Albuquerque: Rulers of India - Morse Stephens

The Early Career of Albuquerque

The name of Albuquerque was already famous in the history of Castile and of Portugal before the birth of the great man who increased its lustre. It is not without interest to examine the history of the family. for it illustrates in a remarkable manner the origin of the most noble houses of the Peninsula. It is besides always of interest to study the ancestry of a great man, for the qualities which distinguished him are generally to be perceived also in former members of his family.

The family of Albuquerque derived its origin from Dom Affonso Sanches, an illegitimate son of King Diniz or Denis, The Labourer, and a beautiful Gallician lady, Dona Aldonsa de Sousa. King Denis is one of the most remarkable figures in the early history of Portugal. He ascended the throne in 1279, just after the Moors had been thoroughly conquered and Portugal had attained its European limits by the annexation of the Algarves. He reigned for nearly half a century, and, as his sobriquet  indicates, was a man of peace. He devoted himself to improving the internal administration of the country, to bringing waste lands under cultivation and to encouraging commerce. But he had another side to his character. King Denis was one of the earliest of the Portuguese poets. He wrote in the style of the Troubadours, and imitated their morality as well as their verse. The mother of Dom Affonso Sanches was one of the most famous of the king's mistresses, and was very dearly beloved by him. He showered favours on his illegitimate children, and made Affonso Sanches Mordomo-Mor, or Lord High Steward, of his realm, to the extreme wrath of his legitimate heir, who was afterwards King Affonso IV.

The latter years of the reign of King Denis were embittered by war between the king and the heir apparent. As soon as the latter ascended the throne in 1325 he banished his half-brothers from Portugal and confiscated all the lands which his father had granted to them. Dom Affonso Sanehes, who was a renowned warrior, took refuge at the court of the King of Castile, and there married Dona Theresa Martins, daughter of Joao Affonso Telles de Menezes and granddaughter of Sancho III, King of Castile. With her he obtained, in addition to other lands, the Castle of Albuquerque, near Badajoz, which he entirely rebuilt. His son Joao Affonso took the name of Albuquerque from this castle; he married Dona Isabel de Menezes and became Mordomo-Mor to King Pedro the Cruel, of Castile and Leon.

The legitimate issue of this great lord, who was one of the most important figures in the history of the time, founded the famous Spanish house of Albuquerque, which gave many distinguished generals and statesmen to the service of the State. He had also certain illegitimate children, who returned to Portugal. The two daughters of this illegitimate family, Dona Beatrice and Dona Maria, were ladies whose beauty was famous, and they married two brothers of Leonor, the queen of King Ferdinand of Portugal, the Counts of Barcellos and Neiva. Their brother, Fernao Affonso de Albuquerque, became Grand Master of the Portuguese Knights of the Order of Santiago. The illegitimate daughter of the Grand Master, Dona Theresa, married Vasco Martins da Cunha, who, by his first marriage, was great-grandfather of the famous navigator, Tristao da Cunha; his granddaughter married Goncalo Vaz de Mello, and his great-granddaughter, Dona Leonor, Joao Gongalvez de Gomide. The husband of the last-mentioned lady took her famous surname of Albuquerque, and was the father by her of a numerous family, one of whom, Pedro de Albuquerque, became Lord High Admiral of Portugal. His eldest son, Gonsalo de Albuquerque, succeeded his father as Lord of Villa Verde, and married Dona Leonor de Menezes, daughter of Dom Alvaro Gongalvez de Athaide.

Affonso de Albuquerque, who, it may be remarked, always spelt his name Alboquerque, which is the version adopted by the early Portuguese writers, was the second son of this marriage. This sketch of the history of his ancestors shows to what great families the future governor of Portuguese Asia was allied; the frequent tale of unlawful love to be observed throughout it is a feature common to the records of the most illustrious captains of his time. His elder brother, Fernao de Albuquerque, married a daughter of Diogo da Silva, and had two daughters, one of whom married Dom Martinho de Noronha, and the other Jorge Barreto, both names which often occur in the history of the Portuguese in the East. His next brother, Alvaro, took Holy Orders and became Prior of Villa Verde, and his youngest brother, Martim, was killed by his side at Arzila. His elder sister, Constance, married Dom Fernao de Noronha, and his younger sister, Isabel, married Pedro da Silva Relle.

