Expeditions prior to the formal armadas

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The development of the Portuguese trade routes to Asia was not an easy thing to achieve, neither it was achieved in a short time. It all started when the Portuguese felt the necessity to expand their horizons towards the ocean since the stability of the land-based trade routes to the Far East was compromised due to political, military and religious factors around the XIV century.

"If you never try, you never learn." - Proverb.

The first expeditions seeking sea routes to the east began early in the XV century. Henry the Navigator[1.5][4], one of the sons of king João II and brother of a direct ancestor of Ana de Lancastre[1.6], began promoting the exploration of the African coast past Cape Bojador, which at the time was considered essentially the end of the known world and impossible to trespass, since ships that attempted to go further never returned. Gil Eanes was the first to go thorough, in 1435.

Teixeira is a surname that corresponds to a family of Portuguese bankers married to the Schoenbergs in Amsterdam during the XVII and XVIII centuries. It is also the family name of Tristão Vaz Teixeira, one of the discoverers and colonizers of Porto Santo. However, we do not know at this point if he belongs to the same Teixeira family as the bankers.

Bartholomeu Perestrelo was the captain of an expedition sent to Porto Santo (Madeira) after Teixeira. Branca dias Perestrelo[1.95] was the wife of Pedro de Noronha. This surname is linked to the Sampayo family from which the Schoenbergs originate. Other names that link the name Perestrelo to Sampayo include de Castro[83.1], Albuquerque and Bragança. In these cases the names correspond to the same families, meaning that there was a distant albeit true relationship between the Perestrelo and Sampayo families thorough the other names.

In 1447 an expedition to the Canary Islands included Soeiro da Costa. This surname appears linked to the Schoenberg family, since a daughter of Simcha da Costa married Ridder François Jacob von Schonenberg[1.96] in the XVIII century, and Isaac da Costa[1.98] married Hanna von Schonenberg[1.97]; we do not know, however, if Soeiro da Costa belongs to the same family as Isaac.

Fernando de Castro is another name related to the Sampayo family that appears among those involved in the expedition of 1447 to the Canary Islands.

Pedro de Évora is mentioned in a comment about the construction of the fortress of Mina, in Ghana. The family name de Évora is related to the family name Ataíde. Pedro Vaz da Cunha is mentioned in an expedition to rescue Prince Jalof, in 1488. Alonso Tellez Giron[1.102] was the son of Martim Vasques da Cunha and Teresa Tellez Giron. He was married to Maria Pacheco de Belmonte, and the Sampayo – Belmontes were direct descendants of Lopo Fernandes Pacheco[1.87].

Portrait of D. Duarte de Meneses.
Portrait of D. Duarte de Meneses, from the book 'Asia Portuguesa,' Lisbon 1703, by Manuel de Faria e Sousa.
The de Menseses / de Menezes family was directly married with the Sampayos and some are direct ancestors of Dom Iago
de sampayo y Belmonte, like João Afonso Telo de Menezes, 1º conde de Viana do Alentejo[1.103].
From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia, public domain[85].

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