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The governor of Portuguese India, Duarte de Menezes, shared those concerns, but had turned out to be incompetent, corrupt, and the subject of numerous complaints.

In 1524 da Gama was appointed to replace him, manage the transition to a new strategy and deal with increasingly corrupt officials in the Orient.

The appointment letter of February 1524 also reinstated the position of Viceroy, rather than Governor, close to twenty years after Governor Albuquerque replaced Viceroy Almeida at the head of the Portuguese mission to the Indies. 

The appointment came with other changes at the top of the pecking order. Da Gama's second son, Estêvão was appointed Captain-major of the Indian Sea and given the command of the Indian Ocean naval patrol, replacing the former Governor's brother, Luís de Menezes and John III undertook to appoint da Gama's sons in succession as captains of Malacca.

The new Viceroy sailed in April 1524, with a fleet of fourteen ships, lost four or five of them along the way and arrived in India in September. Invoking his viceregal powers to establish a new order in Portuguese India, he set about replacing the current officials with his own appointments, but within three months he was dead.

His death in Cochin on Christmas Eve 1524 may have come from overwork and reformist zeal, but was more than likely the result of malaria or some other tropical malady. 


© Ian Hughes 2017