Alfonso de Albuquerque, Nino da Cunha- The Portuguese in India

Alfonso de Albuquerque

  • Albuquerque, who followed Almeida as the Portuguese governor of India, was the architect of the Portuguese power in the East, a task he completed before his death.
  • By establishing bases commanding all of the ocean’s entrances, he ensured Portugal’s strategic domination over the Indian Ocean. Portuguese strongholds existed in East Africa, off the coast of the Red Sea, at Ormuz, Malabar, and Malacca.
  • Under Albuquerque’s rule, the Portuguese tightened their grip by instituting a permit system for various ships and exerting control over the area’s major shipbuilding centers.

Afonso de Albuquerque--not Vasco da Gama - Foto Afonso de Albuquerque Square, Belem - Tripadvisor

  • The Portuguese were also aided in their goals by the lack of available timber for shipbuilding in the Gulf and Red Sea areas. Albuquerque simply bought Goa from the Sultan of Bijapur in 1510; the Sultan of Bijapur’s major port had become “the first little portion of Indian territory to be under the Europeans since the time of Alexander the Great.” The elimination of Sati became an exciting feature of his reign.
  • From Albuquerque’s time, the Portuguese men who had arrived on the expeditions and stayed in India were encouraged to marry native women. They established themselves as village landlords in Goa and the Province of the North, constructing new roads and irrigation works on a regular basis, introducing new crops such as tobacco and cashew nuts, or higher plantation forms of coconut, as well as planting large groves of coconut to meet the demand for coir rigging and cordage.
  • They settled in towns such as Goa and Cochin as artisans and grasp-craftsmen, as well as traders. The majority of these Portuguese began to regard their new communities as home rather than Portugal.

Nino da Cunha 

The death of Nuno da Cunha stock image | Look and Learn

  • Nino do Cunha was appointed governor of Portuguese interests in India in November 1529, and nearly a year later, the Portuguese authorities in India moved their headquarters from Cochin to Goa.
  • In his war with the Mughal emperor Humayun, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat enlisted the help of the Portuguese by transferring the island of Bassein, along with its dependents and revenues, to them in 1534.
  • He also assured them of a base in Diu. When Humayun retreated from Gujarat in 1536, Bahadur Shah’s relations with the Portuguese deteriorated, and the populace of the town began battling the Portuguese, Bahadur Shah intended to build a partition wall.
  • In response, the Portuguese began discussions, during which time the monarch of Gujarat was invited aboard a Portuguese ship and assassinated in 1537. Da Cunha also attempted to enhance Portuguese influence in Bengal by placing a large number of Portuguese nationals there, with Hooghly as their headquarters.

The Portuguese’s religion policy

In North Africa, the Moors have been the Portuguese’s bitter adversary. The Arabs had been in the same boat. When the Portuguese arrived in the East, they brought with them the same fervor for selling Christianity as well as a desire to persecute all Muslims.

While the Portuguese were first intolerant of Muslims, they were initially extremely accommodating of Hindus. However, after the establishment of the Inquisition in Goa, there was a trade, and Hindus were tormented as well.

Heritage History: Portugual Empire in the East

Despite this intolerance, the Jesuits had a huge influence on Akbar’s court, owing to the Mughal emperor’s interest in theology. Akbar sent a letter to the rulers in Goa in September 1579, requesting the dispatch of two erudite priests.

The Church leaders in Goa quickly disseminated the invitation, considering it as a threat to convert the emperor, as well as his kingdom and people, to Christianity. Rodolfo Aquaviva and Antonio Monserrate, two Jesuit fathers, were chosen for the task.

They had been gained with honor when they arrived in Fatehpur Sikri on February 28, 1580. In 1583, Aquaviva and Monserrate returned, putting to rest the Portuguese expectations of Akbar’s conversion to Christianity. The second mission, referred to as by Akbar in 1590, came to a similar conclusion in 1592.

The third mission, once more summoned by Akbar, came in Lahore (where the court docket was then residing) in 1595 and remained as a form of perpetual institution, thus extending its influence on secular politics.

The work was led by Fathers Jerome Xavier and Emanuel Pinheiro, and their letters from the courtroom have become well-known for the information they provided during Akbar’s rule. When Prince Salim took the throne as Jahangir, he assuaged the Muslims by ignoring the Jesuit fathers.

His brief estrangement from the Jesuits ended gradually, and in 1606 he reestablished his benevolence to them. With their help, the splendid and spacious church in Lahore was allowed to be kept at the side of the collegium or priests’ house.

In Agra, twenty baptisms were completed in 1608, with the priests performing publicly with as much freedom as they did in Portugal. Jahangir’s behavior has progressed to the point that Jesuit priests are hopeful of converting him to Christianity. However, these expectations had been dashed. Furthermore, the Portuguese viceroys’ pompous behavior caused a schism with the Mughal emperor.


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