João Soares de Sousa

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João Soares de Sousa
2nd Donatary-Captain of Santa Maria
In office
Preceded byJoão Soares de Albergaria
Succeeded byPedro Soares de Sousa
ConstituencySanta Maria
Personal details
BornJoão Soares de Sousa
Vila do Porto
Died1571 (aged 77–78)
Vila do Porto
Resting placeChurch of Nossa Senhora da Assunção
CitizenshipKingdom of Portugal
  • Guiomar da Cunha
  • Jordoa Faleiro
  • Maria de Andrade
ResidenceVila do Porto

João Soares de Sousa (1493 in Vila do Porto – 2 January 1571 in Vila do Porto) was the third Donatary-Captain of Santa Maria, succeeding his father João Soares de Albergaria, who had died on 1499.


Early life[edit]

João Soares de Sousa was the son of João Soares de Albergaria and Branca de Sousa Falcão, and born in Vila do Porto, in 1493. The third Donatary-Captain of Santa Maria, João Soares was the first born on the island. Since João Soares de Sousa was six years old at the time of his father's death, the island was governed by Albergaria's lieutenant João de Marvão (a knight in the Royal House and sheriff of Vila do Porto).

He began his stewardship in 1522, and maintained the position until 1571, when he died.[1] His position was confirmed on 13 March 1527.


João Soares de Sousa was maritime commander, a man of "elevated stature, swarthy, strong and animated, a noble man and charitable". He rented his lands on the island in a way that mitigated the poverty that existed on the island, pardoning debts and extending deadlines, as well as not requiring a fixed payment for the use of island mills. Donatary-captains were known for charging a fixed rate, yet, João Soares allowed each to pay what they could and never cited them for their debts. In years when the crops failed and famine extended throughout the island, he permitted some to kill sheep, but required those to return the pelts and wool.[2]

At the beginning of this Captaincy, João de Aveiro (a notary from São Miguel) was sent to Santa Maria (directed by the Corregedor, António de Macedo) in order to stop him, due to a judgment against him. He was sent to Lisbon as a prisoner, where he appealed his sentence and was liberated.[3] On 12 July 1517 he sold concessions to soap production on the island of São Miguel to Henrique de Bettencourt.[4]

The captain and his family lived on the current Rua de Frei Gonçalo Velho in Vila do Porto, where the ruins of his home still exist; it is curious for its five doorways that provided access to the compound, but which were designed by sculptor António Teixeira Lopes in 1924, during a visit by Azorean intellectuals.[5]

Later life[edit]

João Soares de Sousa married Guiomar da Cunha, daughter of Francisco da Cunha, a cousin of the Viceroy of India D. Afonso de Albuquerque and Brites da Câmara (niece of João Gonçalves Zarco the first Donatary-Captain of Funchal). Following the death of his first wife, he married Jordoa Faleiro, daughter of Fernão Vaz Faleiro, notary of Vila do Porto, and D. Filipa de Resendes. Yet, he later married Maria de Andrade, daughter of Nuno Fernandes Velho, master of Larache. From his three weddings, João Soares de Sousa had 24 children: from his first marriage Pedro Soares de Sousa was born, and who succeeded him in the title of Donatary-Captain of Santa Maria; Manuel de Sousa, who killed a man and escaped to fight in Franca and Italy, and in the vicinity of Tunes under orders of Emperor Charles V (but who ultimately died in Santa Maria, after a 35-year abscene, in combat with French pirates who burned Vila do Porto; Rui de Sousa, who died in combat in India; and André de Sousa who married Mécia de Lemos, daughter of Mariense D. Luís de Figueiredo Lemos, who was bishop of the Diocese of Funchal. From his second marriage Gonçalo Velho, who died at sea; e Álvaro de Sousa, who married D. Isabel, daughter of Amador Vaz Faleiro. From this marriage, was born D. Jordoa de Sousa Faleiro, who eventually married Fernão de Andrade Velho, who was taken into captivity into Northern Africa when Barbary Coast pirates attacked in 1616.

João Soares de Sousa was buried in the presbytery of the Church of Nossa Senhora da Assunção in Vila do Porto, along the door to the sacristy.


  1. ^ Sousa, José de (February 1971), "Nota histórica", Suplemento de Santa Maria, Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal: Correio dos Açores
  2. ^ Francisco Maria Supico (1995)
  3. ^ Adriano Ferreira, p.94
  4. ^ Adriano Ferreira, p.90
  5. ^ The buildings was classified as a Property of Public Interest under decree 44/452, 5 July 1962, as part of the zone that includes Vila do Porto, under regional decree 22/92/A, 21 October 1992.
  • Bento, Carlos Melo (2008), História dos Açores: Da descoberta a 1934 (in Portuguese), Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal: Câmara Municipal de Ponta Delgada
  • Fructuoso, G. (1966). Saudades da Terra (Vol.1-6), 1873 (in Portuguese). Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal: Instituto Cultural de Ponta Delgada. ISBN 972-9216-70-3.
  • Ferreira, Adriano (1996), Era uma vez... Santa Maria (in Portuguese), Vila do Porto (Azores), Portugal: Câmara Municipal de Vila do Porto
  • Supico, Francisco Maria (28 September 1910), "Escavações, vol. III", A Persuasão (in Portuguese) (774) (2537 ed.), Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal: Instituto Cultural de Ponta Delgada, p. 1398