Jorge Cabral

Jorge Cabral (Portuguese: Jorge Cabral) (1500 – ???) was a Portuguese nobleman, soldier (military officer) and explorer who was the 15th ruler of Portuguese India as governor from 13 of June 1549 to November 1550.[1][2]

Jorge Cabral
Faria e Sousa. Ásia Portuguesa. Tomo II. p. 247. Jorge Cabral.jpg
Portrait of Jorge Cabral from the "Portuguese Asia" by Manuel de Faria e Sousa, edition in Lisbon, 1674.
Governor of Portuguese India
In office
13 June 1549 – November, 1550
MonarchJohn III of Portugal
Preceded byGarcia de Sá
Succeeded byAfonso de Noronha
Personal details
OccupationSoldier (military officer), explorer, Governor of Portuguese India
Known forEstablishment of Portuguese naval hegemony in the Indian Ocean.


Jorge Cabral was a son of João Fernandes Cabral (Portuguese: João Fernandes Cabral), lord of Azurara, and his mother was Joanna de Castro (Portuguese: Joana de Castro). He was also the nephew of Portuguese explorer and navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral which discovered Brazil.[3][2]

Map of Bassein (c. 1539), drawn by Nuno da Cunha, Governor of Portuguese India (1528-38).

To get along in Portuguese India, the wife of Jorge Cabral was Lucretia Fialho, she was the first wife of one of the previous Viceroys of Portuguese India. Jorge Cabral arrived in India in 1525 and, the same as his predecessor, held the posts of Captain Malacca in 1526–1528 years and after the post of Captain of Bassein. He became famous for being the first Viceroy of Portuguese India, who brought his wife to Goa from the mother country. Jorge Cabral himself came from a not very noble family, so many hidalgoes in Portuguese India refused to obey his orders or ignored them. However, his wife was a powerful and assertive woman.[4]

Jorge Cabral contended for many years in India before becoming a governor of Portuguese India after the death of Garcia de Sá (Portuguese: Garcia de Sá).[2] Garcia de Sá (Portuguese: Garcia de Sá), who was the Governor of Portigese India in 1548–1549, died on June 13, 1549. After the death of Garcia de Sá, the colony council proposed to Jorge Cabral the post of a Governor of Portuguese India because his name was on the list of applicants for this position in an emergency situation. Jorge Cabral was going to abandon the new appointment, because he believed that the post of Viceroy of India is very troublesome and not too stablу, and the arrival of the new titled Governor (or even the Viceroy) should be expected in the near future, which will inevitably lead to the loss of all privileges and incomes for Jorge Cabral. He would prefer to remain in the position of a captain of the Bassein due to it gave a regular income. But his wife, for the temporary triumph, demanded of her husband to accept the proposal of the colony council and become governor of India.[4]

Jorge Cabral took office as Governor of India on June 13, 1549 and occupied it for less than a year and a half. On his shoulders, The responsibility for preparing a war against the Samorin fell on his shoulders and soon rumours appeared that the Turks were collecting a huge fleet in the Red Sea to attack Portuguese India. Reliable information from this region was not received any more, as the Portuguese lost their positions in Aden in February 1548, and the new governor had to work with not too reliable information. All that year Governor Jorge Cabral spent in alarming preparations, and only in August 1550 the information came that the Turks really collected a large fleet, but for unknown reasons they have till abandoned the idea of going to India.[4]

Ottoman fleet in the Indian Ocean in the 16th century.

