Goa under the Portuguese would appoint a Viceroy to govern the territory of Goa. It was the one of the top most positions available at the time. One would expect the Viceroy to lead a very comfortable life. contrary to that, he did not get as many perks as assumed.
From the pocket
Palacio da Fortaleza, the residence of the Viceroy from 1554 to 1695 was a large home. The residence was said to have contained many treasures such as decorative items made out of ivory, teak woods cabinets, intricately designed carpets, porcelain cutlery. It was an era when Portugal was the master of the Indian Ocean.
However, the lavish lifestyle wasn’t funded by the Imperial government. Contents of the palace were to be purchased by the Viceroy from his own salary. Even a simple sitting chair was not provided by the Empire.
In fact, once the term of the serving Viceroy was to end, his staff packed his belongings which would be taken back to Lisbon. This would be arranged a few months prior to his departure. The palace would be emptied of all its contents. From curtains to carpets, everything would be packed and ready to be shipped.
Voyage from Goa to Lisbon was not easy. Only the items that were worth the trouble of a long sea journey were taken. Rest of the modest items were given away to servants or sold off. That way the new Viceroy had to purchase all the items of his daily needs.
In 1695, the residence of the Viceroy was moved and Palacio da Fortaleza fell in disuse. Today no traces of it are found. All the physical clues were wiped off with time and it survives only in the historical documents.
To put the grandeur of that era in perspective, a cabinet belonging to that time is being sold this year for ₹ 77 crores . The Viceroy’s must have carried quite a collection with themselves back home. Premium goods indeed!