Socotra, Hormuz and on to Cochin

Things, however, did not quite work out as planned. 

While they established a foothold on Socotra, a combination of infertile land, famine, disease, and the lack of a sheltered harbour saw the Portuguese abandon the island four years later.

Albuquerque conquered Hormuz soon after his arrival on 25 September 1507 and set about constructing a fortress. His decision to put everyone at his disposal, officers and men alike, to work on the construction resulted in suggestions that Albuquerque was exceeding his orders. Several vessels deserted, heading for India. Reduced to two ships and short of supplies, Albuquerque was forced to abandon Hormuz in January 1508.

He raided coastal villages to replenish his supplies en route to Socotra, where he picked up reinforcements before returning to recapture Hormuz and arrived at Cannanore on India's Malabar coast in December 1508.

Despite Albuquerque's sealed orders to replace Almeida, the incumbent had unfinished business and refused to vacate the position. Albuquerque based himself at Cochin while Almeida defeated a combined anti-Portuguese fleet at Diu on 3 February 1509. 

Having avenged the death of his son. Almeida might have departed for home. But a petition from Albuquerque's former officers claiming he was unfit for office persuaded Almeida and Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, who had arrived in command of the most recent Portuguese armada, to send Albuquerque to Cannanore in what amounted to imprisonment.


© Ian Hughes 2017