Albuquerque: Rulers of India - Morse Stephens
Albuquerque's first thought after the completion of the fortifications of Goa was to provide for its future government. He determined to leave the place with the bulk of his forces as soon as possible, for the sacked and partially burnt city was unable to supply sufficient provisions for all his men. He accordingly appointed Rodrigo Rebello to be Captain of the fortress of Goa, Francisco Pantoja to be Alcaide-Mor or Chief Constable, with the right of succeeding Rebello in case of accident, and Francisco Corvinel to be Factor. It was more difficult to find a governor for the island as distinguished from the city. This post he had conferred, after the first capture, on his ally Timoja, but he now selected a celebrated Hindu captain, who was much respected by the Hindu population, called by the Portuguese Merlao or Milrrhao, probably versions of Malhar Rao. This man was the brother of the Raja of Honawar and had won distinction by defending Goa against the Muhammadans in former days. He agreed to pay a sum equivalent to about £30,000 a year for the privilege of governing the island of Goa. Under the command of Rodrigo Rebello, Albuquerque left 400 Portuguese soldiers, together with plenty of artillery and ammunition, for the defence of the fortress.
The Governor then resolved to set out at once for the Red Sea. King Emmanuel, whose main idea it was to close this route to commerce, had directed him to dismantle the fortress on the island of Socotra, owing to the difficulty of getting provisions, and to occupy Aden instead. When this decision became known, Diogo Mendes, who had been specially ordered to Malacca, murmured loudly, and declared his intention of leaving the Governor and at once departing with his squadron westwards. Albuquerque expostulated with him; he pointed out that four ships could not conquer the Malays, and argued that their treatment of the first Portuguese squadron showed that they would not permit the Portuguese to open up trade without first being defeated. He even showed Diogo Mendes a letter which had arrived from the Portuguese Factor left at Malacca, stating that he and his comrades were kept as prisoners. He promised that, as soon as the King's commands with regard to the Red Sea had been carried out, he would himself proceed with a powerful fleet to the Malay Peninsula, and firmly establish Portuguese influence in that quarter.
Dingo Mendes felt the force of these arguments, but the master of his flagship, Dinis Cerniche, would not agree, and setting sail crossed the bar of Goa harbour on his way out. The Governor at once sent a ship, under Jayme Teixeira, with orders to make Mendes return by any means in his power. Since the master would not shorten sail, the ship was fired. on and forced to return by the destruction of its main yard. Albuquerque forgave Mendes, but ordered Cerniche to be executed, which sentence was not carried out, but the master was instead sent back to Portugal in custody. Nevertheless the persistency of Mendes and his men seems to have greatly influenced Albuquerque, for finding in Feb. 1511, when he sailed out of Goa harbour, that it was impossible to sail westward owing to the monsoon, he resolved to make his way to Malacca. He first sailed to Cochin, where he appointed Manoel de Lacerda to be Captain of the Indian Sea with supreme authority, and he directed that Lacerda's orders should be obeyed as if they were his own.
Albuquerque's conquest of Malacca ranks second in importance among his great feats of arms to the capture of Goa. It gave the Portuguese the complete command of the spice trade, and eventually of the Chinese and Japanese trade. It struck the final blow at the Muhammadan commercial routes to Europe. Hitherto the Portuguese had only secured the monopoly of the Indian trade, and Muhammadan vessels, largely manned by Arabs, still collected the produce of Bengal and Burma, of Sumatra and the Spice Islands, of Siam and China, at the great commercial port of the Malay Peninsula. Albuquerque resolved to check this trade by holding the mouth of the Red Sea, but it seemed to him of even more efficacy to seize upon the headquarters of the trade itself.
The city of Malacca, with its splendid harbour, was the capital of a wealthy Muhammadan Sultan. This man's ancestors were said to have come from the neighbouring island of Java, and to have been converted to Islam some 200 years before. Constant war had been waged between the Kings of Siam, who formerly ruled the whole peninsula, and the Javanese immigrants; but the latter had held their own, and by a wise encouragement of commerce had become very wealthy and powerful. The trade of Malacca with India is said by the Portuguese chroniclers to have been largely in the hands of merchants from Gujarat, and when the Portuguese conquered the city it was inhabited by men of nearly every Eastern race, Hindus from both sides of India, Arabs, Chinese and Javanese. It is mentioned that on their arrival they found, among other officers, four men holding the title of Xabandar (Shah-i-Bandar) or Captain of the Port. These four men are expressly stated to have been governors of different districts, and they are said to have belonged to four different nationalities and to rule over the Chinese, the Javanese, the Gujaratis and the Bengalis respectively. This division probably fairly indicates the chief nationalities of the merchants of Malacca.
