Goa. In this he succeeded, having in the attack killed 3000 of the enemy, and began to aim at greater enterprizes. Having collected his forces, he sailed from Goa for the island of Sumatra, and in every voyage made many captures; there having concluded a treaty with the princes of this island, he proceeded to the city of Malacca, and made himself master of it. Having settled affairs there, he returned to Goa, laid siege to the city of Benastar, and having been unsuccessful, consented to a peace with the Zamorin. He then built a fort at Calicut, and sailed to Aden, in hopes of making himself master of it, but was disappointed, and obliged to return. Soon after he fell sick and died, Dec. 16, 1515, having first had the mortification to hear of his being recalled by the king.

To this great man the Portuguese owe the foundation of the immense power they once possessed in India; and, had they pursued the maxims he laid down, might possibly have enjoyed to this day. He was a man of great humanity, dreaded for his bravery, and beloved for his benevolent disposition. His death was most sincerely felt by all the people of Goa, where he was buried with great funeral honours. 1


Moreri. Biographie Universelle, Osorio’s History of the Portuguese.