Portuguese in South-East Africa, 1600-1700

By Eric Axelson | Go to book overview

7
THE 1635 SETTLEMENT SCHEME

The revolt in the Rivers of Cuama was more rapidly quelled than that on the Mombasa coast, thanks to the determination of Diogo de Sousa de Meneses, who returned to the captaincy of Moçambique in 1632.1 There he heard of the critical situation of the Portuguese on the Zambezi. Of the fairs in Karangaland there were only 5 survivors; of those in Manica, only 6 traders and a Jesuit. Tete was reduced to 13 Portuguese, and Sena to 20. Leaving Brito de Vasconcelos as castellan, he hurried southwards with 200 arquebusiers. At Quelimane he drove back the investing tribesmen; he claimed to have killed 2,000 of them, beyond taking many captives and cattle. Having pacified the surrounding country-side, and raised 2,000 levies from Luabo, he travelled up the Zambezi, overthrowing opposition on the way. From Sena he passed to Manica, where he burnt the head kraal of Chicanga. He placed on the throne a man who acknowledged vassalage to the King of Portugal and who undertook to reveal the gold mines of the kingdom.

Sousa de Meneses entered the lands of the Karanga with an army of 300 Portuguese and mulatto arquebusiers and 12,000 natives. He met Kapararidze on 24 June close to where the deposed Monomotapa had won his victory over the Portuguese. After half a day's battle the enemy fled, leaving behind 12,000 dead, if Meneses is to be believed, and many arms, women and cattle. The story was spread that during the battle a beautiful figure, resplendent as the sun, was seen animating the Portuguese army; priests were soon declaring a miracle.2 What is certain is that Meneses gained a decisive victory; the fairs were re-opened, trade was restored. This achievement was all the more remarkable in as much as Meneses was allowed to occupy the captaincy for only ten months.3

The Viceroy and his Council had been strongly opposed to any conquest of Monomotapa at this juncture, because of the desperate Straits to which Portuguese India was reduced. Not even the revolt of the Rivers seemed to them to offer occasion for such strong action as Meneses had taken. And there was a strong personal animosity between

____________________
1
V. to Rei, 24/12/ 1631, TT DRdI 29, fol. 210(110); Contract, V. and Sousa de Meneses, 16/1/ 1632, 21 clauses, TT DRdI 35, fol. 117-22; "'Enformação do mais exencial que o conde de Linhares lem pacada athe o prezente depois quo governou este estado com Dom Phelipe Mascarenhas'", 1632, Evora CXVI-2-3, fol. 130-3; devassa into titles of Mascarenhas and Sousa, ibid. fol. 139-43.
2
cf. Cacegas and Sousa, RSEA I, p. 399, who telescope events and ascribe the victory mainly to Manoel Sardinha, aided by Damião do Espírito Santo.
3
This according to him ( RSEA IV, p. 276); if true he could not have left for the Rivers in October (p. 274).

-97-

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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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