Fifty years of quiet consolidation in Guinea came to an abrupt end in 1530. Until 1553 the part played by Englishmen in West Africa was negligible. The major threat to Portuguese supremacy came from the French. These twenty-three years may be regarded, then, as a period when the Portuguese monopoly was subjected to a French challenge. Franco-Portuguese relations were far from amicable in the ten years before 1530, because of mutual seizures. Jean Fleury, one of the leading French privateers, had ravaged Portuguese shipping on a large scale off the African coast.4 Indeed, more than 300 Portuguese ships were captured by French pirates and privateers between 1500 and 1531. The persistence of French activity makes it almost certain that there must have been armed Portuguese fleets in Guinea despite the absence of records in the intervening years.