Goa, India - early history

Early history. Portuguese ..www.newworldencyclopedia.org
Goa Beach, India magalic.com
Early history. Portuguese ..www.newworldencyclopedia.org
Goa is a small  dynamic state in West India  and has undergone continual transformation for centuries. Being one of the strategic trade centers on the western coast of India,  the  historical monuments of Goa are the constant reminders of   seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries and various rulers of by-gone era and their impact on the socio-economic life of  Goa over the past several centuries. Goa has played a key role in Indian history,  second gateway to the entry of Europeans in India  from Portugal. The Portuguese after their first discovery of the direct sea route to  India via the Arabian sea  in May, 1498 under Vasco da Gama, later on their subsequent trips to India landed on the picturesque Goa coast.

During the British rule,  Goa was a tiny land, an enclave ruled by the Portuguese. When freedom struggle was on against the British,  Gandhiji never focused his attention on the Portuguese who ruled over Goa for 451 years - more than the British. During the tumultuous period, the Portuguese ruled this tiny land quietly and that why did the Indian freedom fighters  turn their attention to Goa is a moot question.  The Portuguese  were thrown out by the powerful Indian Army only on 19th December, 1961- the was lasted for a day - shortest in World history.

One finds the first  literary reference to Goa  in the Bhishma Parva of Mahabharata as Gomanta, meaning  the region of cows.  According to the Hindu  scriptures, it is believed, that  Parashurama, is its as its creator but it is not backed  either by  archaeological or by  historical evidences. It was Parasurama who created a land by pushing the sea backward  with his mystic  seven arrows set out from the Sahydris. Accordingly, a vast region came into being called Shurparaka, meaning winnowing fan. Parashurama, 6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, brought Brahmins from the North and settled them in this land, called Parashurama Kshetra. 

Geological evidences, to some extend, support the theory that once the land was under the ocean as suggested by numerous marine fossils  mainly gastropods of recent Pleistocene age - 12,000 to 15,000 years plus. A minor tectonic event (mountain building activity) might have pushed the sea bed upward and further lifting of the Deccan plateau as part of mountain building activities might have completely drained the waters. So, the present day Goa was once  a vast expanse of sea, part of the Arabian ocean.

Between 1350 AD Goa was under the  Bahmani Sultanate, later in 1370 the the Vijayanagar  Hindu empire ruled this place for a century and Goa had important ports through which the rulers imported the Arabian horses to strengthen their military. It was in 1469 the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbarga took control of Goa. Goa became a part of Adil Shah's Bijapur Sultanate soon after the split of the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbarga. Goa became a second capital and Adil Shahi palace  later became the former Secretariat building in Panaji, later taken over by the Portuguese Viceroys as their official residence.

The very first conquest of Goa, once a great and prosperous trading port on the Indian coast took place in 1510. On behalf of the Portuguese admiral D. Afonso de Albuquerque. Goa (also Old Goa or Velha Goa) was not among the places Albuquerque had received orders to conquer.

Albuquerque, on request from one  Thimayya,  exiled Hindu chieftain from Goa  attacked Goa to relieve the  Hindu population of Goa  from Muslim rule. As a matter of fact  Goa was not on the agenda of Admiral Albuquerque who was on orders from the Portugal king to attack Aden and Malacca. Albuquerque accompanied by  admiral António de Noronha first reached the city of Goa in February, 1510 and by 17th February took control of the local city after conquering the Muslim ruler  Ismail Adil Shah of Bijapur (now in Kartataka).
Goa Map.Jplanettrekkerblog.com
With  a stronger fleet, composed of 34 ships, 1500 Portuguese and 300 Malabarese  Albuquerque sailed from Cannanore (capital of Kolathunad) and returned three months later, on November 24,1510. He captured Goa  in less than a day, from Ismail Adil Shah and his Ottoman allies, who surrendered on 10 December. Unfortunately the Portuguese, after taking the entire Goa under their control, on orders from Albuquerque butchered the Muslim population, consisting of men, women and children without showing mercy for the simple reason they resisted the Portuguese invasion.   It is estimated that 6,000 of the 9,000 Muslim defenders of the city died either in battle or killed by the foreign invaders.
Portuguese landed in1510, later founded 3  colonies in Diu, Bassein, and Mangalore.www.slideshare.net
Including Goa inquisition - forced conversion of Indian natives to Christianity under death threats, it is a great blot on the history of Portuguese in India. An interesting aspect is the capture of Goa was against the wish (royal orders carrying his seal) of the King of Portugal and the ruler was furious over the establishment of Goa without his acceptance. Anyway, Goa  became an important and strategic
Portuguese  establishment in India.

The Portuguese left behind a lot of beautiful churches that form the vestiges of Portuguese rule, their legacy and their serious dedication to Christianity. Goa being a tropical paradise has historical churches of beauty and antiquity scattered across the entire land.

Among the numerous churches in Goa, Se Cathedral (1619),  Bom Jesus Basilica (1605), Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (1541), Church of St. Catejan (1700) and  Church of St Francis of Assisi (1661) are worthy of mention and are being visited by tourists, in particular, from Europe.