Manuel António Vassalo e Silva

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Vassalo e Silva
Governor-General of Portuguese India
In office
1958 – 19 December 1961
President Américo Tomás
Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar
Preceded by Paulo Bénard Guedes
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Born (1899-11-08)8 November 1899
Torres Novas, Portugal
Died 11 August 1985(1985-08-11) (aged 85)
Lisbon, Portugal
Profession Army officer

Manuel António Vassalo e Silva (Torres Novas, 8 November 1899 – Lisbon, 11 August 1985) was an officer of the Portuguese Army and an overseas administrator. He was the 128th and the last Governor-General of Portuguese India.


He was the only son of Manuel Caetano da Silva (1870–1926) and of his wife Maria da Encarnação Vassalo (1869–1922) and brother of Maria da Conceição, married with issue, Joana and Aurora.

Governor of Portuguese India[edit]

In 1958, he was nominated to replace Paulo Bénard Guedes, as the 128th Governor-General of the Portuguese State of India, of which office he would be the last holder. At the same time, he was also appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Armed Forces in India.

When the Republic of India sought to annex the territories of Goa, Daman (from which had been previously separated in 1954 and annexed by India in 1961 the enclave of Dadra and Nagar Haveli) and Diu from Portuguese control in December 1961, Manuel Vassalo e Silva, recognizing the futility of facing a superior enemy, disobeyed direct orders from the Portuguese President of the Council of Ministers António Salazar to fight to the death and offered to surrender without a fight. After that he fell into disgrace at the eyes of Salazar, who never accepted the fait accompli of the annexation.

Vassalo e Silva was greeted with a hostile reception when he returned to Portugal. He was subsequently court martialed for failing to follow orders, expelled from the military and was sent into exile. His rank and freedom was restored only in 1974, after the fall of the regime, and was given back his military status. He was later able to conduct a state visit to Goa, where he was given a warm reception.[1]

Recently it was said by the Goan-Portuguese politician Narana Coissoró that Salazar sent him a cyanide capsule for use in case of defeat[citation needed].


He was married to Fernanda Pereira e Silva Monteiro and had a son and two daughters:

  • Fernando Manuel Pereira Monteiro Vassalo e Silva (Lisbon, 6 December 1925 – Lisbon, 9 June 2006), married to Maria Amélia Franco Veiga (Lisbon, 20 March 1932 – 17 March 2004), daughter of António Veiga and wife Rosa Maria Garcia Franco, and had issue, seven children, two married and had issue
  • Maria Fernanda Pereira Monteiro Vassalo e Silva, married to Rui António da Cunha Bernardino, and had issue, eight children, six married and had issue
  • Maria da Luz Pereira Monteiro Vassalo e Silva, married to António Faias Sors Lagrifa, born in Luanda, and had issue (their son Jorge Manuel Vassalo Sors Lagrifa (7 May 1948 – 6 February 2005) was the second husband without issue of Ana Cristina da Gama Caeiro da Mota Veiga, born in Lisbon, Santos o Velho, on 4 June 1950, daughter of António da Mota Veiga and wife Maria Emília da Gama Caeiro, formerly married and divorced from Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa)


  1. ^ "Dossier Goa - A Recusa Do Sacrifício Inútil Summary". Retrieved 2009-11-09.