Nuno Gonçalves, or Nuno Gonçalves Botelho, was the first man to be born on the island of São Miguel, in the Azores (RODRIGUES, 2008: 31). He was the son of Gonçalo Vaz Botelho, called the Great, “a branch of the Botelhos in the Azores, one of the oldest settlers on the island of São Miguel, where he came with his wife and some of their children”, around 1450 (FRUTUOSO, 1977: vol. 1, cap. 4, 53; FELGUEIRAS GAIO, 1938: 118). Gonçalo, son of Pero Botelho, commander of the Order of Christ, was one of the men from the House of Prince Henry the Navigator who was part of the group led by Gonçalo Velho Cabral, responsible for the settlement of the eastern part of the archipelago. He was called the Great because he was so “in body and condition” (FRUTUOSO, 1977: vol. I, 54). He was the first ombudsman of the captain of the island of São Miguel, having led the creation of the municipality of Vila Franca do Campo. To commemorate this fact, a statue of him by the sculptor Canto da Maia was placed in front of the town’s hall in 1954. This statue includes a bas-relief depicting his descendant Nuno Gonçalves Botelho de Arruda Coutinho e Gusmão (1813-1879), 1st viscount of Botelho (MENDES, 2018: 19).
Nuno Gonçalves Botelho’s date of birth is unspecified, and almost nothing is known about his life. It is known that he was a squire, married Catarina Rodrigues, to whom some genealogists add Coutinho, and lived in Rosto de Cão. He entailed land near Vila Franca do Campo, next to the Ribeira da Abelheira, in his will, dated October 13, 1504. The chapel of Nossa Senhora da Vida (Our Lady of Life) was built on these lands by his descendant, the captain-major of Vila Franca, nobleman of the Royal House, Francisco de Arruda Botelho, who was baptized in the parish church of Ponta Delgada in 1630 (RODRIGUES, 2008: 34).