Prosperity is the measure or touchstone of virtue, for it is less difficult to bear misfortune than to remain uncorrupted by pleasure. — Tacitus

Albuquerque: Rulers of India - Morse Stephens




The Expedition to the Red Sea


and the Conquest of Ormuz


The conquest of Goa is so distinctly the most important event of Albuquerque's governorship, that it is expedient to make clear his aims and hopes with regard to the establishment of the Portuguese capital there. Fortunately a state paper is extant which defines the great Governor's position in eloquent words. When Dom Garcia de Noronha arrived at Cochin, he delivered to his uncle a letter from King Emmanuel directing that a general council of all the captains and chief officers in India should be held to consider the advisability of retaining Goa. The abandonment of the place had been recommended by four civilians, of whom the chief was, as has been said, the Factor at Cochin, with arguments that show how deeply the rival policy of the first Viceroy, Almeida, had taken hold of the Portuguese officials in India. They advocated the claims of commerce, as against empire, in language which vividly recalls that used by the English East India Company two centuries and a half later. The opinion of these opponents of Albuquerque was supported, at the Court of Lisbon, by Duarte de Lemos and Goncralo de Sequeira, who had declined to share in the perils of the conquest.

The King embodied the ideas of the opposition in certain articles, which he sent to Albuquerque to submit to the consideration of his general council. These articles were: (1) that Goa was very unhealthy and was the cause of unnecessary expense, being of no use except to give trouble to the soldiers; (2) that therein there must always be continual war, for the King of Bijdpur was so powerful, that he would be sure to try his utmost to recover it, because it was the chief port of his dominions; (3) that the revenues of the island, upon which Albuquerque laid great importance, could not be collected, except by maintaining a great number of people with heavy expenses for the collection of these revenues, since the King of Bijapur himself could not collect them without the assistance of a large army; (4) that the King of Bijapur would be glad to agree to any proposal, and to become tributary to His Highness the King of Portugal, provided that Goa was restored to him.

These articles were laid before the captains, who unanimously condemned them and stated—

"That they were amazed at His Highness desiring to surrender, in pursuance of the advice of men who had never donned a suit of armour for the sake of experiencing the trouble it would involve, a place so commodious and important as Goa, which had been acquired at the cost of so much Portuguese blood."

It may be doubted whether the council would have come to this decision had Albuquerque laid the subject before it before the relief of Goa, but he carefully left the point undecided, until after his great victory over Rasul Khan and the capture of Benastarim.

Albuquerque's despatch upon the retention of Goa reveals the whole of his policy, and it must be carefully studied by anyone who wishes to understand the greatness of his views.

"Sire," he wrote to the King, "I captured Goa, because Your Highness ordered me to do so, and the Marshal had orders to take it in his instructions; I took it also, because it was the headquarters of the league which was set on foot in order to cast us out of India; and if the fleet which the Turks had prepared in Goa river (with a large force of men, artillery, and arms specially assembled for this object) had pushed forward, and the fleet from Egypt had come at this juncture, as they had expected, without doubt I should have been utterly discomfited; yea, even if ever so great a fleet had come from Portugal they would not have allowed it to make good its arrival in this country. But when once Goa was conquered, everything else was at our command without any further trouble, and when Goa was taken, that one victory alone did more for the advancement of Your Highness's prestige than all the fleets which have come to India during the last fifteen years. And if Your Highness, in deference to the opinions of those who have written this advice to you, thinks it possible to secure your dominions in these parts by means of the fortresses of Cochin and Cannanore, it is impossible; for, if once Portugal should suffer a reverse at sea, your Indian possessions have not power to hold out a day longer than the kings of the land choose to suffer it; for, if one of our men takes anything by force from a native, immediately they raise the drawbridge and shut the gates of the fortress, and this causes Your Highness not to be Lord of the land, as of Goa, for in this territory the injury which is done to Moors or to Portuguese does not reach beyond the Captain of the fortress.