Malacca was first visited by a European squadron on September 11,1509. Diogo Lopes de Sequeira had been despatched by King Emmanuel with instructions to explore the island of Madagascar, and afterwards to proceed to the Malay Peninsula, which was well known to the Portuguese king by its classical name of the Golden Chersonese. The arrival of Sequeira in India during the viceroyalty of Almeida has been already noticed, and mention has been made of the Viceroy's wish that he should take over the government in the place of Albuquerque. Sequeira declined this offer and sailed for the Malay Peninsula with his squadron of five ships, but he so far complied with the Viceroy's wishes as to carry with him the chief friends of Albuquerque, and notably his most constant supporter, Ruy de Araujo.
Sequeira visited Sumatra, and safely reached Malacca. He was favourably received at first by the Sultan, and sent ashore Ruy de Araujo to fill the perilous post of Factor. As a lucrative trade seemed likely to spring up, the Portuguese captain proceeded to land a large quantity of goods together with several Portuguese clerks. But as usual the Muhammadan merchants soon showed their jealousy of the Portuguese, as they had always done on the Malabar coast. The Bendara, or native Prime Minister of Malacca, listened to the suggestions of the Moslem merchants, and formed a plan to destroy the whole Portuguese squadron. It was resolved to invite all the officers to a grand banquet at which they should be suddenly murdered, and in their absence it was believed that the ships might be easily taken. A Javanese woman, who had fallen in love with one of the Portuguese, swam out to their ships and gave warning of the plot. The Portuguese officers in consequence declined to land, and as soon as their determination was made known, the Malays set upon the factory, and made Ruy de Araujo and about twenty men whom he had with him prisoners.
They defended themselves gallantly, but Sequeira made no effort to assist them, and sailed away out of the harbour. He was obliged before leaving the peninsula to burn two of his ships for want of men to navigate them, and with the other three he made his way to India. When he reached the Malabar coast and touched at Caecoulao (Kayenkolam), he heard that the Marshal had placed Albuquerque in power, and that Almeida had departed. Sequeira, fearing the vengeance of Albuquerque, at once set sail for Portugal, sending his other two vessels under the command of Nuno Vaz de Castello-Branco to join the Governor at Cochin. It was to wreak vengeance on the Sultan of Malacca and to open up trade there that the squadron of Diogo Mendes de Vasconcellos had been sent from Portugal in 1510; but, as has been related, in spite of the captain's wishes, he and his men had been detained by Albuquerque to take part in the second capture of Goa.
Ruy de Araujo wrote a pathetic letter to Albuquerque, describing the manner in which he and his companions were treated. He told his friend that there were nineteen Portuguese alive at Malacca, who had been greatly tortured to make them turn Muhammadans. He also said that they had been very kindly treated by a Hindu merchant, named Ninachatu, who had secured the means for the despatch of the letter. He begged Albuquerque, for the love of God, to keep them in remembrance, and rescue them out of their captivity; and he also requested that the kindness of the Hindu merchant should not be made known for fear that the Moslems of the Malabar coast should give information to their co-religionists at Malacca.
It may well be imagined that Albuquerque was not sorry to go to the rescue of the Portuguese prisoners. He would have postponed this duty in order to obey the king's express commands; but now that the winds forbade him to sail East, he determined to sail West. He started with eighteen ships, carrying 1400 men; and though he lost one galley at sea, he arrived safely at the port of Pedir in the island of Sumatra in May 1511 with the rest of his fleet. At that place he found nine of the Portuguese prisoners, who had escaped from Malacca, and he then made his way slowly to the great city, which was said to contain a population of over 100,000 inhabitants.
For weeks negotiations went on with the Sultan of Malacca. The main point at issue was the surrender of Ruy de Araujo and his fellow-prisoners. Albuquerque declared he would make no treaty with the Sultan until the prisoners were delivered, and the Sultan on his part was resolved not to give them up until a treaty of peace had been signed. Under these circumstances Albuquerque wrote to the Factor, telling him that he and his companions must bear their hardships with patience. Ruy de Araujo replied in terms which show the gallant spirit of the Portuguese at that period.
