The Portuguese called Saptagram Porto Pequeno (Little Haven); on the contrary Chittagong was Porto Grande (Great Haven). In 1533, the Portuguese Afonso de Melo arrived with five ships and a hundred men. They presented lavish gifts to the Sultan. However, instead of being pleased the Sultan put the Portuguese behind bars, because the gifts were stolen materials. A conflict situation arose. Messages were sent to the Portuguese governor at Goa. Chittagong port was set on fire. Diano Rebelo arrived at Saptagram with a force. Many thought that Sultan Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah would give a big fight. He did not. He released the Portuguese prisoners and granted them permission to trade at Chittagong and Saptagram. He had his own reasons; he wanted the support of the Portuguese in the internal struggle that was just unfolding.
By 1535, the Portuguese were well settled in Saptagram. When Sher Khan attacked Saptagram, the Portuguese fought for the Sultan, but they withdrew their forces in 1538. The same year Sultan Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah was defeated. It was only after Sher Shah’s death and the decline of Afghan supremacy that the Portuguese returned to Saptagram by around 1550.
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“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.”
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