"Justice is yours, and yours the arm, yours the sword, and in the hand of your Captain-General reposes the punishment, and before him lies the remedy for the complaint of everyone; and if to-day there be any improvement in regard to the obedience shown by the natives of the land, it is plainly to be referred to the fact that the taking of Goa keeps India in repose and quiet; and the fact that the island has so frequently been attacked by the Turks, as those who wrote to Your Highness assert, and so valiantly defended by the Portuguese, enhances the credit which the progress of affairs in these parts deserves. And I have so completely disheartened the members of the league against us, that the King of Gujarat, powerful prince as he is, lost no time in sending to me his ambassadors and restoring to me all the cavaliers and fidalgos, who were ship-wrecked with Dom Affonso de Noronha, my nephew, on their voyage from Socotra, without my sending to ask this of him, and even offered me permission to build a fortress in Diu, a matter of such immense importance that even now I can hardly believe it; and I am now importuned by the Zamorin of Calicut, who desires to grant me a site to build a fortress in his city, and is willing to pay a yearly tribute to the Crown. All this is the result of our holding Goa, without my waging war upon any of these princes.

"And I hold it to be free from doubt, that if fortresses be built in Diu and Calicut (as I trust in Our Lord they will be), when once they have been well fortified, if a thousand of the Sultan's ships were to make their way to India, not one of these places could be brought again under his dominion. But if those of your Council understood Indian affairs as I do, they would not fail to be aware that Your Highness cannot be Lord over so extensive a territory as India by placing all your power and strength in your navy only (a policy at once doubtful and full of serious inconveniences); for this, and not to build fortresses, is the very thing which the Moors of these lands wish you to do, for they know well that a dominion founded on a navy alone cannot last, and they desire to live on their estates and property, and to carry their spices to the ancient and customary markets which they maintain, but they are unwilling to be subject to Your Highness, neither will they trade or be on friendly terms with you. And if they will not have any of these things, how is it likely that they will be pleased to see us establishing ourselves in this city of Goa, and strengthening its defences, and Your Highness Lord of so important a port and bar as this is, and not labour with all their might to hinder us from accomplishing our intentions? And if it seems a hard matter to those who have written about this to Your Highness that the recovery of Goa should have been so many times attempted, how much harder must it have been to gain the country from so powerful a sovereign as the King of Bijapur, Lord of so many armies, who is not likely to refrain from straining every nerve to recover the possession of it and striking a decisive blow at our prestige, if he could do so? And whenever any one of his captains shall come up against this city, are we to surrender it immediately without first of all measuring our forces against him? If this be so, Your Highness may as well leave India to the Moors, than seek to maintain your position therein with such extraordinary outlays and expenses on the navy, in ships as rotten as cork, only kept afloat by four pumps in each of them.

"As for the extraordinary expenses connected with the maintenance of Goa, of which these idle fellows write to Your Highness, the mere dross of India is so great, that, if the Portuguese possessions be properly farmed by your officers, the revenue from them alone would suffice to repay a great part of these expenses to which we are put, and if they say that the reason why I desire to keep possession of Goa is because it was I who took it, Your Lordship may rest assured that if I were a Portuguese of such a character as they are, I would be the first, if you ordered me to destroy it, to put the pick axe into the walls, and to fire the barrel of gunpowder under the Castle, if only for the pleasure of seeing the cards of the game of India shuffled for a new deal; but as long as I live, and while it remains my duty to send all account to Your Highness of Indian affairs, Goa must not be dismantled, for I would not that my enemies should exult in the contemplation of any serious disaster to this estate; and I must sustain it at my own cost, until they get their wishes, and another governor be sent to rule over it.

"If this that I say does not agree with the ideas of some of those who are half-hearted about this matter of Goa, Your Highness may know for certain that as yet there is a man who is governing it; and old and weak as I am, I will accept the government of this conquered territory at Your Highness's hands, if it may be permitted me to confer the lands of the Moors upon the cavaliers and fidalgos who have assisted me to gain them. But do not require of me every year an account of what I am doing as if I were a tax-gatherer, because four ill-mannered fellows, who sit at home like idols in their pagodas, have borne false witness against me; but honour me, and thank me, for I shall be happy to complete this enterprise, and spend what little I have upon it; and, in conclusion, all that I have to say is, that, if Your Highness either now or at any other time surrenders Goa to the Turks, then plainly Our Lord desires that the Portuguese dominion in India should come to an end; and, as for me, Your Highness may be sure that, so long as I am Governor, although I be put to much trouble, I shall not at any rate send you painted pictures of fictitious places, but rather kingdoms taken by force of arms from their masters and fortified by me in such a manner that they may give a good account of themselves to all time.

This is my opinion concerning this question of Goa which Your Highness commanded me to discuss with my captains and officers."