"God grant," he said, "that neither the fleet of the King of Portugal, nor his Portuguese should receive any affront or discomfiture in order to make his life secure, for he was also on his part bound to die for the service of God and his King, and for the liberty of his countrymen, and he held it to be a good fortune for him that Our Lord had placed him in a state where he could die for his Holy Faith; and as for himself and his companions, he should not fail to do what was best for the service of the King of Portugal, for they were now quite resigned to anything that could happen to them; and he would have Affonso de Albuquerque to know that the King of Malacca was making ready as fast as was possible, and that it was the Gujaratis who were at work day and night upon the fortification of the stockades, for these were the principal people who could not bear that the Portuguese should get a footing in the land; and if the Portuguese attack upon the city should be decided upon, it ought to be put into execution as quickly as could be, without wasting any more time in discussing terms of agreement or making demands for the surrender of the Christians; for he must know for certain that the King would not restore them except under compulsion; and he was now become so puffed up with pride when he surveyed the great number of foreign soldiers that he had, that he thought of nothing less than actually capturing the Portuguese fleet."
Acting on the unselfish advice given to him, Albuquerque sent some boats to set fire to the ships in harbour and the water-side houses. The Sultan immediately gave in, and sent Ruy de Araujo and his companions safely on board the Portuguese fleet. Negotiations still continued, and Albuquerque became convinced at last that the Sultan was endeavouring to delay him until the change of the monsoon should make it impossible for him to return to India that season. He therefore resolved to attack Malacca at once. Ruy de Araujo informed him that the key of the city was a certain bridge which united its two portions. The Governor divided his forces into two battalions, which were to attack the bridge from either extremity; and he fixed the day of his patron Saint, St. James the Greater, July 25, for the assault.
One division was led by Dom Joao de Lima, Gaspar de Paiva, and Fernao Peres de Andrade; the other by Albuquerque himself and Duarte da Silva. Each did what was required, and the bridge was carried. The Governor then gave orders to build stockades on each side of the bridge, in order that they might spend the night there; but the men became wearied by the constant attacks made upon their position, and towards the evening the Portuguese set fire to the city and returned to their ships. Special mention is made of the use of elephants during this action, but the animals were wounded and did more harm to the Malays than to the Portuguese.
The withdrawal of his tired-out soldiers did not dishearten Albuquerque, and he resolved to call a council of his captains to obtain their consent to renewing the attack with the idea of permanently occupying the city, and building a fortress there; for he had experienced both at Ormuz and at Goa the great distaste entertained by the Portuguese captains for the work of building fortresses. The policy of Almeida, who preferred factories to fortresses, had always plenty of adherents who could not appreciate the imperial notions of Albuquerque.
A report is given of the speech which Albuquerque is said to have delivered to his captains, both in Correa and in the Commentaries. It is not probable that he actually spoke these words, any more than the Roman generals in Livy made use of the very sentences attributed to them. But the language is thoroughly consonant with Albuquerque's character, and exhibits the aims of his policy so clearly that the oration deserves quotation. The text here selected is that of the Commentaries, which is fuller than that given by Correa.
"Sirs," he is reported to have said, "you will have no difficulty in remembering that when we decided upon attacking this city, it was with the determination of building a fortress within it, for so it appeared to all to be necessary; and after having captured it, I was unwilling to let slip the possession of it, yet, because ye all advised me to do so, I left it and withdrew; but being now ready, as you see, to put my hands upon it again once more, I learned that you had already changed your opinion: now this cannot be because the Moors have destroyed the best part of us, but on account of my sins, which merit the failure of accomplishing this undertaking in the way that I had desired. And, inasmuch as my will and determination is, so long as I am Governor of India. neither to fight nor to hazard men on land, except in those parts wherein I shall build a fortress to maintain them, as I have already told you before this, I desire you earnestly, of your goodness, although you all have already agreed upon what is to be done, to freely give me again your opinions in writing as to what I ought to do; for, inasmuch as I have to give an account of these matters, and a justification of my proceedings to the King Dom Manoel, our Lord, I am unwilling to be left alone to bear the blame of them; and although there be many reasons which I could allege in favour of our taking this city and building a fortress therein to maintain possession of it, two only will I mention to you on this occasion as tending to point out wherefore you ought not to turn back from what you have agreed upon.
