5th Portuguese India Armada (Albuquerque, 1503)
The Fifth India Armada was assembled in 1503 on the order of King Manuel I of Portugal and placed under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque. It was Albuquerque's first trip to India. It was not a particularly successful armada - navigational mistakes scattered the fleet on the outward journey. Ships spent much time looking for each other and several ended up travelling alone. The vanguard arrived in India just in time to rescue Portuguese-allied ruler of Cochin from a land invasion by the Zamorin of Calicut. Anticipating a new invasion, the armada erected Fort Sant'Iago in Cochin, the first Portuguese fort in Asia (under the command of Duarte Pacheco Pereira, its first captain-general). It also established the third Portuguese factory in India at Quilon. One of the squadrons of the armada, under António de Saldanha, missed the crossing to India, and ended up spending the year preying along the East African coast. Captains of this squadron made several significant discoveries - such as Table Bay (South Africa) and, more importantly, the strategic island of Socotra (near the Gulf of Aden). They also exacted tribute from Zanzibar and Barawa.