Portuguese in South-East Africa, 1600-1700

By Eric Axelson | Go to book overview

11
THE FALL OF MOMBASA

The Portuguese in the captaincy of Mombasa remained on the defensive. The Swahili of Pate and allied towns, understandably incensed at Pedro de Almeida's proceedings there, and inspired by victory, preyed ever more brazenly on passing Portuguese and pro-Portuguese vessels; they disrupted the coastal trade north of Mombasa, reduced the takings at the custom-house, and impoverished the residents of the island. Outside of Mombasa the Portuguese were restricted to Pemba and Zanzibar; and even on Mombasa security depended on buying off the Langulos.1

In 1685 the captain of Mombasa, Antunes Portugal, and the Prince of Faza, urged on the Viceroy the necessity for making another effort to subdue Pate.2 It was arranged that two frigates from Goa should rendezvous at Shungaya, usually regarded as the modern Port Durnford, with a force of pro-Portuguese Bajunes and Maracates. These auxiliary troops crossed to Pate island and attacked Siyu, unsupported. They were beaten off, and called on the Portuguese for aid. The Portuguese commander refused to assist, and promptly sailed for Mombasa. In his report the commander tried to justify his action by saying that there was insufficient depth of water off Faza for his ships; a contrary wind made it impossible for him to make Pate; and in any case he had lost confidence in his local allies. Strandes remarks that it was probably the report of two Arab vessels arriving at Pate that ruined his pleasure in the expedition. After he had spent four weeks in Mombasa the captain and residents persuaded him to make another effort against Pate. The Prince of Faza and numbers of his followers embarked. But, alleging that the currents had carried him past that island, and the winds did not permit him to beat back to it, the commander made no attempt to land, but sailed to Goa.3

Pate remained a thorn in the Portuguese flank, and now began to incite the Swahili to the south of Mombasa to revolt. An ex-regent of

____________________
1
In the three years 1682-4, the customs revenue averaged 17,988, xerafins, the 1% 2,984; leases of lands, 125; payment by Governor Faquevale, 432, in kind; tribute from the King of Pemba, 874, in kind; tobacco monopoly, 126; lease of the Kilindini ferry, 59; payment by the captain for coir and pitch, 2,160; total, 34,200 xerafins. Expenses amounted to 24,579 (including payment of a vicar on Zanzibar). ("Rellação" of the revenues and expenses of India, forwarded by Governor to Rei, 24/1/1688, TT Mis. Man. do Convento da Graça, Caixa 19, Tomo III E, fol. 228, 267.)
2
Principe de Ampaza to [V.], 24/8/ 1685, Mombasa, AHEI 58, LM 51A, fol. 217-8, 219-20; João Antunes Portugal to [V.], 26/8/ 1685, ibid. fol. 215-6.
3
Strandes, p. 235; Francisco Pereira Silva to [V.], 24/4/ 1686, AHEI 59, LM 51B, fol. 175-6 Silva to V. [ 1686], ibid. fol. 177-v.

-155-

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Portuguese in South-East Africa, 1600-1700
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations x
  • 1 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 1
  • 2 - THE SIEGES OF MOÇAMBIQUE 15
  • 3 - ESTÊVÃO DE ATAÍDE 30
  • 4 - DIOGO SIMõES MADEIRA 40
  • 5 - NUNO ÁLVARES PEREIRA 55
  • 6 - THE REVOLT OF MOMBASA 78
  • 7 - THE 1635 SETTLEMENT SCHEME 97
  • 8 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA, 1637-1651 115
  • 9 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA, 1652-1671 129
  • 10 - THE 1677 SETTLEMENT SCHEME 144
  • 11 - THE FALL OF MOMBASA 155
  • 12 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA, 1681-1700 176
  • 13 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA AT THE CLOSE OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 188
  • Appendix - SHIPWRECKS ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN COAST 196
  • GLOSSARY 209
  • Bibliography 211
  • Index 217
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