"The first is the great service which we shall perform to Our Lord in casting the Moors out of this country, and quenching the fire of this sect of Muhammad so that it may never burst out again hereafter; and I am so sanguine as to hope for this from our undertaking, that if we can only achieve the task before us, it will result in the Moors resigning India altogether to our rule, for the greater part of them —or perhaps all of them—live upon the trade of this country, and are become great and rich, and lords of extensive treasures. It is, too, well worthy of belief that as the King of Malacca, who has already once been discomfited and had proof of our strength, with no hope of obtaining any succour from any other quarter—sixteen days having already elapsed since this took place—makes no endeavour to negotiate with us for the security of his estate, Our Lord is blinding his judgment and hardening his heart, and desires the completion of this affair of Malacca: for when we were committing ourselves to the business of cruising in the Straits of the Red Sea, where the King of Portugal had often ordered me to go (for it was there that His Highness considered we could cut down the commerce which the Moors of Cairo, of Mecca, and of Jeddah carry on with these parts), Our Lord for His service thought right to lead us hither; for when Malacca is taken, the places on the Straits must be shut up, and they will never more be able to introduce their spices into those places.
"And the other reason is the additional service which we shall render to the King Dom Manoel in taking this city, because it is the headquarters of all the spices and drugs which the Moors carry every year hence to the Straits, without our being able to prevent them from so doing; but if we deprive them of this, their ancient market, there does not remain for them a single port nor a single situation so commodious in the whole of these parts, where they can carry on their trade in these things. For after we were in possession of the pepper of Malabar, never more did any reach Cairo, except that which the Moors carried thither from these parts, and the forty or fifty ships, which sail hence every year laden with all sorts of spices bound to Mecca, cannot be stopped without great expense and large fleets, which must necessarily cruise about continually in the offing of Cape Comorin; and the pepper of Malabar, of which they may hope to get some portion, because they have the King of Calicut on their side, is in our hands, under the eyes of the Governor of India, from whom the Moors cannot carry off so much with impunity as they hope to do; and I hold it as very certain that, if we take this trade of Malacca away out of their hands, Cairo and Mecca will be entirely ruined, and to Venice will no spices be conveyed, except what her merchants go and buy in Portugal.
But if you are of opinion that, because Malacca is a large city and very populous, it will give us much trouble to maintain our possession of it, no such doubts as these ought to arise, for, when once the city is gained, all the rest of the kingdom is of so little account, that the King has not a single place left where he can rally his forces; and if you dread lest by taking the city we be involved in great expenses, and on account of the season of the year there be no place where our men and our fleet can be recruited, I trust in God's mercy that when Malacca is held in subjection to our dominion by a strong fortress, provided that the Kings of Portugal appoint thereto those who are well experienced as governors and managers of the revenues, the taxes of the land will pay all the expenses which may arise in the administration of the city; and if the merchants, who are wont to resort thither—accustomed as they are to live under the tyrannical yoke of the Malays—experience a taste of our just dealing, truthfulness, frankness and mildness, and come to know of the instructions of the King Dom Manoel, our Lord, wherein he commands that all his subjects in these parts be very well treated, I venture to affirm that they will all return and take up their abode in the city again, yea, and build the walls of their houses with gold; and all these matters which here I lay before you may be secured to us by this half-turn of the key, which is that we build a fortress in this city of Malacca and sustain it, and that this land be brought under the dominion of the Portuguese, and the King Dom Manoel be styled true King thereof, and therefore I desire you of your kindness to consider seriously the enterprise that we have in hand, and not to leave it to fall to the ground."
After having made use of some such arguments as these, Albuquerque ordered a second attack on the city of Malacca. His success was as complete as it had been on St. James' Day, but the Portuguese on this occasion, instead of evacuating the place, at once commenced to build a fortress. The Sultan was driven out of the city, and was pursued into the interior by an army of 400 Portuguese and 600 Javanese.
The contingent of Javanese soldiers was obtained by an alliance which Albuquerque made as soon as he was in occupation of Malacca. When the Sultan fled, the Portuguese General ordered his men to spare the warehouses and other property of Ninachatu, the Hindu merchant who has been mentioned as the kindly benefactor of Ruy de Araujo and his companions in captivity. This leniency caused other Hindus to ask Albuquerque for his protection. He willingly granted it, and appointed Ninachatu as superintendent or governor of all the Hindus in the city. Then an aged Javanese, who had turned Muhammadan and was possessed of great wealth and influence, named Utemuta Raja, also made his submission, and was appointed head of the Javanese community. He it was who supplied the Portuguese with the force of 600 Javanese soldiers.