These arguments of Albuquerque were convincing, and King Emmanuel wrote to him, that for the future he should consider it necessary to retain Goa. But at the same time the frank language which the great Governor had used, was turned to his disadvantage by his numerous enemies at the Court of Lisbon. It was suggested to the King, who was very jealous of his authority in the distant parts of Asia, that Albuquerque threatened and desired to make himself an independent prince at Goa. He was attacked as extravagant in his expenses and grandiose in his views, just as Lord Wellesley was censured by the directors of the East India Company nearly 300 years later. And these views became so prevalent at Court, that King Emmanuel resolved to supersede Affonso de Albuquerque.

The news of his disgrace did not however reach India until some months later, and Albuquerque carried out two interesting and important campaigns, the one in the Red Sea in 1513 and the other at Ormuz in 1515. It was not until after the relief of Goa that Albuquerque was at last able to carry out his favourite scheme of entering the Red Sea, and attempting to close that route to Muhammadan commerce. This was one of the primary aims of his policy. The various circumstances which had delayed its execution from year to year have been noted; and it was a curious irony of fate that the only scheme in which Albuquerque failed was the establishment of the Portuguese power in the Red Sea. Other things which he regarded as subordinate, such as the conquests of Malacca and Ormuz, were accomplished, but he was never able to become master of Aden.

Before he set sail, he sent in January 1513, a squadron under Garcia de Sousa to cruise off Dabhol, the next most important port of the King of Bijapur to Goa; he despatched three ships with artillery and reinforcements to Malacca; and he ordered Dom Garcia de Noronha to blockade Calicut. He then set to work to complete the defensive fortifications of the island of Goa. The events of the preceding siege showed that it was not sufficient to build a wall round the city of Goa, but that the whole island must be adequately fortified. For this purpose he rebuilt and strengthened the fortress of Benastarim, and also constructed castles and military works at Panjim and Divarim, since these three places commanded the most practicable passages across the rivers into the island. He appointed commandants for these forts, but placed over them Pedro Mascarenhas as Captain of Goa.

Albuquerque next sent ambassadors to the principal native princes, who desired to enter into negotiations with him. To the King of Ahmadabad or Gujarat he sent Tristao de Ga with a demand for leave to build a fortress in the island of Diu. To Bijapur he sent Diogo Fernandes to treat for peace. To the Raja of Vijayanagar he sent Gaspar Chanoca with a request that the Portuguese should be allowed to build a fortress at Baticala. He also had an interview with Rasul Khan, and heard from him that there were serious dissensions at the Court of Bijapur between the Turks and the Persians, which had culminated in the murder of Kamal Khan, the chief minister, who was a Persian. Having thus placed everything in the most secure situation possible, he appointed his cousin Jorge de Albuquerque to be Captain of Cochin in the place of Pedro Mascarenhas, and ordered Dom Garcia de Noronha to break up the blockade of Calicut and to join him with his fleet.

On February 7, 1513, Albuquerque sailed out of Goa harbour for the Red Sea with twenty ships carrying 1700 Portuguese and 800 native soldiers, the latter of whom had been recruited on the Malabar coast. He had a favourable voyage, and on Good Friday, March 25, 1513, he cast anchor in the harbour of Aden. The importance of Aden at the entrance to the Red Sea was at that time very great, as the ships from India and the further East all stopped there before proceeding to Egypt. It was not only merchant vessels which followed that route, but the numerous ships which carried Moslem pilgrims to the birthplace and the tomb of Muhammad at Mecca and Medina.

Albuquerque's intention was to put a stop alike to the passage of traders and of pilgrims. The chief who ruled at Aden was practically independent, but owed some fealty to the Sultans of Egypt. He possessed a powerful army, and the walls of his city were well provided with artillery. Nevertheless Albuquerque determined to assault the place by escalade. The Portuguese were nearly successful, but their over impetuosity caused all the scaling ladders to be broken by the crowds of soldiers who tried to mount them at once. Only a small party managed to enter the town, and since they could not be supported owing to the breakdown of the ladders, they were almost entirely cut to pieces. Several officers were killed in this affair, amongst whom were Jorge da Silveira and Garcia de Sousa, who both distinguished themselves by their daring valour. Finding it impossible to breach the walls from the sea Albuquerque then set out to explore the coasts of Arabia and Abyssinia.