Affonso de Albuquerque was born at Alhandra, a beautiful village about eighteen miles from Lisbon, in 1453. He was brought up at the court of King Affonso V, where he is said to have been a page. He was certainly educated with the king's sons, and became in his early years a friend of Prince John, afterwards John II. He was not only a thorough master of his own language, which, as his despatches show, he wrote with force and elegance, but he also studied Latin and Mathematics. The latter science was an especial favourite of his and very useful to him during his voyages, in assisting him to master the technicalities of navigation, so that he could, in time of need, act as a pilot. The court of Affonso V was well calculated to stir the knightly spirit of a lad. The king himself was known as El Rey Cavalleiro  or the Chivalrous King;  his one delight was in war, and he was never tired of reading the romances of mediaeval chivalry and trying to follow the example of its heroes. King Affonso V had also a great taste for literature: he founded the famous library at Evora, and his answer to the chronicler, Acenheiro, who asked how he should write the chronicle of his reign, illustrated his disposition; for he answered simply, "Tell the truth."

In 1471 Affonso de Albuquerque, then a young man of eighteen, served in King Affonso's third expedition to Morocco, in which the Portuguese took the cities of Tangier, Anafe, and Arzila. In the last of these towns he remained for some years as an officer of the garrison. This was an excellent school for the training of an officer, and Albuquerque there learnt not only his military duties but his hatred for the Muhammadans. It was in the garrisons in Morocco that the Portuguese soldiers and captains, who were to prove their valour in the East, served their apprenticeship to war; and the ten years which Albuquerque spent there were not years thrown away.

In 1481, when his friend John II succeeded to the throne, Affonso de Albuquerque returned to Portugal, and was appointed to the high court office of Estribeiro-Mor, which is equivalent to the post of Master of the Horse or Chief Equerry. This office he held throughout the reign of John II, and his close intimacy with that wise and great king ripened his intellect and trained him to thoughts of great enterprises. John II was always thinking of the direct sea route to India; Albuquerque shared his hopes, and there can be no doubt that the grand schemes for establishing Portuguese influence in Asia which he afterwards conceived, had their origin in his intimacy with The Perfect King. He served on the fleet sent to the Gulf of Taranto to defend King Ferdinand of Naples against an invasion of the Turks; and in 1489 he commanded the defence of the fortress of Graciosa, on the coast of Morocco, against an attack of the Moors.

On the death of John II, in 1495, Affonso de Albuquerque, like the other intimates of the deceased sovereign, was looked upon coldly by King Emmanuel. This cannot be wondered at, for John II had murdered Emmanuel's elder brother with his own hand, and had even thought of ousting Emmanuel himself from the throne by legitimatising his natural son Dom Jorge. In 1495, Affonso de Albuquerque returned to Arzila and served there for some time longer against the Moors. At this period his younger brother Martim was killed by his side in a foray, and the boy's death further increased Albuquerque's personal hatred for all Muhammadans. After this catastrophe Affonso went back to Portugal, and since King Emmanuel was now firmly fixed upon the throne, he did not further hesitate to use the services of so experienced an officer.

In 1503 Affonso de Albuquerque was for the first time despatched to the Indian seas, in which he was at a later date to perform his great feats of arms. In this year he only commanded, as has been said, a little squadron of three ships, and played a part inferior to that played by his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque, the son of John II's Lord High Admiral. His chief act of importance at that time was his commencing to build a fort at Cochin to defend the local Portuguese factory; but he also visited Quilon and appointed a factor in that city. Nevertheless, though he did not do much in 1503, he learnt much that was useful to him in subsequent years. He saw for the first time the Indian coast, and was enabled to study on the spot the problems presented by the establishment of the Portuguese.