Nor were these the only native trading communities which the Portuguese Governor favoured. He gave particular encouragement to the Chinese, the Burmese, who are generally called by the chroniclers Pegus, and the Loochewans; but he declared war to the death with the Malays, both as Muhammadans and as the former rulers. In spite of the assistance which the old Javanese chieftain had rendered him, Albuquerque was soon placed on his guard against the ambitious projects of Utemuta Raja. Ruy de Araujo gave information that he was at the bottom of the plot formed in 1509 for the massacre of the Portuguese, and that it was his son who had sworn to assassinate Sequeira with his own hand. He further declared that if Albuquerque sailed away and left Utemuta Raja in power, there would soon be an end of the Portuguese domination in Malacca.
Albuquerque gave heed to the warning, and when he found that the Javanese was taking advantage for his own profit of the power committed to him, he promptly had him and the principal members of his family arrested. They were tried before Pedro de Alpoem, the Ouvidor or Chief Magistrate of the Portuguese in the East, and condemned to death. The wife of Utemuta Raja, who was a native of Java, promised to give a large sum of money in gold towards the expense of building the fortress, if the Portuguese would let her husband and children go. Albuquerque replied that the Portuguese did not sell justice for money, but that he was willing to hand over the corpses of the victims to be buried with native rites. The sentence was carried out in the great square of Malacca, where the treacherous banquet to Sequeira and his officers was to have been held, and Utemuta Raja, his son, his son-in-law, and his grandson were all beheaded. The execution was followed by an attempted riot of the Javanese, which was easily suppressed.
This execution struck terror into the inhabitants of Malacca, and firmly established the Portuguese authority. Albuquerque then devoted himself, while the fortress was being constructed, to opening up relations with the neighbouring powers. He knew that the possession of Malacca would be of no advantage if traders were not encouraged to come to the city. It has been seen therefore that, while striking hard at the Malays, he gave every encouragement to the merchants of other nationalities. The most important of the trading nations, which brought their commodities to the Malay port, were the Chinese. Albuquerque had treated with great courtesy the crews of five Chinese junks, which were anchored in the harbour, at the time of the first assault on Malacca. After they had witnessed the valour of the Portuguese on that occasion, he allowed them to take in cargo and to depart in safety. These crews reported throughout China the bravery and civility of the Portuguese, which had a great effect upon the minds of the Chinese ministers; so much so, that when the expelled Sultan of Malacca appealed to China for help, and abused the Portuguese as robbers and pirates, he received the answer that the Portuguese seemed to be a very good people, and that the Chinese government would not assist him. Albuquerque did not at this time send an ambassador to China, but it is worthy of notice that it was one of his captains, Fernao Peres de Andrade, who, in 1517, was the first Portuguese to visit Canton.
With the kingdom of Siam Albuquerque himself opened up direct relations. When the five Chinese junks left Malacca, they took with them, at the Governor's request, Duarte Fernandes, who had learnt the Malay language while a prisoner with Ruy de Araujo, as an emissary to the Siamese Court. He was received most favourably by the King of Siam, who had always considered the Sultan of Malacca as an intruder and had heard the news of his defeat with joy. Fernandes returned to Malacca laden with rich presents, and Albuquerque sent him back to Siam, accompanied by a Portuguese fidalgo or gentleman, Antonio de Miranda, as ambassador. He also sent in different directions Duarte Coelho to visit Cochin China and Tongking, and Ruy da Cunha to the kingdom of Pegu. He entered into communications with the King of Java and with some of the chiefs of the island of Sumatra, who were all greatly impressed by the speedy conquest of Malacca.
Of equal importance was Albuquerque's despatch of three ships, under the command of Antonio de Abreu, to explore the Moluccas and the Spice Islands. This squadron was ordered not to take prizes, but to devote itself entirely to the work of exploration. It touched at many places, and did much important .work, but its chief interest to later generations is that Francisco Serrao, who commanded one of the ships, carried with him a young Portuguese gentleman, Fernao de Magalhaes, who was afterwards to make the first voyage round the globe in the service of Spain, and who, as Magellan, has left his name upon the map of the world.
