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Albuquerque

Albuquerque

 

 

 

AlbuquerqueAdmiral Alfonzo Albuquerque has been honored with the surname of the Portuguese Mars, in acknowledgment of his warlike exploits in founding the empire of his nation in the East. He was born near Lisbon in 1453, and his father, Gonzalvo, held an important position under the king. The son, having been educated at the court of Alfonso V., was appointed chief equerry to John II. In that age of maritime adventure and discovery, Portugal occupied a prominent position among the nations, and was already seeking dominion in the East Indies. Thither in 1503 Albuquerque conducted an expedition, sailed round the Cape of Good. .Hope, established the King of Cochin on his throne, and obtained permission to erect at Cochin the first Portuguese fort in India.

 

Albuquerque returned home in the following July, but was unwilling long to remain idle. King Emmanuel gave him the command of a squadron of the fleet of sixteen vessels, which in 1506 sailed to India under Tristan da Cunha. A secret commission which he bore with him authorized him to supersede Almeida as viceroy of India. On the way to its destination the Portuguese fleet made successful attacks on several Moorish cities on the east coast of Africa. On reaching Arabia, Albuquerque separated from Da Cunha, and attacked the Island of Ormuz, th en one of the chief centres of Oriental commerce. After several battles by sea and land, a treaty was made by which the King of Omuz became tributary to Portugal. When Albuquerque arrived at the Malabar coast in 1508, and showed the commission by which he was appointed viceroy, Almeida, who was in the midst of important schemes for increasing Portuguese influence, refused to resign, and confined Albuquerque in prison about three months. In the next year Fernando Coutinho arrived with a large fleet and persuaded Almeida to obey the royal order.

 

Albuquerque on assuming power began to execute his ambitious projects. Early in 1510 Albuquerque and Coutinho attacked Calicut, but they failed-the former being wounded and the latter killed. Goa was next attacked, and, the king being absent, the inhabitants offered to admit him on condition that their lives and property should be saved, which terms were granted. The king, however, at the head of a large army of natives, compelled him to evacuate the city in August; but he returned in November and obtained permanent possession. He studied to make Goa a suitable capital for an empire by the construction of fortifications and other works.

 

In the next year he conducted a small army against Malacca, which was a rich emporium and centre of commerce. This city was captured, after a severe battle, and then fortified. Here he remained nearly a year, and settled the government on that firm and conciliatory principle which distinguished his policy. Leaving Malacca in 1512 he returned to the Malabar coast; but the ship which carried the treasure he had amassed was wrecked by a storm. He arrived in September at Goa, which he rendered the most flourishing of the Portuguese settlements in India.

 

The home government having ordered him to conduct an expedition to the Red Sea, he entered that sea with the first European fleet that ever navigated it. He besieged Aden, but was repulsed. His last warlike operation was a second expedition to Qrmuz in 1515, with an armament so formidable that the king surrendered without resistance, and the Portuguese obtained permanent possession of this valuable port. But notwithstanding the importance of his services, the admiral's enemies at court had excited the jealousy of the king against him. As be was returning from Ormuz to Goa he met a vessel with dispatches announcing that be was superseded by Soarez, his personal enemy. His power and influence were ended. Broken-hearted, he died at sea in December, 1515. The king was afterward convinced of his fidelity. His son wrote a history of his achievements.

 

THE CAPTURE OF GOA.

 

Albuquerque sought for some great city which his countrymen might establish as their capital, and where he could safely moor his fleet, and thence realize his plans of victory and colonization. Timoia, all Indian pirate, the trusty friend of the Portuguese, drew his attention to Goa. This town is situated upon an island twenty-three miles in circuit, separated from the land only by a salt marsh, fordable in many places. The surface is fertile, diversified by little hills and valleys, and almost sufficient of itself to supply a great city with every necessary of life. The surrounding territory, called Canara, forms the sea-coast of the Deccan. It had been conquered by the :Mogul, and annexed to the dominions of Deihi but, in the distracted state of that empire, several independent kingdoms had arisen in the south, among which Narsinga, with its capital of Bisnagar, set the example, although the sovereign of Goa, called the zabaim, was the most powerful of these rulers .