He also experienced the difficulties of a divided command. He quarrelled seriously with his cousin, and eventually, in spite of the king's direct orders to the contrary, he left the Malabar coast without waiting for his colleague. On leaving Cochin he took the bold step of shaping his course for Mozambique. Hitherto the Portuguese fleets had always struck the African coast higher up in order to make the passage across the Indian Ocean as short as possible. Nevertheless, guided by a Muhammadan pilot, Albuquerque reached Mozambique in safety, and after a perilous voyage along the West Coast of Africa, arrived at Lisbon in July, 1504. His cousin, who had delayed his departure, was lost at sea with his squadron without anyone ever knowing where or how they perished.

On his return to Portugal Affonso de Albuquerque was very favourably received by King Emmanuel. He encouraged the king's idea of securing the monopoly of the Indian trade, and insisted that the only way by which this could be done was to close the previous routes by the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Modern ideas of commercial freedom were unknown even in the last century, when the River Scheldt was closed by treaties assented to by the chief European powers; and it was hardly to be expected that in the sixteenth century the general good of humanity should be preferred to national considerations. King Emmanuel therefore entered into Albuquerque's schemes for destroying the commerce carried on by the Muhammadans with India, and resolved to despatch the chief author of this policy to the East.

Accordingly, in 1506, when Tristao da Cunha was ordered to the East with a fleet of eleven ships, Albuquerque accompanied him with a separate squadron of five ships destined to operate on the coasts of Arabia. Albuquerque was placed under the command of Da Cunha until the island of Socotra should be conquered and garrisoned by the Portuguese, after which event Da Cunha was to proceed to India to load his ships. Albuquerque was then to assume an independent command, and after doing what he could to close the Red Sea to commerce was to go to India and take over the supreme command from the Viceroy, Dom Francisco de Almeida. These secret orders were not communicated to the Viceroy immediately, and Albuquerque was directed not to present his commission until Almeida had completed three years of government. At the same time a powerful fleet was despatched to the Mediterranean, under the Prior of Crato, who was instructed to attack the Turks, and thus to prevent them from sending sailors to assist the Muhammadans in the Eastern seas. Selim I, who was then ruling at Constantinople, was at issue with the Mameluke Sultan of Egypt, whom a few years later he conquered, but the opposition between them was not understood in Portugal, and it was believed that the Turks would be inclined to assist the Egyptians.

On April 5, 1506, Tristan da Cunha and Affonso de Albuquerque set sail from the Tagus. Differences between the two commanders soon appeared. Albuquerque's own pilot had fled to Castile, after murdering his wife, and, since Tristao da Cunha refused to give him another pilot, the future Governor of Portuguese India had to navigate his own vessel. But the difference between them was not due alone to this personal dispute—the two men were of essentially different temperaments. Tristao da Cunha was before all things an explorer; his hope was to discover fresh countries for his royal master. Albuquerque was, on the other hand, a statesman, fully impressed with the importance of the mission on which he was sent and determined to subordinate everything else to it. This radical difference soon made itself felt. When the united fleet reached Mozambique, news was brought to the principal commander by Ruy Pereira Coutinho that he had discovered an island which seemed rich in cloves and other spices. This island he had named the Island of San Lourengo, and it is the island now known as Madagascar. Tristao da Cunha, in spite of the remonstrances of Albuquerque, who refused to accompany him, went off at once to explore the new land. But, after a perilous voyage, he abandoned his purpose and joined Albuquerque to carry out the first aim of the expedition, the conquest of the island of Socotra.

