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Francisco de Almeida

Almeida, Francisco de (frənsēshˈkŏ dĭ älmāˈdə) [key], c.1450–1510, Portuguese admiral, first viceroy of Portuguese India. He was first sent to India in 1503 as captain major of a fleet and helped Portuguese forces defeat the ruler of Calicut. In 1505 he was appointed viceroy and set out from Lisbon with instructions to develop Portuguese commerce by building fortifications on the east coast of Africa, concluding alliances with the Indian rulers, and taking control of the spice trade from the Arabs. In Africa he built forts at Kilwa and Sofala and burned Mombasa. After his arrival in India he built further forts but relied mainly on his fleets to secure control of all sea trade. The Egyptians, seeing their commerce threatened, built a fleet (with the help of Venice) and defeated and killed (1508) Almeida's son at Chaul. However, in 1509, Almeida won a great naval battle against them and their Indian allies off Diu. Almeida at first refused to yield his power to Afonso de Albuquerque and had Albuquerque imprisoned (1509), but he later gave him command. On his way home to Portugal, Almeida was killed by Khoikhoi near the Cape of Good Hope.

See K. G. Jayne, Vasco da Gama and His Successors (1910).

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

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