(Last Updated on : 17/05/2010)
Alfonso de Albuquerque had come to India in the year 1503 as the commander of a squadron. As the record of his work was satisfactory he was appointed the Viceroy of the Portuguese affairs in India in 1509. It has been said that Albuquerque desired to occupy certain important places for trading purposes and to rule them directly. He desired to colonise the selected districts by encouraging mixed marriages with the native inhabitants. When Albuquerque could not conquer or colonise, he tried to build fortresses. When even that was not possible he tried to induce the native merchants to recognise the supremacy of the King of Portugal and pay him tribute.
Albuquerque was a great conqueror. He conquered and annexed Goa
in 1510 and made it the headquarters of the Portuguese Empire in India. He had also built a fort at Cochin with the permission of its ruler. He appointed large number of Portuguese officers for work of administration. While the Muslims were persecuted, the Hindus were welcomed in the various branches of administration. Schools were established for them. The Panchayats of the Hindus were not discarded. Indian soldiers commanded by Hindu officers were welcomed. Albuquerque encouraged the marriages of the Portuguese with Indian women.
Alfonso de Albuquerque was a great man. He can really be called the founder of the Portuguese Empire in India. He had certain traits of character which appealed to the Indians and those were his valour, his strict veracity, his integrity and charitableness. He was not only feared by the people but was also loved. He was not daunted by any failure in his life and never rested till he had achieved the goal of his life. He was a patriot every inch and his reputation for disinterestedness was very high. He was called by his countrymen as Albuquerque, the Great. After his death the great personality was buried in Goa.
Albuquerque was the one who had insisted against all opposition from Portugal on the importance of maintaining Goa as the centre of Portuguese power in the East, as it was a great dockyard in which vessels could be refitted, remanned and revictualled and it was also a great city from where reserves of the troops could always be drawn.
Hence it can be said that Alfonso de Albuquerque was such a Portuguese commander who had a sharp insight and as a result used to take steps which would make Portugal have a strong hold on India.