Talk:2nd Portuguese India Armada (Cabral, 1500)

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WPMILHIST Assessment Commentary[edit]

Great, in-depth article. After evaluation, the following points are submitted for consideration:

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. While this form of article titling is not standard Wikipedia practice, Walrasiad (talk · contribs) has made a fair case that this might be an exception. Absent a much stronger consensus against this form of naming, we'll defer to the main author. Aervanath (talk) 04:40, 9 December 2011 (UTC)


Second Portuguese India Armada2nd Portuguese India Armada (Cabral, 1500) relisted --Mike Cline (talk) 14:47, 20 November 2011 (UTC) – This page was moved today, and I am proposing to move it back to the original title, which it has had for a long time. While admittedly the old title does have an element of ugliness, it is also much more useful, as naming Portuguese India armadas by number alone is not common usage nor widely known. Most people know and refer to these expeditions by the name of their captain (Vasco da Gama, Pedro Alvares Cabral, etc.) and year. Since there are dozens upon dozens of expeditions, it is very useful to have the captain & year come up in the title during wiki searches, so that the reader can quickly find what he is looking for. The current naming convention - "Nth Portuguese India Armada (Captain, Year)" - isn't the paragon of beauty, but it is consistent, informative and the best compromise between armada numbering and popular knowledge. Walrasiad (talk) 16:14, 11 November 2011 (UTC) Oppose it was moved as a simple and unambiguous application of WP:AT, if we don't name them by number then we may well name them by their best-known name Cabral armada of 1500 per comment above Most people know and refer to these expeditions by the name of their captain and year...; perhaps (armada should probably be expressed as a common noun). Disclaimer: I made the move (and those of similarly-named articles) and the ugliness of their naming was what compelled me to make the moves. Content pretty impressive, though Crusoe8181 (talk) 09:20, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

There are over a hundred armadas. Most people (& sources) don't name them by number because they don't normally care about 95% of them, just two or three famous ones. When I set out to construct a systematic accounts of all the armadas, I had to decide upon a consistent title. Armada numbering helps sort through the mess, and gives a sense of order. Numbering armadas also made writing the text much easier - e.g. at any point in time there might be several armadas out at sea at once, and stray ships and squadrons from one criss-crossed with the other. To refer to date & captain every time the fleet is mentioned in the text becomes just too awkward & cumbersome. e.g. compare the following two passages:
* "Pero de Ataide, who came with the Fifth Armada and was assigned the coastal patrol off Angediva, was surprised to encounter the vanguard of the arriving Eighth Armada in 1507, knowing that the return fleet of the Seventh Armada was still loading up in India."
One name (Pero de Ataide), one date (1507), and a good sense of what's going on (the next armada arrived sooner than expected). If I were to drop the numbering, this passage might have to be written as:
* "Pero de Ataide, who arrived in India as part of the 1503 expedition of Afonso de Albuquerque (Albuquerque's first expedition) and was assigned the coastal patrol off Angediva, was surprised to encounter the vanguard of the Tristao da Cunha's 1506 expedition (vanguard was Albuquerque's squadron of Cunha's expedition, thus can also be referred to as Albuquerque's second (1506) expedition to India, Cunha himself was still lingering in Malindi) in 1507, knowing the return fleet of Francisco de Almeida's 1505 expedition (but not Almeida himself, as he was staying behind in Cochin; the return fleet of that armada was placed under the command of Fernao Soares, a captain who came with the Albergaria fleet of 1504) was still loading up in India."
Many names (Pero de Ataide, Albuquerque, Cunha, Almeida, Fernao Soares, Albergaria), many dates (1503, 1504, 1505, 1506, 1507) and, in that thicket, less clarity over what's going on. (OK, this may seem like a deliberately extreme example of cumbersomeness, it is not too unusual; the text does get that cluttered pretty quickly without armada numbering.)
However, at the same time, it would be a disservice to Wiki searchers to simply restrict the article titles to armada numbers, e.g. someone looking for Cabral's famous expedition which discovered Brazil might skip over an article simply entitled "2nd Portuguese India Armada". Or someone looking for Nova's discovery of Ascension and St. Helena islands might skip over "3rd Portuguese India Armada", and so on.
In short, there needs to be a balance between clarity (numbering) and familiarity (captain & year). I admit that "2nd Portuguese India Armada (Cabral, 1500)" is itself not a pretty solution. But it is the best compromise I could think of. "Second Portuguese Armada" or "Cabral armada of 1500" will simply not do. It took a lot of time to decide upon this title template, weighing pros & cons and trying other alternatives. This is simply the only title template which I found decently consistent, one that can be applied not only to Portuguese India fleets, but also to others, e.g. I am in the process of drafting the English East India company expeditions, and intend to use the titles:
  • First EIC Fleet (Lancaster, 1601)
  • Second EIC Fleet (Middleton, 1604)
  • Third EIC Fleet (Keeling, 1607)
  • Fourth EIC Fleet (Sharpeigh, 1608)

and so on. Again, clarity (numbering) and familiarity (captain & year). Walrasiad (talk) 15:37, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