In January, 1512, Albuquerque, after having completed his fortress, sailed from Malacca. He left an efficient garrison of 400 Portuguese soldiers, and placed the settlement under the governorship of Ruy de Brito Patalim, as Captain of the fortress, with Fernao Peres de Andrade under him as Chief Captain of the sea. Ruy de Araujo was reappointed Factor, and also judge of suits between merchants of different nationalities. For each nationality in itself he appointed separate governors, of whom one was the faithful Hindu, Ninachatu. On his way back to India the famous ship Flor de la Mar, on which Albuquerque sailed, and which had been commanded during the Ormuz campaign by Joao da Nova, ran ashore on the coast of Sumatra, and since it was very old and rotten it broke up. Albuquerque and the crew were saved: But their dangers were not yet over, and the whole fleet would have perished from want of water and of supplies had they not met with and captured two Muhammadan ships.
When the Governor arrived at Cochin, there was great excitement, for, since no news had been received from Malacca, some of the officers had written to King Emmanuel that Albuquerque was lost with all his fleet. His first question, after returning thanks to Heaven in the principal church, was about the situation of Goa, his favourite conquest, and he was informed that it had been besieged throughout the winter, and was almost at the point of surrender.
The facts were that as soon as Albuquerque, the terrible governor, was known to be out of India, all his enemies, both native princes and reluctant captains, breathed more freely. The minister of the young King of Bijapur at once sent an army against Goa, under the command of Fulad Khan, whom the Portuguese called Pulatecao. This general defeated the forces of Timoja and Malhar Rao, and then invaded the island of Goa, and established himself in the fortress of Benastarim. Timoja and Malhar Rao fled to the court of the Raja of Vijayanagar, where Timoja was poisoned, and Malhar Rao soon after made his way to Honawar, where he succeeded his brother as Raja. The Portuguese garrison of Goa, under the command of Rodrigo Rebello, the Captain, marched out to attack Fulad Khan. But they had underrated the strength of their opponents. They were defeated, and among the slain were Rebello himself and the young Manoel da Cunha, son of Tristao da Cunha, whom Albuquerque had knighted for his gallantry at the capture of Goa.
According to Albuquerque's express commands, Francisco Pantoja should have succeeded to the governorship of Goa, but the captains resolved to pass him over, and elected instead Diogo Mendes de Vasconcellos. The new governor at once ordered Manoel de Lacerda to abandon the blockade of Calicut, on which he was engaged, and to come to the assistance of the besieged inhabitants of Goa. Diogo Mendes soon proved his unfitness for supreme command. The Court of Bijapur sent its most famous general, Rasul Khan, with a strong army to the coast, but Fulad Khan refused to acknowledge his supremacy. Rasul Khan then appealed for the help of the Portuguese against the insubordinate officer, and Diogo Mendes was foolish enough to comply. With the help of the Portuguese themselves, Rasul Khan drove Fulad Khan out of Benastarim, and, once safely within the island of Goa, he demanded the surrender of the city.
This was too much even for Diogo Mendes, who now showed himself to be a brave commander. The city held out during the winter, but the inhabitants were much reduced by famine, and their power of defence was injured by the fall of part of the new wall, owing to the severity of the winter. Albuquerque, on hearing of the situation of affairs, sent a warrant for Manoel de Lacerda to be Captain of the city, and promised to arrive soon and destroy the besiegers. This news was received, in the words of the Commentaries, "with a great ringing of bells and firing of salutes, for every one looked upon himself as redeemed from death."
But eagerly as Albuquerque desired to bring help to Goa, he sadly felt how inadequate were the forces that remained to him. The conquest of Malacca, and the necessity for leaving a garrison there, had much reduced his fighting strength, and he found that the officers he had left behind at Cochin were unwilling to lend him their aid. In fact, the agents or factors at Cochin, Quilon, and Cannanore looked with alarm at the establishment of the Portuguese in Goa. Their fears were shared by the native Rajas, who expected that the whole trade of the coast would be attracted from their ports to the new settlement. So strongly had this been felt, that the factors and their party, headed by Lourenco Moreno, the Factor at Cochin, had sent a despatch to King Emmanuel, during the period when they hoped the Governor had been lost in his expedition to Malacca, strongly advising the immediate abandonment of Goa.