The latter, as a Christian empire, and the seat of that mythical monarch, Prester John, was a subject of great interest to the Christians of Europe. It has been said that John II of Portugal sent one of his equerries Joao Peres de Covilhao to Abyssinia, where he had become a person of influence and eventually died. Ambassadors had also been sent to that country by way of Melinda in Vasco da Gama's second voyage to the East, and had been favourably received by David, the then Emperor of Abyssinia.

The existence of such a Christian empire interested most Europeans only on account of its religion, but Albuquerque looked on it from a political aspect. He hoped to make use of the Abyssinians to attack Egypt from the South and overthrow the Muhammadan dynasty reigning there. In case this could not be accomplished, he formed a scheme by which the waters of the Nile should be diverted, so as to run through Abyssinia to the Red Sea, and thus destroy the fertility of Egypt. He even went so far in pursuance of his idea as to request the King of Portugal to send him experienced miners from the island of Madeira, who were accustomed to dig through rocks. Another plan he formed was to send a detachment to Medina to carry off the body of Muhammad. But he felt his present voyage to be rather one of exploration, and so, after sailing about throughout the summer of 1513, he left the Red Sea in the month of August for India. This cruise was one of great importance to the Portuguese, and a knowledge of the coasts, and of the navigation of the Red Sea was obtained, which proved in after years to be very useful. Before departing Albuquerque burnt many of the ships which were moored in the harbour of Aden, and he promised to return speedily and conquer the city.

On leaving the coast of Arabia, Albuquerque sailed direct to Diu. The situation of affairs in Gujarat had somewhat altered. Mahmud Shah Begara had always been willing that the Portuguese should build a fortress there, and his willingness may be attributed to the fact that Malik Ayaz, the Nawab of Diu, had become practically independent of him. This Muhammadan ruler had been the declared enemy of the Portuguese ever since the days of the first Viceroy, Dom Francisco de Almeida. He had assisted the Emir Husain in the naval battles of Chaul and Diu, and had formed a high idea of the power of the Portuguese. He now submitted to Muzaffar Shah II, who had just succeeded as King of Gujarat, and implored him not to grant permission for the Christians to build a fortress at Diu. He consented however to the foundation of a factory, and Albuquerque accordingly left one ship behind him, when he sailed south, with Fernao Martins Evangelho as Factor. On their way to Goa the Portuguese seized all the Muhammadan ships which had that year left Calicut, and had not yet been able to get across the Indian Ocean because of the monsoon, which is said to have completed the ruin of the Mopla merchants of Calicut. Albuquerque also left a squadron under Lopo Vaz de Sam Paio to blockade the port of Dabhol, and he then returned safely to Goa.

The year 1514 is the most peaceful of Albuquerque's administration. In it he was occupied mainly with matters of internal policy and the strengthening of his relations with the native princes. The most important event of the year was the building of the fortress of Calicut, and though the policy by which he attained this end cannot be commended, the result was a remarkable conclusion to his transactions on the Malabar coast. The long and consistent opposition of the Muhammadans of Calicut to the establishment of the Portuguese power is one of the leading threads of the history of the period. From the time of Vasco da Gama's first voyage and the murder of the Portuguese factor in 1500, Calicut had been the headquarters of the enemies of Portugal. King Emmanuel never ceased reiterating his orders that Calicut should be conquered at any cost; he declared his honour to be involved in the destruction of the Zamorin's power; and the defeat and death of Dom Fernao de Coutinho exasperated him exceedingly.

By the fleet which was commanded by Dom Garcia de Noronha the most precise orders had been sent for the building of a fortress at Calicut, and Francisco Nogueira had brought out a royal commission to be Captain of it. The Zamorin, who had been much impressed by the conquest of Goa, now declared his willingness to grant a site for a fortress at Calicut, but he would not grant the only site which Albuquerque was inclined to accept, because it completely commanded the harbour. On his return from the Red Sea, Albuquerque was informed by Nogueira of the temporising policy of the Zamorin, and resolved to carry out the King's orders without more delay. He met with considerable opposition, especially from the Raja of Cochin, who feared that the lucrative pepper trade, which he enjoyed, owing to the existence of a fortress and factory in his capital, would go to Calicut, and his views were adopted by the civil officers in charge of the trade and also by all the adherents of Almeida's policy. Nevertheless Albuquerque persisted, and since nothing could be done with the reigning Zamorin he advised the heir apparent to secure his accession by poison.

