Albuquerque, Afonso de

Albuquerque, Afonso de

(əfôN`zō dĭ əlbo͞okĕr`kə, –də äl'bəkĕr`kə), 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 AlmeidaAlmeida, Francisco de
, 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.
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 in command. Albuquerque sailed with Tristão da CunhaCunha, Tristão da
, c.1460–1514?, Portuguese navigator. His most important voyage was undertaken in 1506, when he set out with 15 ships for India. He discovered three volcanic islands in the S Atlantic, one of which is named for him.
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 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).

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