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Dom Pedro Mascarenhas (1470 – 16 June 1555) was a Portuguese explorer and colonial administrator. He was the first European to discover the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in 1512. He also encountered the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius in 1512, although he may not have been the first Portuguese explorer to do so; earlier expeditions by Diogo Dias and Afonso de Albuquerque along with Diogo Fernandes Pereira may have encountered the islands. In 1528 explorer Diogo Rodrigues (after whom the island of Rodrigues is named) named the islands of Réunion, Mauritius, and Rodrigues the Mascarene Islands, after Mascarenhas.

Pedro Mascarenhas
D. Pedro Mascarenhas.jpg
Pedro Mascarenhas in Ásia Portuguesa of Manuel de Faria e Sousa
Captain-major of Portuguese Malacca
In office
MonarchJohn III of Portugal
Preceded byJorge de Albuquerque
Succeeded byJorge Cabral
Viceroy of Portuguese India
In office
MonarchJohn III of Portugal
Preceded byAfonso de Noronha
Succeeded byFrancisco Barreto
Personal details
Mértola, Kingdom of Portugal
DiedJune 16, 1555(1555-06-16) (aged 84–85)
Goa, Portuguese India

Mascarenhas served as Captain-Major of the Portuguese Malacca from 1525 to 1526.

He was ambassador from Portugal to the Holy See,[1] where he appealed to Pope Paul III for the coming of the first jesuits for the Portuguese missions in India, at request of King John III and Diogo de Gouveia. His mission ended on March 15, 1540, when he travelled back to Portugal together with Francis Xavier.[1]

He was viceroy at Goa, capital of the Portuguese possessions in Asia, from 1554 until his death in 1555, in Goa. He was succeeded as viceroy by Francisco Barreto.[2] While viceroy of Portuguese India, at the direction of the King of Portugal he sent Fr. James Dias and Fr. Gonçalo Rodrigues to Ethiopia in order to determine whether Emperor Galawdewos would be receptive to receiving a Patriarch anointed by the Roman Catholic church.[3]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Robert Kerr, ed. (1812). "Conquest of India". A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels. Edinburgh: William Blackwood. p. 411.
  3. ^ Balthasar Tellez, The Travels of the Jesuits in Ethiopia, 1710 (LaVergue: Kessinger, 2010), pp. 133f
Preceded by
Afonso de Noronha
Viceroy of Portuguese India
1554 – June 1555
Succeeded by
Francisco Barreto