The advice was followed; the Zamorin was poisoned, and his murderer and successor allowed Albuquerque to build a fortress on the site he had chosen. It was the best fortified castle erected in India, and its water gate, by means of which reinforcements and ammunition could be introduced direct from the sea, was especially admired. The new Zamorin offered to pay full compensation to the Portuguese for all the damage that had been done since the murder of the first factor, and he also sent two native envoys to Lisbon to protest his sincere submission to King Emmanuel. The erection of the fortress at Calicut set the seal on the Portuguese power on the Malabar coast; the Mopla merchants were controlled at their head quarters, and the Commentaries  assert that the Raja of Narsingha or Vijayanagar

"declared, when he heard of it, that since the Zamorin of Calicut had assented to the building of a fortress in his land by the Portuguese, the Captain-General of India might as well build another in Bisnagar (Vijayanagar) if he pleased."

Though the building of the fortress at Calicut was the most important event of Albuquerque's rule in 1514, some notice must likewise be given to his relations with Gujarat, and the expeditions he sent to Ormuz and Malacca.

It was reported to him by the factor he had left at Diu, that the Nawab of that place had gone to Ahmadabad in order to induce the King of Gujarat to refuse the Portuguese leave to build upon the island, and also that Ismail Shah, of Persia, had sent a special embassy to Ahmadabad to induce the King to accept the Shiah form of the Muhammadan religion. Albuquerque, on this, determined to send a better equipped embassy than before to the Court of Muzaffar Shah II. He selected two fidalgos, on whom he could rely, Diego Fernandes de Beja, who had been his flag captain in the Red Sea, and Jaym4 Teixeira. The ambassadors arrived safely at Surat, but it was not until after a long delay that they were forwarded to Ahmadabad. They at once demanded of the Minister that the Portuguese should be allowed to build at Diu, and were told in reply that the very name of a fortress was distasteful to the King. The ambassadors replied—

"that the King of Portugal's men and property could only be safe in a very strongly fortified fortress, so that it should not be exposed to robbery, nor the men to slaughter, things which it was notorious had been perpetrated in Calicut, Quilon, and Malacca."

The King then sent an answer that, as a favour to Albuquerque, he would grant a site for a fortress at Broach, Surat, Mahim, Dumbes, or Bukkur, but not at Diu. This offer was refused, and the King then asked whether the Portuguese would allow his ships to make their voyages in security to Aden, if they did not carry spices. Diogo Fernandes replied that this could not be allowed, and that the Gujaratis should be content with trading to Malacca, Burma, Bengal and Persia, which were allied to the King of Portugal, without seeking to go to Arabia where he was at war. After these questions had been discussed at length, the Portuguese ambassadors returned to Goa, and it was not till some years later, during the governorship of Nuno da Cunha, that leave to build a fortress in Diu was granted to the Portuguese. Albuquerque was much pleased with the prudence and good behaviour of his envoys, which contrasted favourably with the outrageous conduct of the ambassador of Ismail Shah. It may be added that the King of Ahmadabad declined to accept the suggestion that he should become a Shiah.

From Malacca very bad news reached Albuquerque. Though the King of Siam and other neighbouring rulers had been kindly disposed to the Portuguese residents there, an energetic attack on their position was made by a fleet and army of Javanese, commanded by a former servant of Utemuta Raja. The Captain of the fortress and the Captain of the fleet, who had been left in command, Ruy de Brito and Ferndo Peres de Andrade, quarrelled, and their dissensions had nearly ruined the cause of the Portuguese. The latter had, however, won a considerable naval victory, and Albuquerque was inclined to favour him. He at once sent off three ships to Malacca, with whose help another great victory was won, and eventually he appointed his cousin, Jorge de Albuquerque, to be Captain of Malacca. This officer showed himself worthy of the confidence bestowed upon him; he defeated some insurgents who had risen against the King of Pacem, a native monarch in the island of Sumatra, which victory finally established the Portuguese influence in those quarters. Ruy de Brito returned to India, and under the government of Jorge de Albuquerque the Portuguese settlement in the Malay Peninsula remained in peace and tranquillity for some years.