 

Timoia, however, gave notice that this prince, being occupied in war with several states of the interior, had left his capital almost unprotected. Albuquerque, readily embracing this suggestion, hastily assembled an expedition, and, in conjunction with his guide, arrived off Goa on the 25th of February, 1510. Several of the forts which defended the approaches having been taken, and the Portuguese fleet brought up close to the walls, the citizens, who were chiefly persons connected with trade, began seriously to ponder the consequences, were the place to be taken by storm, especially by all enemy whose deeds of mercy had never been conspicuous. They sent, therefore, a deputation, composed principally of merchant, who privately intimated that the Portuguese commander might obtain admission on certain conditions, including full protection to commerce and private property. Albuquerque granted these terms, and was immediately put in possession of Goa. He fulfilled his stipulations in the strictest manner, adopting every measure calculated to preserve order and prosperity, and even continuing many of the natives in their civil employments.

 

Having occupied the palace of the zabaim, Albuquerque assumed at once the character of a great eastern potentate; sending an embassy to the King of Narsinga. and receiving in the most gracious manner those of Persia and Ormuz, who were then on a mission to the sovereign of Goa. But he soon found himself by no means in the secure and agreeable position he at first imagined. The zabaim, on hearing that his capital was in the possession of those hated foreign invaders, roused all his energies, and disregarded every object in comparison with their immediate expulsion. He at once concluded peace with his enemies, several of whom made common cause with him against this powerful adversary; and an army of upwards of 40,000 men began its march under his direction. Albuquerque undauntedly viewed its advance, though combined with an internal danger perhaps still more formidable. A faction of nine hundred Portuguese insisted that so brave an army ought not to be sacrificed to the obstinacy of one man, and began to form plots for wresting the power from their commander, and carry into effect their own counsels. But having traced this plot to its origin, he surprised the conspirators at a secret meeting, and threw the ringleaders into prison. The remainder sued for pardon, which he could not well refuse, being unable to want the services of ally of his small number of troops; they were. therefore, with a very few exceptions., restored to their employments.

 

The zabaim meantime advanced upon the city. The chief hope of Albuquerque depended upon his success in defending the approaches to the island j but the channel separating it from the mainland was so narrow, and in many places so shallow, that it presented by no means an insuperable obstacle. He stationed chosen troops at all the exposed points, covering them with walls and entrenchments. The zabaim, completely baffled in his first attempts, had almost resigned himself to despair; but he at length bet thought himself of a nocturnal attack, favored by the monsoon. The night of the 17th of May being dark and stormy, two large bodies advanced at different points, and, though unable to surprise the Portuguese, succeeded in forcing their way into the island. The whole army was soon transported over, and commenced operations against the city. Albuquerque stood bis ground with his characteristic firmness; but as the enemy was aided by repeated risings within the walls, while his own officers took occasion to renew their remonstrances as to the untenable nature of this new possession, he found at last no alternative but to retire into the fort, whence, by means of the river on which it was situated, he could still communicate with the fleet. But the zabaim, having taken possession of Goa, immediately commenced operations for reducing this stronghold. By sinking large ships in the stream he endeavored to interrupt the communication, and at the same time provided pitch, sulphur, and other combustibles, for the purpose of setting fire to the Portuguese squadron. Albuquerque, unable to obstruct the progress of these fatal measures, at last felt that he must evacuate the fortress. Even this was become difficult; but he executed his resolution with vigor and success. Having conveyed privately all board all the guns, ammunition and provisions, and seen the troops embark in profound silence, he went himself last into the flagship. He might have reached the fleet unnoticed and unmolested had not the explosion of a magazine roused the enemy, and given rise to a severe encounter.

