Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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LANCASTRO y ABREU, Maria Ursula (lan-cas'-tro), South American adventuress, born in Rio Janeiro in 1682; died in Goa, East Indies, in 1730. She was the only daughter of a family of wealth in Brazil. In 1700 she left her home secretly, and, dressing herself in male costume, took the name of Balthazar do Conto Cardoso and sailed for Portugal. In Lisbon she enlisted as a volunteer in an expedition to India, and soon afterward took part in the attack of Amboina and in the occupation of the islands of Corjuem and Panelem. For these deeds she was promoted to captain, and in 1703 she was appointed governor of an important castle. In 1704 the fortress Madre de Deus was put under her charge, and from that time till 1714 she performed many great exploits that made her assumed name well known. In 1714 she fell in love with the captain, Alffonso Teixeira Arras de Mello, who was the governor of the castle S. Joao Baptista, and, disclosing her sex, she received permission from the king to marry. On 8 March, 1718, the king of Portugal, Joao V., granted her a pension for her services to the nation, with permission to bequeath it to her heirs.
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