Pedro Mascarenhas

Pedro Mascarenhas

Pedro Mascarenhas

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Pedro Mascarenhas (1470 – June 23, 1555) was a Portuguese explorer and colonial administrator. He was the first European to discover the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in 1512. He also encountered the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius in 1512, although he may not have been the first Portuguese explorer to do so; earlier expeditions by Diogo Dias and Afonso de Albuquerque may have encountered the islands.

In 1528 explorer Diogo Rodrigues (after whom the island of Rodrigues is named) named the islands of Réunion, Mauritius, and Rodrigues the Mascarene Islands, after Mascarenhas.

Mascarenhas served as Captain-Major of the Portuguese colony of Malacca from 1525 to 1526, and as viceroy of Goa, capital of the Portuguese possessions in Asia, from 1554 until his death in 1555. He was succeeded as viceroy by Francisco Barreto. While viceroy of India, at the direction of the King of Portugal he sent Fr. James Dias and Fr. Gonçalo Rodrigues to Ethiopia in order to determine whether Emperor Galawdewos would be receptive to receiving a Patriarch anointed by the Roman Catholic church.Balthasar Tellez, The Travels of the Jesuits in Ethiopia, 1710 (LaVergue: Kessinger, 2010), pp. 133f

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