As they made their way north along the African coast, they paid a visit to Melinda and renewed the treaty of friendship between the Chief of that place and the Portuguese. The Chief of Melinda told the Portuguese captains that the Chiefs of Mombassa and Angoja caused him much annoyance for his friendship with the Portuguese, and begged that they would take vengeance on them. In accordance with this request, the Portuguese sacked and burnt the city of Angoja, the Chief of which place was "a Moorish merchant who came from abroad, but as he was very rich he had made himself lord of all that land." The fleet then proceeded to Braboa, or Brava, where the Muhammadan ruler refused to acknowledge the supremacy of or pay tribute to the King of Portugal. The place was therefore attacked and burnt by the Portuguese sailors. In this engagement Tristao da Cunha was wounded, and at his own request was knighted by Affonso de Albuquerque on the spot where he had received his wound.

After these acts of summary vengeance the Portuguese fleet proceeded to Socotra. This island which is situated off Cape Guardafui, in such a position as to command the Gulf of Aden, had been discovered by Diogo Fernandes Pereira two years before, and had been visited by Antonio de Saldanha. They had reported the existence of Christians on the island, who wished to place themselves under the authority of the King of Portugal. King Emmanuel had for this reason, as well as on account of its importance in commanding the Gulf of Aden, ordered that a fortress should be built upon the island, and had given a commission as Governor to Albuquerque's nephew, Dom Affonso de Noronha. The Portuguese found a strong castle on the island, defended by a Muhammadan garrison of 150 men. It was stormed, after an engagement lasting seven hours, in which Albuquerque himself was wounded. A well-armed fortress, to which the name of St. Michael was given, was then erected, as well as a Franciscan monastery, and the somewhat degraded Christians, who are described by Marco Polo as belonging to the Greek Church, were in great numbers baptized in the Catholic religion. On August 1, 1507, Tristan da Cunha, having completed the first task appointed to him, sailed away to India to take in cargo, leaving behind him Affonso de Albuquerque with six ships. On his way back to Portugal the great explorer, who did not again go to the East, discovered the solitary island in the Atlantic which bears his name. He was received with great honour, and was sent as Portuguese Ambassador to Pope Leo X. His fame was such that the Pope begged him to take command of an expedition against the Turks. But the explorer felt he was not a great soldier, and declined the flattering offer. He eventually returned to Portugal, and died a member of the King's Privy Council in 1540.

On the departure of Da Cunha, Albuquerque provided for the government of the island of Socotra. He divided the palm-groves which had belonged to the Muhammadans among the native Christians, and those which had belonged to the mosque he gave to the Christian churches. He then refitted his ships and left Socotra, with the intention of intercepting the Muhammadan merchant-vessels on their way from India to Egypt. Before long he began to have disputes with the captains of his principal ships. His own flagship, the Cirne, was in good control, and he was always bravely helped in his difficulties by his gallant young nephew, Dom Antonio de Noronha. But the captains of the other ships which had accompanied him from Portugal—Francisco de Tavora, Antonio do Campo, Affonso Lopes da Costa, and Manoel Telles—were inclined to resent his authority, and objected to cruising on the barren coast of Arabia instead of fetching lucrative cargoes from India. Their opposition was fomented by a famous captain, Joao da Nova, the discoverer of the island of St. Helena, who had come to the East with Dom Francisco de Almeida, and who showed himself throughout his career in Asia to be Albuquerque's most implacable enemy. He had joined the fleet at Socotra, in command of one of the finest Portuguese ships ever launched, the Flor de la Mar, and had been directed, much to his chagrin, by Tristao da Cunha to remain with Albuquerque.

Being in need of supplies, the Portuguese commander next resolved to shape his course for the Persian Gulf. He had at first intended to penetrate the Red Sea, but having become possessed of a chart of the Persian Gulf made by a Muhammadan pilot, he bent his way thither instead. The important city of Ormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, was at this time one of the great centres of the Eastern trade. Not only did a certain portion of trade for Europe pass through it, but the large and important commerce carried on between Persia and India was concentrated there. The wealth and prosperity of Ormuz is described in glowing terms by all early travellers in Asia, and it is called in ancient books "the richest jewel set in the ring of the world." Albuquerque quickly grasped the importance of getting possession of Ormuz; he saw that he might by that means not only intercept the Indian trade which went that way, but might also establish a direct trade between Persia and Europe. Persian commodities, as well as those of India, were much valued in Europe. Hitherto they had generally passed through the hands of the merchants of the Levant; but the Portuguese statesman at once perceived that it would be possible to convey then more cheaply by the direct sea-route to Portugal.