A matter which occupied much of Albuquerque's attention was the establishment of the Portuguese power at Ormuz. He had never forgotten nor forgiven the slights which had been put upon him during the year 1508, and had long desired to complete the fortress which he had commenced, and carry out his vow of vengeance. The state of affairs in Persia increased his wish to act with promptitude. On his return from the Red Sea, he had been informed that the old King of Ormuz and his wily minister, Cogeatar (Khojah Atar), were dead, and what was of more significance, that the new king had acknowledged the supremacy and the form of religion of Ismail Shah. It was obvious that if the Portuguese did not strike quickly they would have to contend with the powerful Shah of Persia for the possession of Ormuz. Albuquerque had found an ambassador from Ismail waiting for him in India, to whom he exhibited the wealth and strength of the Portuguese establishments, before sending him back to Persia accompanied by an envoy from himself. It will be remembered that he had nominated Ruy Gomes as ambassador in 1510, and that that gentleman had been poisoned at Ormuz on the way. He now selected Miguel Ferreira for the office, with similar instructions to those given to Ruy Gomes. The Governor himself greatly impressed the Shah's ambassador, and it is recorded—

"That he was so struck with the personal appearance of Affonso de Albuquerque, that he desired a life-size portrait of him to be painted, which could be carried to Shah Ismail."

Ferreira was more fortunate than Ruy Gomes, and reached the Court of the Shah of Persia in safety. He was received with the greatest honour; so much so that the ambassador of the King of Bijapur was much offended that a better reception was given to the Portuguese emissary than to himself. Ismail Shah had many conversations with Ferreira, and declared "the desire which he cherished for the destruction of the Grand Sultan and the house of Mecca." After the departure of his ambassador, Albuquerque sent the son of his cousin, Jorge de Albuquerque, a young man of much promise, named Pedro, in command of four ships, with instructions to visit Aden, to winter at Ormuz, and to explore the Persian Gulf. The young commander, on his arrival at Ormuz, found that the new King was entirely under the influence of a young Persian named Rais Ahmad, who had taken possession of Cogeatar's goods and endeavoured to occupy his position. Pedro de Albuquerque first demanded that the half-finished fortress commenced by the Governor should be handed over to the Portuguese. When excuses were made, he desisted from this demand owing to the weakness of his squadron, and contented himself with requesting that the tribute due to the King of Portugal for the last two years should be paid. He obtained 10,000 xerafins (under 750), and after exploring the Persian Gulf he returned to India. On hearing his report, Albuquerque resolved in the succeeding season to proceed himself to Ormuz.

On February 20, 1515, Albuquerque left Goa with twenty-six ships, after appointing Pedro Mascarenhas Captain of Cochin, and Dom Joao de Eca Captain of Goa. This was his last campaign, and it is interesting to notice that it took place in the same quarter as his first Asiatic enterprise. But Affonso de Albuquerque, the great Captain-General of India, the conqueror of Goa and Malacca, was a very different person to the Affonso de Albuquerque of seven years before, the commodore of a small squadron, holding an ambiguous position, and at issue with the Viceroy and his own captains. The terror of his name had now spread abroad, and his captains no longer dared to oppose his wishes. In the month of March he anchored off the island of Ormuz, and at once demanded that the half-finished fortress should be handed over to him. After much negotiating the King of Ormuz gave way, and the Portuguese landed to complete their fortress. But Albuquerque did not feel safe as long as Rais Ahmad preserved his influence at Court; he therefore had the young man assassinated before the King's eyes. This murder terrified the King, who then complied with all the wishes of the Portuguese.

Albuquerque's successive measures were taken with great skill; he first got the King to surrender all his artillery, on the ground that it was needed for the defence of the fortress against a fleet which was rumoured to be coming from Egypt; and he next persuaded the King to issue an edict that the inhabitants of Ormuz should be disarmed. The completion of the fortress occupied some months, at the close of which, in August 1515, Albuquerque unwillingly consented to the return of his favourite nephew, Dom Garcia de Noronha, to Portugal.

While at Ormuz he was visited by envoys from all the petty rulers along the Persian Gulf, and even by chiefs from the interior of Arabia, Persia, and Tartary. His accumulated labours by this period had broken down his health, but his fame was at its height.

"From all parts of the interior country so many were they who came daily into the fortress in order to look upon Affonso de Albuquerque that our people could not keep them back; and although his illness prevented him from going out very often, they begged those who were on guard at the doorway of the fortress to at least permit them to get sight of him, for they had come from their own country for this express purpose. And if at any time he rode on horseback, so large a crowd of people followed after him along the streets, that he could hardly make his way through them; and as the fame of his person, and his greatness, was the topic of all those parts, and in consequence of the news which the ambassadors whom Shah Ismail had sent to him had circulated, they sent their servants to him with orders to draw his portrait to the life."