The Ottoman Empire fleet was not the only problem during the reign of Jorge Cabral. At the same time, Jorge Cabral was dragged into the conflict on Malabar Coast, which arose due to the black pepper transportation. The main flow of this cargo passed through the territory, which in the XVI century was called (island) Bardela, but modern historians, even Indian, can not accurately identify this place on the map of modern India. All agree only on the fact that this area was south of Cochin and probably was an island. Since the mainstream of pepper on the coast came through Bardela, his Raja wore an unofficial title of "king of pepper". Raja of neighbouring Cochin was very envious of this circumstance and repeatedly tried to seize the territory of Bardela, but without success, although both sides suffered significant losses, as they say, in manpower. In the second half of 1549, Raja of Cochin enlisted the support of the Portuguese and once again attacked Bardela. "King of pepper" realized that it was bad and turned to the help of the Samorin, who was glad of any occasion to rub his nose to the ally of the Portuguese. Samorin gathered a large army and moved south along the Malabar coast, bypassing the Portuguese strongholds. Raja Tanura and his army immediately joined Samorin. At the same time, the rulers of the principalities, which were lying mainly to the south of Cochin, also began to gather their military troops, so that by the beginning of the fighting the Samorin could already have an army of 140,000 men.[4]

Captain of Cochin by the name of Francisco da Silva did not have diplomatic talents and wanted to extinguish the conflict using brute force. He demanded sharply that Samorin had to go back, to Calicut, and local rulers must unconditionally obey the Raja of Cochin, that means to obey the Portuguese. Samorin was offended, and the rulers of Malabar Coast refused to obey Raja of Cochin; Then Francisco da Silva with a detachment of Portuguese marched along the Malabar Coast and attacked the allies in the territory of Bardela. In the battle, the Portuguese defeated the Allied army and even killed Raju of Bardela, the "king of pepper", but Francisco da Silva also died during this battle.[4]

Upon learning of the "king of pepper" death, the Samorin vowed to avenge the Portuguese, collected a large army and moved closer to Cochin. 18 local rulers joined him there, so that the number of Samorin's army exceeded 100,000 people. A third of this army was located on unknown for historics island, perhaps Bardal, and the rest of the forces remained on the continent. At this time Portuguese forces were under command of the already known to us Manuel de Sousa Sepulveda, who broke enemy allied forces into two parts with the help of his fleet and interrupted the connection between them. Soon the command of the army took over the governor Jorge Cabral, who began preparations for the destruction of enemy forces on the island. But Jose Cabral did not have time to attack the enemy due to the new Viceroy of Portuguese India, Afonso de Noronha (1498–1575), arrived in Cochin with a fleet in October 1550. All captains and officers involved in this military operation hastened to abandon their positions and rushed to greet the new ruler. The fighting activity ceased actually, but the tense situation in the South of Malabar remained for quite some time, which had a negative impact on the pepper supply to Portugal.[4]

Also Jorge Cabral had to return to Cochin, to hand over all cases to the new Viceroy of India. Afonso de Noronha has solemnly entered a post on 6 of November, 1550. And Jorge Cabral went to Portugal at the first opportunity due to the new ruler of Portuguese India did not offer him any position in his administration, and the captaincy in the Bassein was already lost. Oh, these women![4]

Nothing is known about the fate of Jorge Cabral, and even the date of his death and his burial place is unknown. By the way, the Raja of Cochin time was hostile to the Portuguese from that: first, they treacherously threw him into the midst of the war with Samarin; secondly, soon after the departure of Jorge Cabral, the Portuguese plundered a highly revered temple near Cochin.[4]

16th century Portuguese Spanish trade routes.

External linksEdit

On Cabral government see: O Vice-Reinado de D. Afonso de Noronha (1550-1554): Perspectivas Políticas da Ásia Portuguesa em meados de Quinhentos. [1]


  1. ^ O s Portuguezes em Africa, Asia, America, e Occeania: Resumo historico das descobertas e conquistas dos Portuguezes n' Africa, Asia, America, e Occeania, accompanhada de noções sobre os usos ... dos povos indigenas, e de diversos apontamentos historicos do ... visconde de Santarem, e outros. 1848-1850. Typ. de Borges. 1850. p. 98. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  2. ^ a b c Translated from the articles "Jorge Cabral" of the Portuguese and Spanish Wikipedia.
  3. ^ "Paginas Pessoais". Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Португальцы в Индии. Часть XXVII. Дон Гарсиа де Са и Жоржи Кабрал. Ворчалки от Старого Ворчуна". Retrieved 2017-11-22.
Preceded by
Garcia de Sá
Governor of Portuguese India
Jorge Cabral

Succeeded by
Afonso de Noronha