The first place at which Albuquerque touched on his way to Ormuz was Calayate (Kalhat), which the inhabitants described as the door of Ormuz. It was a great resort for shipping, and exported horses and dates in large quantities to India. Albuquerque was favourably received there, and took in supplies. Following the coast, the Portuguese bombarded Curiate and Muscat, where they were badly received, and with atrocious cruelty Albuquerque ordered the ears and noses of the Muhammadan prisoners to be cut off before they were released. On October 10, 1507, he reached Ormuz, and there entered into negotiations with Cogeatar (Khojah Atar), the Prime Minister of the King of Ormuz. The Portuguese commander first demanded that the native ruler should declare himself a vassal of the King of Portugal and should promise to pay tribute to him. In this he was successful. He then demanded a site on which to erect a fortress to be garrisoned by a Portuguese force. The foundations of this fortress were marked out on October 24, 1507, and the building was undertaken by native labour under Portuguese superintendence. Meanwhile, the disgust of the Portuguese captains increased; they protested against the conduct of Albuquerque, and spoke openly of leaving him and going by themselves to India. In consequence of this conduct Albuquerque suspended Francisco de Tavora from the command of his ship. Nor were the sailors less mutinous: four of them escaped to the native minister and informed Cogeatar of the dissensions which prevailed. Albuquerque haughtily demanded the immediate surrender of the deserters, and threatened to attack Ormuz in case of a refusal.

On the news of the contemplated assault the rebellious captains, on January 5, 1508, presented a remonstrance to their commander, which is so characteristic of the difficulties which beset Albuquerque on every side, and so illustrative of the impression formed by his character, that it is worth quoting in full:—

"SIR,—We do this in writing, because by word of mouth we dare not, as you always answer us so passionately; and for all that you, Sir, have frequently told us that the King gives you no orders to take counsel with us, yet this business is of so great an importance, that we consider ourselves obliged to offer you our advice; did we not do so, we should be worthy of punishment. Now, because this war, in which you are now desirous of engaging, is very much opposed to the interest of the King, our Lord, we consider that your Excellency ought to weigh well, before entering upon it, how little Cogeatar is to blame for objecting to have against all reason to pay down in ready money 15,000 cruzados of revenue every year, contrary to the honour of such a large city and kingdom; yet, if notwithstanding all this, your Excellency is determined to prosecute the war, and break the peace and agreement which has been made with him, it is our opinion that you ought not to do so; for it would be more to the service of the King, our Lord, if we were now to quit this city and temporize with Cogeatar, and in the course of the year return in strength in order to subdue it, and confirm our hold upon it, than to destroy it for ever. And if, in spite of all we can say, your Excellency is bent upon entering into this war, see you that it be with all the circumspection and assurance that the fleet can command, in that it is more conducive to the interest of our said Lord to obtain possession and not to destroy the city now, since it can be destroyed at any time we please; because, in case of your Excellency's landing in Ormuz or at the city we are determined not to go with you, nor enter into such a war, nor such designs, and that this may be known for certain, and we be not able to deny it hereafter, we all sign our names here: this day, the 5th of the month of January, 1508.


It need hardly be said that Albuquerque refused to listen to this remonstrance. Francisco de Tavora, whom he had pardoned and restored to his command, declared himself on Albuquerque's side, and in a few hours all the captains

"begged him very earnestly to do them the favour to forget it all, for their passion had blinded them, and all were ready to serve him in the war and to perform all that he might require of them."

