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Afonso de Albuquerque

Albuquerque, Afonso de (əfôNˈzō dĭ əlbōkĕrˈkə, –də älˌbəkĕrˈkə) [key], 1453–1515, Portuguese admiral, the effective founder of the Portuguese Empire in the East. He first went to India in 1503, and in 1506 he set out for India again, to assume command from Francisco de Almeida in command. Albuquerque sailed with Tristão da Cunha along the coasts of Madagascar and E Africa and captured the island of Socotra (Suqutra). Then, leaving da Cunha, he ravaged the Oman coast and took (1507) the island of Hormoz; he attempted to build a fort at Hormoz but had to retire to Socotra when some of his men deserted. Almeida disavowed the conquest and, after Albuquerque had arrived in India, refused to yield command and imprisoned him. When a Portuguese fleet arrived with confirmation of Albuquerque's appointment, Almeida gave way (1509). Albuquerque captured Goa (1510), making it the mainstay of Portuguese power in India; Malacca (1511), extending Portuguese domination to SE Asia; and Hormoz again (1515). While returning from Hormoz to India, Albuquerque learned that he had been replaced. He died at the entrance to Goa harbor. Albuquerque had built forts at Goa, Calicut, Malacca, and Hormoz; reconstructed those of Cannanore (Kannur) and Cochin (Kochi); begun shipbuilding and other industries in Portuguese India; and established relations with the rulers of SE Asia. The main goals of his policy—control over the spice sources and of the trade routes—were nearly attained during his brief tenure of power.

See his Commentaries (tr., 4 vol., 1875–84; repr. 1970); biography by E. Sanceau (1936).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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