João Soares de Albergaria
|João Soares de Albergaria|
|1st Captain-Donatário of Santa Maria|
|Succeeding||Gonçalo Velho Cabral|
|Citizenship||Kingdom of Portugal|
João Soares de Albergaria (c. 1415 - 1499), also referred to as João Soares or João Soares Velho, was the second Portuguese Captain-Donatário of the islands of Santa Maria and São Miguel, who succeeded his maternal uncle Gonçalo Velho Cabral in the title. After selling his rights to the Captaincy of the island of São Miguel, to Rui Gonçalves da Câmara, he remained the Captain-Donatário of Santa Maria.
He was the son of Fernão Soares de Albergaria and Teresa Velho Cabral, one of the sisters of Gonçalo Velho Cabral.
He married Brites Godins, yet had no heirs. In 1474, due to his wife's illness, Albergaria moved to the island of Madeira, in order to "find remedies and medics" to treat his wife's condition, as well as a milder climate for her to convalesce. They lodged with the family of the Captain of Funchal, João Gonçalves Zarco and his brother, Rui Gonçalves da Câmara. As Father Gaspar Frutuoso would later relate, due to the unproductivity of the island, the many costs he developed during his move and treatments for his wife, Soares de Albergaria would decide to sell the Captaincy of São Miguel for 2,000 cruzados and 60,000 kilograms of sugar to Rui Gonçalves for his hospitality; this contract was approved by Beatrice of Burgundy, Diogo, Duke of Viseu and ratified by the King Afonso V on March 10, 1474.
João Soares de Albergaria settled the island, and restructured the population, founding the principal village, Vila do Porto, and becoming the base for future Captains-Generals in the islands of the Azores. His maternal uncle was the "Commander of Santa Maria and Captain of the Azores", within a structural framework that was not properly defined. His position as Captain of Santa Maria was confirmed in a similar edict from King Afonso V of Portugal, months later:
We are to know that João Soares, knight of the House of the Duke of Viseu, my greatly loved cousin, and my esteemed nephew, that We were shown a title signed by Infanta Beatrice, my much-loved and esteemed sister, that mad me know that the above son...was given the charge to João Soares the island of Santa Maria, that he be Captain of it.
During his Captaincy, Albergaria was responsible for promoting the settlement of the island, a charge that he was successful in initiating, attracting settlers from both Portugal (mainly the Algarve and continental Europe). He was also responsible for the defense of the island; yet, during one such attack, a Castilian corsair attacked Vila do Porto in 1480, during the War of the Castilian Succession, and sacked the town. Albergaria did not escape the battle and was captured, and taken prisoner to Castile, where he was ransomed. He paid his own ransom eight days before peace were declared by Afonso V of Portugal and Ferdinand of Castile (at the end of 1480).
Albergaria was later to marry Branca de Sousa Falcão (daughter of João de Sousa Falcão, 1st Lord de Figueiredo and 1st Lord of the Manor de Fataúnços, and D. Maria de Almada) by order of the King João II on June 20, 1492, with whom they had many descendants, including João Soares de Sousa, the third Captain-Donatário of Santa Maria.
He would finally return to Santa Maria Island late in life, and died in 1499 at the age of 80 years. The captaincy of Santa Maria would be passed on to his descendants until its extinction in 1667 (following the death Brás Soares de Sousa in 1664).
- Fructuoso, 1873
- Carlos Melo Bento (2008), p.22-23
- Decree of confirmation, July 13, 1474. apud: Monterey, 1981, p.49-50
- Figueiredo (1990), p.67/74
- Carlos Melo Bento (2008), p.20
- A royal decree, dated May 23, 1667 would integrate the Captaincy of Santa Maria into the House of Castelo Melhor, and would be completely abolished in 1766 in the context of reforms instituted by the Marquis de Pombal (Arquivo dos Açores, 1981, IV: 205)
- Bento, Carlos Melo (2008), História dos Açores: Da descoberta a 1934 (in Porutguese), Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal
- Fructuoso, G. (1966). Saudades da Terra (Vol.1-6), 1873. Instituto Cultural de Ponta Delgada, Ponta Delgada. ISBN 972-9216-70-3.
- Figueirdo, Jaime de (1990). Ilha de Gonçalo Velho: da descoberta até ao Aeroporto (2nd ed.). Vila do Porto, Santa Maria: Câmara Municipal de Vila do Porto.
- Monterey, Guido de (1981). Santa Maria e São Miguel (Açores): as duas ilhas do oriente. Oporto: Ed. do Autor.