Afonso de Albuquerque (1453–1515) combating Islam & spreading Christianity - Asian Massive Crew Community 2002/2019

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Afonso de Albuquerque (1453–1515) combating Islam & spreading Christianity
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Afonso de Albuquerque (1453–1515) combating Islam & spreading Christianity


Afonso de Albuquerque, Duke of Goa (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu ði aɫβuˈkɛɾk(ɨ)]; c. 1453 – 16 December 1515) (also spelled Aphonso or Alfonso) was a Portuguese general, a "great conqueror", a statesman and an empire builder.

Afonso advanced the three-fold Portuguese grand scheme of combating Islam, spreading Christianity, and securing the trade of spices by establishing a Portuguese Asian empire. Among his achievements, Afonso managed to conquer the island of 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. His military and administrative works are generally regarded as among the most vital to building and securing the Portuguese Empire in the Orient, the Middle East, and the spice routes of eastern Oceania.

Afonso is generally considered a military genius, and "probably the greatest naval commander of the age" 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 established over the opposition of the Ottoman Empire and its Muslim and Hindu allies.

In the expansion of the Portuguese Empire, Afonso initiated a rivalry that would become known as the Ottoman–Portuguese war, which would endure for many years. Many of the Ottoman–Portuguese 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 against the much larger Ottoman Empire and its allies that enabled Portugal to become the first global empire in history.

He had a record of engaging and defeating much larger armies and fleets. For example, his capture of Ormuz in 1507 against the Persians was accomplished with a fleet of seven ships.
Other famous battles and offensives which he led include the conquest of Goa in 1510 and the capture of Malacca in 1511. He became admiral of the Indian Ocean, and was appointed head of the "fleet of the Arabian and Persian sea" in 1506.

During the last five years of his life, he turned to administration, where his actions as the second governor of Portuguese India were crucial to the longevity of the Portuguese Empire. He pioneered European sea trade with China during the Ming Dynasty with envoy Rafael Perestrello, Thailand with Duarte Fernandes as envoy, and with Timor, passing through Malaysia and Indonesia in a voyage headed by António de Abreu and Francisco Serrão. He also aided diplomatic relations with Ethiopia using priest envoys João Gomes and João Sanches,and established diplomatic ties with Persia, during the Safavid dynasty.

He became known as "the Great","the Terrible", "the Caesar of the East", "the Lion of the Seas", and "the Portuguese Mars".



Main article: 5th Portuguese India Armada (Albuquerque, 1503)

When King Manuel I of Portugal was enthroned, he showed some reticence towards Afonso, a close friend of his dreaded predecessor and seventeen years his senior. Eight years later, on 6 April 1503, after a long military career and at a mature age, Afonso was sent on his first expedition to India together with his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque. Each commanded three ships, sailing with Duarte Pacheco Pereira and Nicolau Coelho. They engaged in several battles against the forces of the Zamorin of Calicut (Calecute, Kozhikode) and succeeded in establishing the King of Cohin (Cohim, Kochi) securely on his throne. In return, the King gave them permission to build the Portuguese fort Immanuel (Fort Kochi) and establish trade relations with Quilon (Coulão, Kollam). This laid the foundation for the eastern Portuguese Empire.

Second expedition to India, 1506

Map of the Arabian Peninsula showing the Red Sea with Socotra island (red) and the Persian Gulf (blue) with the Strait of Hormuz (Cantino planisphere, 1502)
Afonso returned home in July 1504, and was well received by King Manuel I. After he assisted with the creation of a strategy for the Portuguese efforts in the east, King Manuel entrusted him with the command of a squadron of five vessels in the fleet of sixteen sailing for India in early 1506 headed by Tristão da Cunha.

Their aim was to conquer Socotra and build a fortress there, hoping to close the trade in the Red Sea. Afonso went as "chief-captain for the Coast of Arabia", sailing under da Cunha's orders until reaching Mozambique. He carried a sealed letter with a secret mission ordered by the King: after fulfilling the first mission, he was to replace the first viceroy of India, Francisco de Almeida, whose term ended two years later.[28] Before departing, he legitimized a natural son born in 1500, and made his will.

First conquest of Socotra and Ormuz, 1507


The fleet left Lisbon on 6 April 1506. Afonso piloted his ship himself, having lost his appointed pilot on departure. In Mozambique Channel, they rescued Captain João da Nova, who had encountered difficulties on his return from India; da Nova and his ship, the Frol de la mar, joined da Cunha's fleet. From Malindi, da Cunha sent envoys to Ethiopia, which at the time was thought to be closer than it actually is. Those included the priest João Gomes, João Sanches and Tunisian Sid Mohammed who, having failed to cross the region, headed for Socotra; from there, Afonso managed to land them in Filuk. After successful attacks on Arab cities on the east Africa coast, they conquered Socotra and built a fortress at Suq, hoping to establish a base to stop the Red Sea commerce to the Indian Ocean. However, Socotra was abandoned four years later, as it was not advantageous as a base.



The Fort of Our Lady of the Conception, Hormuz Island, Iran
At Socotra, they parted ways: Tristão da Cunha sailed for India, where he would relieve the Portuguese besieged at Cannanore, while Afonso took seven ships and 500 men to Ormuz in the Persian Gulf, one of the chief eastern centers of commerce. On his way, he conquered the cities of Curiati (Kuryat), Muscat in July 1507, and Khor Fakkan, accepting the submission of the cities of Kalhat and Sohar. He arrived at Ormuz on 25 September and soon captured the city, which agreed to become a tributary state of the Portuguese king.


Statue of Afonso de Albuquerque, symbolically standing on a stack of weapons, referencing his reply in Hormuz
Hormuz was then a tributary state of Shah Ismail of Persia. In a famous episode, shortly after its conquest Albuquerque was confronted by Persian envoys, who demanded the payment of the due tribute from him instead. He ordered them to be given a stock of cannonballs, arrows and weapons, retorting that "such was the currency struck in Portugal to pay the tribute demanded from the dominions of King Manuel"

According to Brás de Albuquerque, it was Shah Ismael who coined the term "Lion of the seas", addressing Albuquerque as such. Afonso began building the Fort of Our Lady of Victory (later renamed Fort of Our Lady of the Conception), engaging his men of all ranks in the work.

However, some of his officers revolted against the heavy work and climate and, claiming that Afonso was exceeding his orders, departed for India. With the fleet reduced to two ships and left without supplies, he was unable to maintain this position for long. Forced to abandon Ormuz in January 1508, he raided coastal villages to resupply the settlement of Socotra, returned to Ormuz, and then headed to India.


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
Aristotle
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