  • I agree that the titles with brackets are not in accordance with Wikipedia's normal article titling practices (we don't put extra information into titles in this way, except for disambiguation). Nor does it in any way solve the problem that people won't realize that this is the expedition that discovered Brazil. I would prefer to use explicit descriptive titles like "Cabral's expedition of 1500–1501", or something along those lines.--Kotniski (talk) 12:32, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

While unusual, I do believe they are in accordance with Wikipedia's titling practices. For starters, it is consistent with the rest of the armadas already out there, e.g.

and the dozens more forthcoming. As the main writer of all these articles, I assure you it is practically impossible to write these articles, and keep track of what is going on, without recourse to numbering. Wiki already numbers events like, say, the multitude of Anglo-Dutch wars, with numbers in the titles (e.g. First Anglo-Dutch War, Second Anglo-Dutch War, etc.). It adds clarity and helps distinguish between them. The additional brackets are a form of disambiguation, since each title is practically identical and the numbering (second, third, fourth, fifth, etc.) has low recognizability, the captain-year title does help disambiguate.

On your independent suggestion to drop numbering, keep in mind each article is not about an expedition, but about a fleet. And a fleet, like an army regiment, is easier to keep track of by number than by commander. Each fleet did many things. The discovery of Brazil may seem significant today, but it was actually a very insignificant event at the time, relative to the other undertakings of the Second Armada (e.g. the discovery of Kilwa and Sofala and the opening of the war with Calicut). Moreover, many fleets had several squadrons, with different commands, different missions, different events, e.g. the 8th Armada of Tristao de Cunha allocated a squadron under Afonso de Albuquerque to the Red Sea - and the activities of that squadron (e.g. conquest of Hormuz) are probably better known than the rest of the 8th Armada. Should it be called "Cunha's expedition" or "Albuquerque's expedition"? It is frequent that a single ship strays off and does its own significant discovery by itself (e.g. Table bay, Maputo bay, Madagascar, Socotra, Mascarenes, etc.) Does that deserve a whole new article by itself? What if the same captains, or captains with the same last names, take different fleets at different times? Is the reader going to remember which was which? How about when an armada captain dies along the way? Or (more frequently) the captain is left behind in India, the fleet taken back by another? How do you keep track of the composition of outward and homeward fleets, or ships from one fleet coming across another, or annexed by another, or of local patrol squadrons, or factories, dropped off and taken by different armadas? Referring to a fleet by number is the only way to keep clear track of all this.

Finally, keep in mind India armadas are not haphazard expeditions of exploration, like the Henrican or Columbus voyages. They are regular commercial runs, dispatched centrally on a set schedule. The operation of the Portuguese empire was organized around the timing of the yearly armada. And many imperial-colonial events in Africa and Asia (colonial organization, local politics, local wars, side-expeditions, etc.) would be incomprehensible without reference to the India armadas. Numbering the armadas introduces an ordering (3rd, 4th, 5th etc.) which can be used across articles, and makes it easier to see where an individual armada fits in the sequence of events, rather than forcing readers to memorize all prior captains and years. It helps readers understand the patterns and evolution of European colonialism in Asia and Africa. Numbering makes it easier to reference and thus keep track of who, why, when and where, as the imperialist drama unfolds.

I have put a huge amount of effort into composing these articles. And fleet numbering is by far the most convenient way to maintain some sense of clarity and understanding of what is going on, not only within an article, but from article to article. Take away numbering, and I will be unable to continue writing. It just becomes too confusing - too confusing for me (who am an expert), and so much more confusing for casual Wiki readers. Since I doubt anybody else is willing to sort through - much less press on - without numbering, I suspect it will bring the coverage of this entire topic on Wikipedia to a premature end.

In sum: without numbering, the topic will die. With only numbering, it fails the recognizability factor. Both the number and captain have to be in the article title. And this is the best way I can think of doing it. Walrasiad (talk) 21:48, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.