An effort was made to dissuade Albuquerque by Diego Correa, Captain of Cannanore, who reported that an Egyptian fleet had set sail from the Red Sea for India, and advised Albuquerque to go against it, and not to the relief of Goa. After passing some weeks in a state of forced inactivity, Albuquerque, to his great joy, was reinforced by his nephew, Dom Garcia de Noronha, with six ships, on Aug. 20, 1512, and directly afterwards by a further squadron of eight more ships under Jorge de Mello Pereira. Both these captains brought with them a large number of soldiers. They also carried many young and gallant officers, who greatly distinguished themselves in the ensuing campaigns, among whom Dom Garcia de Noronha held the royal commission as Captain of the Indian Seas. The arrival of this young nobleman rejoiced the heart of Albuquerque, for it gave him a brave and faithful adherent, who almost replaced the loss he had suffered by the death of Dom Antonio de Noronha.
On September 10, 1512, Albuquerque set sail from Cochin with fourteen ships carrying 1700 Portuguese soldiers. He heard on his way that the report of the departure of an Egyptian fleet was unfounded; and he at once entered the harbour of Goa. He never doubted of victory, and instead of endeavouring to drive Rastil Khan out of Benastarim, he resolved to blockade him, with his 6000 Turkish and Persian soldiers, in the castle there. For this purpose he sent Ayres da Silva to cut off the communications of the castle with the mainland. That captain, with six small ships manned by picked sailors, forced his way up the river, and after pulling up the stakes which the Muhammadans had fixed in the stream for their defence, he bombarded the castle under the eye of Albuquerque himself.
This operation cut off the retreat of the Muhammadan garrison, and Albuquerque made his entry into Goa. It is mentioned as characteristic of his extreme piety that he ordered the canopy of brocade which the chief men of the city were carrying over his head, to be borne instead over the Cross, which the priests had brought from their church to greet him. He then organised his military forces, and hearing that Rasftl Khan had marched out towards the city at the head of 3000 men, he resolved on fighting a pitched battle. He divided his infantry into three divisions, commanded respectively by Pedro Mascarenhas, Dom Garcia de Noronha, and himself; and he placed his cavalry, amounting to about thirty troopers, under Manoel de Lacerda. Owing to the Portuguese general's skilful dispositions the Musalmans were attacked simultaneously, in front by Mascarenhas and on the two flanks by the other divisions. The battle was very fierce, and the Muhammadans were driven into the castle of Benastarim.
The Portuguese endeavoured to follow them, and some of their leaders climbed upon the walls. The first who got up was Pedro Mascarenhas, and the author of the Commentaries states that,
"Affonso de Albuquerque after the rally embraced and kissed him on the face, whereat some were scandalised, although they had no need to be, for besides his actions that day like a brave cavalier, Albuquerque was under an obligation to him, for he had left the fortress of Cochin, of which he was Captain, and had come to serve the King in that war."
In spite of this gallantry it proved impossible to capture the castle by escalade, and Albuquerque ordered a retreat to Goa. Many officers and men were wounded in this engagement, and Albuquerque then determined to breach the fortress and carry it by storm. The trenches were pushed forward with much rapidity and an adequate breach was made, but on the very morning for which Albuquerque had ordered the assault, Rasul Khan hung out the white flag. The terms which Albuquerque demanded were that the castle should be surrendered with all its artillery, ammunition and horses, and that the deserters in Rasul Khan's camp should be given up to him. The Muhammadan general consented, but only on condition that the lives of the deserters should be spared. Benastarim was accordingly evacuated, and the island of Goa was once more left entirely in the hands of the Portuguese. The conquest had been made only just in time, for Rasul Khan, as he retired with his disarmed troops, met a strong reinforcement coming up from Bijapur under the command of Yusaf-ul-Araj, whom the Portuguese called Icufularij.
This brilliant victory was marred by Albuquerque's cruelty to the Portuguese deserters who fell into his hands. Some of these men had gone over to the Muhammadan camp when the Portuguese ships were blockaded in the harbour of Goa in 1510, and the others had left Goa during the recent siege. Having promised to spare their lives, Albuquerque kept his word, but he mutilated them horribly, cutting off their ears, noses, right hands, and the thumbs of their left hands, and plucking out all their hair. The most conspicuous renegade, a fidalgo named Fernao Lopes, was also put on board a ship bound for Portugal in custody. He escaped, while the ship was watering at the island of St. Helena, and led a Robinson Crusoe life there many years.
The relief of Goa in 1512 completes the second period of Albuquerque's governorship. His tenacity in maintaining the Portuguese position at Goa is not less noteworthy than the valour by which he conquered it.