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Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita

Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita (São Lourenço, Macau July 9, 1818 - São Lourenço, Macau, March 20, 1880) was an officer of the Portuguese Army in Macau. He is widely remembered for his role at the Portuguese attack of Baishaling[1][2], Guangdong in 1849. He was the oldest of the five children of noted Macanese lawyer, Frederico Albino de Mesquita and Clara Esmeralda Carneiro - both Macau natives. He married twice; first to Balbina Maria da Silveira; second to his sister-in-law Carolina Maria Josefa da Silveira.

Contents

Baishaling Incident

Immediately after a Chinese mob assassinated Governor Ferreira do Amaral on August 22, 1849, Chinese Imperial troops mobilized on the Guangdong Province-Macau frontier. The Portuguese population of Macau viewed as an overtly threating move by the Chinese to invade Macau. On August 25, 1849, with a numerically smaller group of 36 soldiers from his Artillery Battalion, against a defending force of 400 men and 20 cannons, the then Second Lieutenant Mesquita attacked and pacified the Chinese fort at Baishaling. This coup guaranteed Macau's security and upon his return to the city, Mesquita was received as a national hero.

Later Years

In later years, Mesquita was wracked by depression due to his slow and inadequate promotion in the Portuguese military, allegedly due to being Macanese. He was further saddened by the lack official recognition of his role in protecting Macau. As a result, he suffered a series severe nervous breakdowns - the last prompted his permanent retirement. His professional and personal life deteriorated rapidly afterwards. His madness reached its zenith on March 3, 1880 - at his fashionable home: n¬ļ 1, Largo da Bica do Lilau - when Mesquita murdered his second wife, a daughter and gravely wounded two other of his children. Afterwards, on that same day, Mesquia committed suicide by throwing himself down a well at his home.

Under these circumstances, the then present Governor of Macau would not accord him a military burial, nor would the Bishop of Macau allow his remains to be placed in consecrated ground. Some thirty years later, on August 28, 1910, in conformity with public opinion on the importance of this man to the history of Macau, were his remains re-interred in the Cemitério de São Miguel with full military and ecclesiastical honors.

Military career

  • June 9, 1835 - voluntarily enlisted in Batalh√£o do Principe Regente.
  • August 29, 1848 - promoted to Second Lieutenant in the Artillery Battalion of Macau, by patent letter.
  • December 12, 1850 - promoted to First Lieutenant in the same Battalion by patent letter.
  • July 9, 1863 - made effective Major, by decree of the same date.
  • February 7, 1867 - promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
  • October 27, 1873 - promoted to Colonel.

Honors and Decorations

  • Commander of the Fortaleza da Taipa.
  • Commander of the Forte de S√£o Tiago da Barra and the Fortaleza do Monte.
  • Member of the Government Council and the Council of Military Justice.
  • Knight of the Order of N¬™ Sr¬™ da Concei√ß√£o de Vila Vi√ßosa (September 15, 1855).
  • Knight of the Order of Aviz (October 6, 1857).
  • Commander of the Order of Aviz (January 15, 1869).
  • Silver Medal of Military Valor.
  • Gold Medal of Exemplary Conduct.

Notes

  1. ^ Portuguese: Passale√£o
  2. ^ Cantonese: Pak Shan Lan

References

Forjaz, Jorge. Familias Macaenses. Macau: Instituto Portugues do Oriente, 1996. ISBN 9729440603.

Teixeira, Manuel. Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita - Separata editada na inaugura√ß√£o do monumento ao her√≥i do Passale√£o. Macau : Leal Senado, 1940

Teixeira, Manuel. Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita - 2ª ed. Macau: Tipografia "Soi Sang", 1958.

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