Portuguese in South-East Africa, 1600-1700

By Eric Axelson | Go to book overview

8
SOUTH-EAST AFRICA, 1637-1651

The abandonment of the settlement scheme left the captain of Moçambique free to continue his enjoyment of the monopoly of the trade of the Rivers. His duty to defend Moçambique and his personal desire for profit remained irreconcilable. Lourenço de Soutomayor, for instance, despite his many services, and his oath never to absent himself from Moçambique, thought nothing of leaving the fortress in the care of his son, who was no more than a youth, and visiting the Zambezi. Viceroy Pero da Silva, supported by the members of his Council, censured the captain. He reported that the captains of Moçambique often abandoned the fortress in this fashion, pretending that their absences were in the course of duty; and they had no difficulty in persuading officials and residents to put their signatures to documents certifying that their visits to the Zambezi had been essential.1 The King, in the course of time, confirmed the Viceroy's censure, and re-issued an alvarά explicitly forbidding the captain to leave the fortress except during wars which demanded his personal presence.2

The revolution of 1640 and the coming to the throne of a Bragança made no difference to the administration of south-east Africa. In 1644, certainly, the Conselho Ultramarino did make radical recommendations urging that the captain of the fortress of Moçambique should be no more than a paid castellan, and that the trade of the Rivers should be thrown open to all on payment of 8% duties. South-east Africa should fall under a Governor and Conquistador who would rank with the Viceroy of India and be independent of him. The Rivers should be populated by poor married couples, who might come from Goa, Cochin and other Eastern fortresses, and who should be given land and material assistance until they were established. These colonists might produce cotton, and make cloths with which to trade for gold and ivory. Some Canarins and Brahmins, supported by a few soldiers, might explore the interior, reach the great lake from which issued the river which ran through Angola, and following its course might open up communications across Angola.3 Filipe de

____________________
1
Assento, 29/7/ 1637, TT DRdI 40. fol. 247, ACE III, pp. 172-3, V. to Rei. 14/10/ 1637, DRdI 40, fol. 1. Soutomayor, prospering and unabashed, tried to buy the captaincy for a further term ( V. to Rei, 27/9 / 1638, DRdI 43. fol. 75)
2
Rei, 15/2/1640. alvarά, AHEI 28, LM 21B. fol. 391 (383).
3
Conselho Ultramarino, consulta, 18/11/ 1644, AHU Cod. 211, fol. 37v.-42. An undated consulta of the [ Conselho da Fazenda], AHU CM, may date to this period; in it two old residents of Moçambique and the Rivers gave evidence against the captains or Mo çambique, accusing them of extortions and various other dishonest practices, e.g. drawing allowances for 300 soldiers when really the garrison would number 70 or 80; and to qualify for the 1% they kept some trivial work going indefinitely.

-115-

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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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