 

Albuquerque, thus compelled to move out to sea, was anxious to do something which might redeem the honor lost in this undertaking, and revive the spirits of his men. At Pangin, near Goa, the enemy had formed a strongly-intrenched camp, and frequently sent out vessels to annoy the Portuguese. The viceroy fitted out an expedition, which, approaching in deep silence, reached the shore at the first dawn, suddenly landed, and having sounded the drums and trumpets, and raised loud shouts, the Indians awoke in such a panic that they ran off without once facing the assailants. The European commander, at full leisure, carried off a great quantity of artillery and stores, as well as a large supply of provisions.

 

Learning soon after that a squadron was preparing to attack him, he anticipated the movement by sending a number of ships under his nephew, Antony Noronha, who was met by the Indian chief at the head of thirty paraos but, after an obstinate conflict, the latter was compelled to retreat full speed to the shore. The Portuguese followed, when Peter and Ferdinand Andrade, with five men, boarded the admiral's vessel; but Noronha, mounting behind them, was severely wounded, and fell into the boat. Amid the general anxiety, and while all efforts were employed to remove the captain out of danger, the Andrades and their party were forgotten the ship, by the receding of the tide, was left on dry land; they were attacked by immensely superior numbers, and could defend themselves only by prodigies of valor. When their condition was observed, it was for some time doubtful how to reach them; at length eight bold mariners pushed on shore in the longboat, attacked and made themselves masters of the ship but, being unable to tow it off, were obliged to content themselves with the feat of rescuing their comrades. It is pleasing, amid the ferocity of this war, to find an exchange of chivalrous courtesy. The zabaim sent messengers, expressing his admiration of the valor of the Portuguese; and a polite answer was returned. A negotiation for peace was even opened, though without success.

 

The pride of the enemy being humbled, and the spirits and courage of the Portuguese revived by these exploits, Albuquerque sailed to Cananor, where he refitted his fleet, and received considerable reinforcements; resolving, as soon as the season allowed, to make a second attempt upon Goa. His confidence of a happier issue on this occasion seems to have been founded chiefly on the fact that the zabaim was involved in war with the kingdom of Narsinga, which was likely for some time to occupy the greater part of his forces. Unable, however, to muster more than ',500 Portuguese and 300 native troops, it was a very serious undertaking to attack a large and strong capital, garrisoned by upwards of 9,000 men. Goa had been further strengthened by a new wall and ditch, and by a stockade drawn through the water, behind which the ships were moored ill security, and stood like so many towers. However, Albuquerque arrived in front of the city, and though there was no appearance of his ally Timoia, he determined not to delay the assault. In the morning he opened with his cannon a tremendous fire, and the whole shore was wrapped in a cloud of smoke, illumined only by the Rashes. He landed and divided his troops into two parts, one of which was led by himself, and attacked the northern quarter j the other, in three separate bands, proceeded in an opposite direction. Que division, led by the Limas and other chosen heroes, anticipated their commander, and drove the enemy within the walls. As the latter were shutting the gate, Fernando Melos thrust in a large spear, which prevented it from closing. Several others following the example, it was, after a most desperate struggle, forced open, and the Portuguese entered along with the fugitives. These, however, still made a resolute slam! in the houses and corners of the streets, particularly in the palace of the zabaim. Here a strong body had taken post, and twenty Portuguese who rashly advanced were almost entirely cut to pieces. John de Lima, On forcing a passage, found his brother Jeronymo, with several of his comrades, lying in the agonies of death j but the fallen chief professed perfect resignation to his fate, and entreated that there might not, on his account, bean instant's delay. The enemy, driven from the palace, rallied on a neigboring hill. The commander, who had been extremely surprised to find the battle raging in the city, now entered, but had still to wage a hard contest or six hours' duration before Goa was completely in his power.-II. MURRAY.

 

 

Albuquerque

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