Every day, however, the great Governor's health grew worse, and on September 26, 1515, he summoned all the captains to his residence in Ormuz, and declared to them that since his illness promised to prove fatal, he wished them to swear to obey whoever he nominated as his successor. On October 20 he appointed Pedro de Albuquerque Captain of Ormuz, and from that time gave up attending to business and began to prepare for death.

On November 8, 1515, he set sail from Ormuz in the Flor da Rosa, commanded by his faithful friend, Diogo Fernandes de Beja, hoping that he should end his days in Goa, the city which he had conquered and which he loved. But he was not allowed to conclude his great career without suffering a deep humiliation. On the way a native brigantine was captured, which contained letters directed to Albuquerque. In spite of his health he insisted on these letters being read to him at once. In them appeared the news that Lopo Soares de Albergaria had just reached India, with a commission to succeed him as Governor. This news wounded Albuquerque to the heart.

"He lifted up his hands and gave thanks unto Our Lord and cried:—"In bad repute with men because of the King, and in bad repute with the King because of the men, it were well that I were gone".

This harsh measure of supersession had undoubtedly been suggested to King Emmanuel by the personal enemies whom the Governor had made through his imperious temper; and it is not without significance that among the captains who accompanied Soares de Albergaria were two of Albuquerque's declared enemies, Francisco de Tavora and Diogo Mendes de Vasconcellos. The jealous disposition of the King had been freely worked on, and the argument that Albuquerque wished to make himself an independent prince or duke at Goa had had its effect. On receiving the tidings of his disgrace Albuquerque added a codicil to his will, directing that his bones should be carried to Portugal, and he wrote the following proud and touching letter to King Emmanuel, the sovereign he had served so well.

"Sire, I am not writing to Your Highness with my own hand, because, when I do so, I tremble very greatly, which is a warning of my approaching death. I leave a son, Sire, to perpetuate my memory, to whom I bequeath all my property, which is little enough, but I bequeath him also the obligation, due to me for all my services, which is very great. The affairs of India speak for me and for themselves [lit. for it]. I leave India, with its principal heads fallen, in your power, without its promising any other trouble, except the locking close of the gate of the Straits [i.e. of the Red Sea]; that is what Your Highness ordered me to do. I give you as my constant counsel, Sire, for the security of India, to continue drawing your expenses from it [i. e. to make the administration pay for itself]. I beg Your Highness in reward to remember all this, and to make my son a nobleman and to give him full satisfaction for my services. All my hopes I place in the hands of Your Highness and of the Queen. I commend myself to you both that you may make my affairs [cousas]  great, since I make my end in the affairs of your service and for them deserve to be rewarded. And as for my pensions, which I have won for the greater part, as Your Highness knows, I kiss your hands for them for my son. Written at sea on the sixth day of December, 1515:"

(In Albuquerque's own handwriting:)
"Done by the servant of Your Highness,
AFONSO D ALBOQUERQUE."

It is satisfactory to know that the King complied with the dying wish of the great Governor. Albuquerque's illegitimate son, Braz de Albuquerque, was recognised at Court and married to a rich heiress, Dona Maria de Noronha, daughter of the first Count of Linhares; he was granted a pension of 300,000 reis (about 66) a year; and his name was changed by royal command to Affonso. He proved himself worthy of his father, became Controller of the Household of King John III, and President of the Senate of Lisbon, but posterity is chiefly grateful to him for having compiled the Commentaries  of his great father's deeds. King Emmanuel quickly regretted his unworthy treatment of his faithful servant, and in 1516, before the news of his death had reached Lisbon, he sent out orders that while Lopo Soares de Albergaria was to be Governor of Calicut, Cochin and Malacca, Albuquerque was to command in the Indian and Arabian Seas, with power to draw on all the resources of India for a final campaign in the Red Sea. This news, however, never reached the great captain, and the commission was not signed until after his death.

The details of the death of Affonso de Albuquerque are best told in the brief words of the Commentaries.