Albuquerque accordingly attacked Ormuz and defeated the troops who had assembled to prevent his landing; but Cogeatar knew of the discontent of the captains, and steadfastly refused to surrender the deserters. With Joao da Nova the situation soon became still more strained. This captain was undoubtedly the leader of the malcontents, and at last, after a disgraceful scene, Albuquerque ordered him under arrest. An enquiry was made into his conduct and that of his ship's crew, and in the words of the Commentaries,

" the captain and all the men were found to be so guilty that it was thought to be better counsel to forgive them, considering the times they had fallen upon, and the necessity there was of them, than to punish them as they deserved; and he [Albuquerque] ordered them to return to the ship, and released Joao da Nova from custody and returned him his captaincy, not caring to hear any more of his guilt, but leaving the punishment of it for the King to settle, although he had, in the instructions given to him, granted him power for all."

These troubles in his fleet caused Albuquerque to abandon his project of building a castle at Ormuz, and he therefore sailed away, in April 1508, to intercept the Muhammadan merchant-ships on their way from India. The disputes with his captains still continued, and three of them—Antonio do Campo, Affonso Lopes da Costa, and Manoel Telles—deserted him and went to India. Their desertion was soon followed by that of Joao da Nova, whose departure deprived him of the finest ship in his squadron. With his diminished force of only two ships Albuquerque sailed to Socotra, where he found the garrison suffering from want of provisions, having nothing to eat but palm-leaves and wild fruit. He then cruised for some time in the Gulf of Aden, and eventually he finally disgraced Francisco de Tavora, his sole remaining captain, who disgusted him by further mutinous behaviour.

After cruising for four months in the Gulf of Aden, during which time he only took one prize, he proceeded once more to Calayate (Kalhat). The governor of the place was an intimate friend of Cogeatar, and did not receive the Portuguese as favourably as he had done in the previous year. On observing symptoms of resistance Albuquerque promptly attacked the city, and after a furious engagement, in which Dom Antonio da Noronha especially distinguished himself, Calayate was sacked and burnt. The ships in the harbour were also destroyed, and with great barbarity the ears and noses of all the Muhammadans who were taken prisoners were cut off.

Albuquerque then went on to Ormuz, where he heard the news of the sea-fight off Chaul, in which Dom Lourenco de Almeida had been killed. Cogeatar also forwarded to Albuquerque a letter which he had received from Dom Francisco de Almeida, the Portuguese Viceroy. In this letter Albuquerque's conduct in the previous year was greatly blamed, and the Viceroy declared his intention of chastising Albuquerque, "in order that he may learn that wheresoever he shall receive honour, and give a writing on the King's behalf, he ought not to alter it, for the King of Portugal is not a liar, and it is necessary that his captain should not depart from his commands."

In enclosing this letter to Albuquerque, Cogeatar announced his intention of informing the Viceroy that Albuquerque was a traitor to the King of Portugal. In reply to these communications, Albuquerque sent a haughty letter, in which he defended his conduct during the previous year:

"Have I not already many a time told thee," he wrote, " that I was no corsair but Captain-General of the King of Portugal, an old man and a peaceable one? In what is stated in the Persian letter [from the Viceroy] about my not daring to go to him, but that I went instead to Socotra, know of a certainty that I have fear of no one except of my King; but, on the contrary, I tell thee that the captain who knew both how to obtain this kingdom, and conquer a king in battle, and make him tributary to the King of Portugal, will be treated with great honour let him go withersoever he will, and the Viceroy knows that I have performed my duty in proceeding to succour the fortress of Socotra, as my King had ordered me, and that I had not now fled, had I not gone to seek for the supplies which the captains carried away from me when they departed, leaving thy fleet of seventy sail against me, although I commanded them to make for it and destroy it; but this they would not do, and well it was that it turned out so, since between thee and them there was such amity"

Albuquerque then promised to demand a strict account some day from Cogeatar for his behaviour; he swore not to cut his beard until he had completed the fortress at Ormuz,and, after capturing a rich merchant-ship, he sailed for India. He had spent two years and eight months at sea, and was now to show his capacity in a wider sphere.

