Portuguese in South-East Africa, 1600-1700

By Eric Axelson | Go to book overview

2
THE SIEGES OF MOÇAMBIQUE

King Filipe and his advisers were apprehensive of infiltration by Arabs into Portuguese possessions in south-east Africa, and ordered that no Arab should embark in a southbound vessel unless he gave surety that he would return in it. Priests, however, who knew the country well ( João dos Santos was probably one) declared that the danger was small, and that because of the shortage of seamen nothing should be done to hinder Arabs from serving in Portuguese vessels.1 The threat from the Netherlands was much more menacing. To obtain more funds to improve the fortifications and to save the hospital from persistent neglect the King would have liked to see a custom-house established at Moçambique, but he was told that this would be incompatible with the contracts signed with the captains of the fortress who alone were permitted to import and export goods.2 Informed that the captains often went in person to the Zambezi, Filipe expressly forbade them to leave the fortress, pointing out that the monsoon which facilitated their voyage might equally easily bring a Turkish or Netherlands fleet to Moçambique. He forbade them to send soldiers on their private business but to ensure that the garrison was always kept up to strength; and he ordered the cistern to be kept filled with water and other preparations made against possible siege.3 The appearance of two Netherlands pinnaces off Sofala and Pemba in 1601 emphasized the need for precaution.4

Lourenço de Brito, having served in the Barreto expedition, and having had previous experience as captain of Moçambique and Sofala, in addition to lengthy service in India,5 considered himself above such admonitions and visited the Zambezi. There he was attacked and robbed by natives, and ten or twelve of his Portuguese companions were killed. Sebastião de Macedo, arriving to succeed him, promptly bought a vessel with royal funds, placed 50 men in her to go to Brito's help, and then over-

____________________
1
Rei to V., 8/12/ 1598, RSEA IV, pp. 46-7; and 15/1/ 1601, AHU Cod. 282, fol. 17v.; and 25/1/ 1601, RSEA IV, p. 47; and 15/2/ 1603, AHU Cod. 282, fol. 107.
2
Rei to V., 15/1/ 1601, AHU Cod. 282, fol. 18; and 15/2/ 1603, ibid. fol. 112v.-3, and AHEI 10 LM 7, fol. 136-47; and 15/2/ 1603, AHU Cod. 282, fol. 136-41.
3
Rei to V., 15/1/ 1601, AHU Cod. 282, fol. 26v.; 25/1/ 1601, ibid., fol. 28v.; 28/1/ 1601, RSEA IV, pp. 48-9; 15/2/ 1603, AHU Cod. 282, fol. 107; Rei, alvará, 18/3/ 1604, ibid., fol. 235, and AHEI 12, LM 9, fol. 56 and 62.
4
Rei to V., 15/2/ 1603, AHU Cod. 282, fol. 119.
5
Monclaro, RSEA III, p. 198; Couto V-1, p. 304, VIII, pp. 52, 89-93, 363. Álvaro de Abranches had been given the post in 1599 but died soon afterwards ( Bocarro, p. 544).

-15-

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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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