Jerónimo de Azevedo

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Jerónimo de Azevedo
P1170551 D. Jerónimo de Azevedo.JPG
Jerónimo de Azevedo in Ásia Portuguesa of Manuel de Faria e Sousa
Viceroy of Portuguese India
In office
Preceded by Rui Lourenço de Távora
Succeeded by João Coutinho
2nd Governor of Portuguese Ceylon
In office
Monarch Philip I of Portugal
Philip II of Portugal
Preceded by Pedro Lopes de Sousa
Succeeded by Francisco de Meneses
Personal details
Born 1540
Kingdom of Portugal
Died 1625 (aged 85)
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Nationality Portuguese

Jerónimo de Azevedo (1540 – Lisbon, 1625) was a Portuguese fidalgo, Governor of Portuguese Ceylon and Viceroy of Portuguese India. His full name was Jerónimo de Azevedo de Ataíde Malafaia and he was the 8th son of Dom Manuel de Azevedo, Comendador of São João de Alpendurada and brother of Blessed Inácio de Azevedo.[1]


Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo was a key figure in the late 16th-century Portuguese takeover in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka).

According to author and historian A. R. Disney, the touchstone of Portuguese ambitions in Sri Lanka by the end of the 16th century was the bequest by King Dharmapala of Kotte in 1580 of his entire realm to the king of Portugal. Dharmapala was a Christian convert and his bequest was unacceptable to most of his Buddhist inhabitants and to the ruler of neighbouring Kandy. The takeover was therefore resisted, and the Portuguese had to subjugate Kotte by force, formally completing the process during Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo's captaincy of Colombo from 1594 to 1612. A Portuguese administrative superstructure headed by a captain-general was then imposed on the kingdom.

Azevedo was nominated 20th viceroy of India in 1611, and left Colombo for Goa in 1612. In 1615 he backed an audacious expedition to Pegu to loot the Moon imperial treasures in Mrauk-U, an enterprise that ultimately did not succeed. However, the fact that it was supported at such a high official level showed how plunder was considered a legitimate policy objective in 16th-century Portuguese-ruled Asia. Also in 1615 Azevedo led a huge fleet that tried to drive English East India Company ships under the command of Nicholas Downton off Surat, but after a series of engagements he ultimately failed – an incident which demonstrated that Portuguese Goa had lost the capacity to protect its monopoly of trade on the west coast of India.

A. R. Disney further states that by the time of Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo's mandate as viceroy the influence of colonials in Goa, as distinct from metropolitan Portuguese, was steadily growing. These colonials had interests and an outlook that did not necessarily coincide with those of the metropolis. In practice, Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo – who had come to Asia as a young man and served for his entire career in the Portuguese "Estado da Índia" – was a colonial. This influence of colonials coincided with a period of resurgent Portuguese expansionism in South and Southeast Asia, that reached its peak when Azevedo took office in 1612 but was already a spent force when he terminated his mandate as viceroy in 1617.

On his return to Lisbon, Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo was held in custody and put on trial on several accusations, including that of not fighting the Dutch. He died in March 1625. He is buried in São Roque Church, in Lisbon.

The Fort of São Jerónimo (Saint Jerome) in Nani Daman was started during his term as viceroy and is named in his honour. Azevedo was also responsible for the rebuilding of the Idalcão or Adilshahi Palace in Panaji (Goa).


  1. ^ Cahoon, Ben. "Governors". Sri Lanka. Worldstatesmen. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Pedro Lopes de Sousa
Governor of Portuguese Ceylon
Succeeded by
Francisco de Meneses