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Who is Afonso de Albuquerque?

The Portuguese soldier and explorer named Afonso de Albuquerque is known for sailing to the Spice Islands (also referred to as the Moluccas , a group of islands located in Indonesia). His travels lasted between 1507 and 1511, where he attempted to take control of trade in the region. In this article, you will learn more about this successful Portuguese explorer.

Departing form Europe, he sailed about Africa to the Indian Ocean. In 1509, he gained an appointment as Viceroy of India by King Emmanuel. In January of 1510, he forced his way to the Indian city of Calicut, where he became responsible for its destruction. He then took a southern Indian region called Goa in March of the same year. In the end, Portugal was able to claim Goa as its own.

Other tidbits of information regarding Afonso de Albuquerque includes:

1) In his lifetime, de Albuquerque was a nobleman and naval general officer.

2) Equipped with impressive strategic skills, de Albuquerque was made the first Duke of Goa, making him the first person to hold such a position that did not belong to the royal family.

3) It was de Albuquerque’s desire to close all of the Indian Ocean naval passages that led to the Atlantic, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and the Pacific.

4) de Albuquerque was born in Alhandra around 1453, close to Lisbon, Portugal.

5) Some of the names that de Albuquerque was known by includes The Great, The Caesar of the East, Lion of the Seas and as The Portuguese Mars.

6) Since his father held an important position at court (Lord of Vila Verde dos Francos , by marriage), de Albuquerque was automatically thrusted into the limelight of an individual who had connections with the royal family of Portugal, but was not specifically linked through blood.

7) On his first expedition, de Albuquerque set out in 1503 to reach the East. In later years, his best conquests would take place here. He first sailed about the Cape of Good Hope in hopes of reaching India. It was at this time that he succeeded in establishing the king of Cochin on his throne. In return, he was granted permission to construct a Portuguese fort at Cochin. As a result, the seeds were planted for his country to establish their power in the East.

8) When he returned back home in 1504, de Albuquerque enjoyed a warm welcome from King Manuel I of Portugal. He earned the trust of the royal family and was given the command of a squadron that consisted of five vessels in a fleet with 16 in total. In 1506, they sailed for India under the command of Tristao da Cunha. They were able to successfully attack Arab cities located on the east coast of Africa.

However, Albuquerque became separated from Tristao (by choice). He decided to sail his squadron against the island of Hormuz (situated in the Persian Gulf). At the time, it served as one of the primary centers of commerce in the East. He reached his destination on September 25, 1507. Shortly after, he gained possession of the island , a feat that was short-lived.  However, he was successful in leaving something behind , the constructed Portuguese Castle on the island of Hormoz.