Dom Constantino of Braganza (Portuguese: Constantino de Bragança; 1528–1575) was a Portuguese nobleman, conquistador, and administrator of the Portuguese Empire. Born a member of the powerful House of Braganza, he is best known for having served as Viceroy of Portuguese India and for initiating the Portuguese conquest of Sri Lanka.
Constantino de Bragança
|Viceroy of Portuguese India|
|Monarch||King Dom Sebastian of Portugal|
|Preceded by||Dom Francisco Barreto|
|Succeeded by||Dom Francisco Coutinho|
|Captain of Ribeira Grande|
|Monarch||Dom Sebastian of Portugal|
|Preceded by||Dom Manuel de Andrade|
|Succeeded by||Office eliminated|
Kingdom of Portugal
|Died||15 July 1575 (aged 46–47)|
Kingdom of Portugal
|Spouse||Maria de Melo|
He was the son of Dom James, 4th Duke of Braganza from his second marriage to Joana of Mendoça, daughter of Diogo of Mendonça, High-Alcaide of Mourão.
In 1558, he was appointed by the regent Dona Catherine of Habsburg (King Dom John III's widow) as the 20th Governor of Portuguese India, using also the title of 7th Viceroy. He left Lisbon on 7 April 1558 and arrived in Goa on 3 September.
A first expedition, led by Viceroy Dom Constantino de Bragança in 1560, failed to subdue Jaffna, but captured Mannar Island. By June 1619, despite sharp resistance from Cankili II of Jaffna, there were two Portuguese expeditions; a naval expedition that was repulsed by the Malabari corsairs and another expedition by Dom Filipe de Oliveira and his land army of 5,000, which defeated Cankili and conquered Jaffna, strengthening Portuguese control of shipping routes through the Palk Strait.
His government in India took three years and eight days, and during that period he made important reforms. He was considered by the historian C. R. Boxer one of the most fanatic Portuguese governors of India together with Dom Francisco Barreto (1555–1558).
Dom Constantino afterwards returned to the Kingdom. There he married his cousin, D. Maria de Melo, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Ferreira and 1st Count of Tentúgal, D. Rodrigo de Melo, and Dona Brites de Menezes (daughter of Dom Antão de Almada, 3rd Count of Avranches). The couple had no issue. King Sebastian of Portugal thought, in 1571, to appoint him as perpetual viceroy of India, but he refused.
According to Mutu Coomara Swamy, Constantino claimed to play a part in capturing and destroying the Tooth-Relic of Gotama Buddha, during the wars of the Portuguese. The native authorities however, maintained the relic was kept safe from harm.
|Ancestors of Constantino of Braganza|
- Abeysinghe, T. Jaffna Under the Portuguese, p.3
- Kunarasa, K The Jaffna Dynasty, p. 115
- Mutu Coomara Swamy. The Dathavansa, Or The History of the Tooth-relic of Gotama Buddha. Trübner & Co. p. xix.
- Nobreza de Portugal e do Brasil – Vol. II, page 443. Published by Zairol Lda., Lisbon 1989.
- Genealogy of Constantino of Braganza, in Portuguese
- "Constantino de Bragança" in Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History, vol. 7, eds. David Thomas and John Chesworth, Leiden - Boston, Brill, 2015, pp. 841-845.