"At this time he had become so weak that he could not stand, ever desiring Our Lord to take him to Goa, and there do with him as should be best for His service; and when the ship was yet distant three or four leagues from the bar, he ordered them to summon Frei Domingos, the Vicar-General, and Master Affonso, the physician. And as he was so weak that lie could not eat anything, he ordered his attendants to give him a little of the red wine which had been sent that year from Portugal. And when the brigantine had sailed away in advance to Goa, the vessel proceeded to cast anchor on the liar, on Saturday night, the fifteenth day of the month of December. When they told Affonso de Albuquerque that he was at the end of his voyage, he lifted up his hands and gave many thanks to Our Lord, because he had vouchsafed to grant him that mercy which he had so earnestly desired, and thus he remained all through that night with the Vicar- General, who had already come off from the shore to the ship, and with Pedro de Alpoem, Secretary of India, whom he constituted his executor, embracing the crucifix and continually talking; and he desired the Vicar-General, who was his confessor, to recite the Passion of Our Lord, written by St. John, to which he was always devoted, for in it, and in that cross which was made in the likeness of that whereon Our Lord had suffered, and on His wounds he rested all the hope of his salvation; and he commanded them to attire him in the costume of the Order of Santiago, whereof he was a Commander, that he might die in it; and on the Sunday, one hour before the dawn, he rendered up his soul to God; and there finished all his troubles without seeing any satisfaction of them."

The corpse of the great governor was at once conveyed to Goa and "so great was the crying and weeping on all sides, that it seemed as if the very river of Goa was being poured out."

The body was conveyed to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Conception, which he had founded outside the gates of Goa on the spot where he had witnessed the second capture of the city.

"There accompanied the procession," it is recorded in the Commentaries, "all the people of the city, not only Christians, but Hindus and Moors [Muhammadans], who filled the streets, demonstrating by the profusion of their tears the great sorrow they felt at his death. As for the Hindus, when they beheld his body stretched upon the bier, with his long beard reaching down to his waist, and his eyes half open, they declared, after their heathen notions, that it could not be that he was dead, but that God had need of him for some war, and had therefore sent for him."

His son, according to the last wishes of the great captain, desired to remove the body of Affonso de Albuquerque to Portugal, but King Emmanuel would never consent, saying that as long as the bones of Affonso de Albuquerque were at Goa India was secure. John III held the same view, and it was not until 1566, more than fifty years after his death, that his remains were removed to Portugal by permission of Queen Catherine, who was then Regent in the name of the boy-king, Dom Sebastian. They were then solemnly interred in the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace at Lisbon, attached to the Augustinian monastery, where they still repose.

The deeds of Albuquerque form his fittest memorial, and in the next chapter an attempt will be made to examine his character as exhibited by his internal policy. Nevertheless it is interesting to quote here his son's description of his person and his character as given in the Commentaries.

"This great Captain was a man of middle stature, with a long face, fresh coloured, the nose somewhat large. He was a prudent man, and a Latin scholar, and spoke in elegant phrases; his conversation and writings showed his excellent education. He was of ready words, very authoritative in his commands, very circumspect in his dealings with the Moors, and greatly feared yet greatly loved by all, a quality rarely found united in one captain. He was very valiant and favoured by fortune. King Ferdinand said to Pedro Correa, when he was Portuguese ambassador at the Spanish Court, that it was a very astonishing thing, that King Emmanuel, his son-in-law, should have ordered Affonso de Albuquerque to return from India, seeing that he was so great a captain and so fortunate in his wars. He always gained the victory in his battles against the Moors, both at sea and on land, sometimes indeed being wounded, for the places where he was posted were never of the safest. He was very prompt in the performance of any undertaking when he had once determined upon it, and his name and his successes are so celebrated among all the kings and princes of Europe and Asia, that the Grand Turk, when conversing with Don Alvaro de Sande, captain of the Emperor Charles V, whom he held in captivity, concerning the state of India, laid his hand on his breast and said that Affonso de Albuquerque had been a very remarkable captain. He was a man of the strictest veracity, and so pure in the justice he administered that the Hindus and Moors after his death, whenever they received any affront from the Governors of India, used to go to Goa to his tomb and make offerings of choice flowers and of oil for his lamp, praying him to do them justice. He was very charitable to the poor, and settled many women in marriage in Goa. For he was of such a generous disposition that all the presents and gifts which the kings of India bestowed on him—and they were numerous and of great value—he divided among the captains and fidalgos who had assisted him in obtaining them. He was very honourable in his manner of life, and so careful over his language, that the greatest oath which he ever took when he was very much enraged was this: 'I abhor the life that I live.' He died at the age of sixty-three years, having governed India for six years."