Afonso de Albuquerque

Afonso de Albuquerque, 1st Duke of Goa (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu ði aɫβuˈkɛɾk(ɨ)]; c. 1453 – 16 December 1515) was a Portuguese general, admiral, and statesman. He served as viceroy of Portuguese India from 1509 to 1515, during which he expanded Portuguese influence across the Indian Ocean and built a reputation as a fierce and skilled military commander.[1][2][3]

Afonso de Albuquerque
Captain-Major of the Seas of Arabia
Governor of Portuguese India
In office
4 November 1509  September 1515
MonarchManuel I
Preceded byFrancisco de Almeida
Succeeded byLopo Soares de Albergaria
Personal details
Afonso de Albuquerque

c. 1453
Alhandra, Kingdom of Portugal
Died16 December 1515 (aged c. 62)
Goa, Portuguese India
ChildrenBrás de Albuquerque [pt]
  • Gonçalo de Albuquerque (father)
  • Leonor de Menezes (mother)
Governor of India

Albuquerque advanced the three-fold Portuguese grand scheme of combating Islam, spreading Christianity, and securing the trade of spices by establishing a Portuguese Asian empire.[4] Among his achievements, Albuquerque managed to conquer Goa and was the first European of the Renaissance to raid the Persian Gulf, and he led the first voyage by a European fleet into the Red Sea.[5] He is generally considered a highly effective military commander,[6] and "probably the greatest naval commander of the age",[7] given his successful strategy — he attempted to close all the Indian Ocean naval passages to the Atlantic, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and to the Pacific, transforming it into a Portuguese mare clausum.[8] He was appointed head of the "fleet of the Arabian and Persian sea" in 1506.[9] Many of the conflicts in which he was directly involved took place in the Indian Ocean, in the Persian Gulf regions for control of the trade routes, and on the coasts of India. It was his military brilliance in these initial campaigns that enabled Portugal to become the first global empire in history.[10] He led the Portuguese forces in numerous battles, including the conquest of Goa in 1510 and the capture of Malacca in 1511.

During the last five years of his life, he turned to administration,[11] where his actions as the second governor of Portuguese India were crucial to the longevity of the Portuguese Empire. He oversaw the expeditions that resulted in the establishment of diplomatical contacts with Thailand through his envoy Duarte Fernandes, with Pegu in Myanmar, with Timor and the Moluccas through a voyage headed by António de Abreu and Francisco Serrão and laid the path for European trade with Ming China through Rafael Perestrello. He also aided in establishing diplomatic relations with Ethiopia,[12][13][14] and established diplomatic ties with Persia during the Safavid dynasty.[15]

Throughout his career, he received epithets such as "the Terrible",[16] "the Great",[2] "the Lion of the Seas",[17] "the Portuguese Mars",[8] and "the Caesar of the East".[17]

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