While Albuquerque was establishing the power of Portugal on the coasts of Arabia and in the Persian Gulf, Almeida was being prejudiced against him. The deserter and rebel captains met with a favourable reception from the Viceroy. They described Albuquerque to him "as a very harsh sort of a man, and very hasty, without bearing in mind the honour of his men," and declared that he had exceeded his orders in attempting to build a fortress at Ormuz. This, according to Almeida, was the head and front of Albuquerque's offending. It has been said that Almeida's policy was opposed to the building of many fortresses in the East, on the ground that it would not be possible to garrison them. He was afraid of the vast schemes of Albuquerque, and wrote to the King, alleging that Albuquerque had disobeyed orders by his conduct at Ormuz. Almeida's opposition to the policy of Albuquerque was increased by a personal grievance owing to the news which arrived in 1508, that Albuquerque was his destined successor at the close of three years of government. When, therefore, Albuquerque reached Cannanore, in December 1508, he found that the Viceroy was prejudiced against him and had received the mutinous captains with honour; and on Albuquerque's requesting the Viceroy to hand over the government to him, Almeida replied that his term did not expire till January 1509, and that he desired to defeat the Egyptian fleet of Emir Husain and to wreak vengeance for the death of his son, Dom Lourenco. Albuquerque acknowledged the force of these arguments, and retired to Cochin, where he remained inactive until Almeida's return, in March 1509, after the great victory off Diu.

Albuquerque again demanded that Almeida should resign the government to him. But the Viceroy, influenced by Joao da Nova and the other captains, who had good cause to fear Albuquerque's anger, persistently refused. They drew up a requisition to the Viceroy, which they got signed by many other officers, stating that Affonso de Albuquerque "was a man of great inaptitude, and covetous, and of no sense, and one who knew not how to govern anything, much less so great a charge as "the Empire of India."

The Viceroy received this petition favourably. In August, 1509, he ordered Albuquerque to be imprisoned at Cannanore; he had a regular indictment in ninety-six counts drawn up against him; he declared his intention of sending him to Portugal in chains; and he tried to induce Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, who had just arrived from Portugal, to take over the government of India. So great was the Viceroy's wrath against Albuquerque that he gave orders for the destruction of all the houses in which Albuquerque had lived at Cochin, and took out of them everything that was to be found there; for he said that it was a case of treason, and very necessary that Albuquerque should be punished with rigour.

Matters remained in this state for two months, and the native princes on the Malabar coast, especially the Raja of Cochin, were at a loss to understand the causes of these quarrels, for it had been a proud boast of the Portuguese that they would obey even a cabin boy who held the King's commission. The hopes of the Zamorin of Calicut began to revive, and it was fortunate for the Portuguese that, in October 1509, a fresh fleet arrived at Cannanore, under the command of Dom Fernao de Coutinho, Marshal of Portugal. This powerful nobleman was a relative of Albuquerque, and at once released him from custody. With Albuquerque on board, the Marshal sailed to Cochin, and he insisted that, in compliance with the royal mandate, Albuquerque should be immediately recognised as Governor of India.

Dom Francisco de Almeida saw that it was necessary for him to yield. He handed over the government on November 5 to Albuquerque, and on November 10, 1509, he left Cochin. His murder by savages at Saldanha Bay has been already noticed, and it is sad to have to narrate that he died without having been reconciled to his successor in the government of India. The Commentaries  of Albuquerque imply that it was Albuquerque's fault that a reconciliation was not made, but, considering his conduct towards his greatest enemy, Joao da Nova, this does not seem to be probable; for it is written:

"Joao da Nova died at Cochin in July 1509, so reduced in circumstances that he had no one to care for him; but Affonso de Albuquerque forgot all that he had been guilty of towards himself, and only held in memory that this man had been his companion in arms, and had helped him in all the troubles connected with the conquest of the kingdom of Ormuz like a gallant knight, and he ordered him to be buried at his own expense, with the usual display of torches, and himself accompanied the body to the grave, clad all in mourning, a thing the Viceroy would not have done."