NUNO ÁLVARES PEREIRA
Despite Simões Madeira's fears to the contrary, Francisco do Avelar had reached Portugal safely with his samples of silver ore from Chicôa. Great was the rejoicing at Court--greater than had a prince been born1--when it was found that the samples yielded one-third silver (and it was learnt that samples assayed in India had yielded as much as 50% silver). The existence of silver had been proved; the mines should now be exploited, Avelar urged: an inexhaustible treasury lay at the disposal of the Most Catholic monarch. The friar recommended sending as soon as possible a galleon or two smaller vessels with 300 or 400 men who should secure what had already been gained on the Zambezi, and relieve the fort of S. Miguel. He regarded Quelimane as the key of the Conquest; it should be fortified, with a position on the southern bank with some heavy pieces and 50 men. The Luabo mouth he thought should be blocked by sinking two old vessels in the entrance. There was no need for a captain of the Rivers who now did no more than escort boats from Quelimane to Sena. The two towns of the Zambezi were well defended by their Portuguese residents, who numbered some 190 at Sena, 60 or 70 at Tete, and their slaves--many owned 300 or 400, some 800. The fort of Santo Estêvão served no useful purpose and should be abandoned. Another should be built at the beginning of the rapids, with a garrison of 30 or 40 men. Ox-waggons should be used for the portage past the rapids. The fort of S. Miguel should be garrisoned with 80 to 100 soldiers, apart from miners and other officials. The soldiers should be accompanied, as far as possible, by their wives and children, to prevent dissolute living or marriage to negresses. Numbers of spinsters should also be sent out from Portugal to marry local traders and help people the Rivers.
The captain of Moçambique should be Governor and Conquistador of the Rivers, Avelar considered; he should have no personal interest in trade, but Sofala, Inhambane and C. Correntes could be given as royal grants. If vessels from Portugal left at the end of September or the beginning of October they would arrive in Moçambique in February; in March coasting vessels could leave for the Zambezi, returning to Moçambique in August; the vessels could leave for Portugal in October, each carrying, in addition to the silver, ebony, amber, copper and iron, and____________________