Almeida, Don Francisco De
ALMEIDA, DON FRANCISCO DE, the first viceroy of Portuguese India, was born at Lisbon about the middle of the 15th century. He was the seventh son of the second Count of Abrantes, and thus belonged to one of the most distinguished families in Portugal. In his youth he took part under Ferdinand of Aragon in the wars against the Moors (1485-92). In March 1505, having received from Emmanuel I. the appointment of viceroy of the newly-conquered territory in India, lie set sail from Lisbon in command of a large and powerful fleet, and arrived in July at Quiloa, which yielded to him almost without a struggle. A much more vigorous resistance was offered by the Moors of Momnbaza, but the town was taken and destroyed, and its large treasures went to strengthen the resources of Almeida. At other places on his way, such as the island of Angediva, near Goa, and Cananore, he built forts, and adopted measures to secure the Portuguese supremacy. On his arrival in India he took up his residence at Cochin, where a Portuguese fort had been built by Albuquerque in 1503. The most important events of Almeida's brief but vigorous administration were the conclusion of a commercial treaty with Malacca, and the discoveries made by his son Lorenzo, who acted as his lieutenant. The latter was probably the first Portuguese who visited Ceylon, where he established a settlement, and is also celebrated as the discoverer of Madagascar and the Maldive islands. In 1508 he was killed at Dabul in a naval engagement with the Moors. His father was preparing signally to avenge his death when Albuquerque arrived in Cochin, and presented a commission empowering him to supersede Almeida in the government. It was probably Almeida's unwillingness to be thwarted in his scheme of vengeance that chiefly induced him to refuse to recognise Albuquerque's commission, and to cast him into prison. (See ALBUQUERQUE.) The punishment he inflicted on the Moors was speedy and terrible. Sailing along the coast, he pillaged and burned various ports, including Goa and Dabul, and finally encountering the enemy's combined fleet off Diu early in 1509, he completely destroyed it. Returning immediately to Cochin, he held out for a few months against the claims of Albuquerque, but in November 1509 ' he was compelled to yield. On the 1st December he set sail for Europe with an escort of three vessels. On the voyage the fleet called at Saldanha Bay, in South Africa, to procure water, and here Almeida was killed (March 1, 1510) in an unprovoked attack upon the Caffre natives, during which he showed great personal courage. His body was recovered on the following clay, frightfully mutilated, and received a hasty burial.