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"Portuguese ruled Goa from fifteenth century onwards for 450 years. However Goa's history has a pre - Portuguese era also about which little is known outside the state. Visit Goa this vacation and discover its rich historical past."
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Information on History of Goa

Viceroy's Arch  Old Goa, Goa
Viceroy's Arch Old Goa , Goa

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Pre Portuguese Era

The earliest known inhabitants of Goa were the people of Mhar tribe. Around 4000 BC, a pastoral tribe migrated to Goa who had the skills needed to tame animals. This is perhaps the reason why so many names by which Goa has been known contains the term, Go (cow). Later other tribes like the Asuras, Kol, Mundaris and Kharwas came and settled in Goa. This was around 3000 BC. 600 years later, the first batch of Aryan set their feet on the grounds of Goa followed by Sumerians who came after another 400 years. The Sumerians were a part of well developed civilisation and hence brought about numerous significant changes in the culture, lifestyle and thought process of the people. Some of the important changes made by them are still seen in Goa.

The first kingdom that ruled Goa belonged to the Bhoja dynasty who formed a part of the Mauryan Empire. Later other dynasties like Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Dynasty, and finally Hoysalas also ruled Goa from 1022 to 1342 A.D. The first half of the 14th century saw the forces of Ala-ud-din Khilji and Mohammed Bin Tughlaq marching into Goa. They ravaged and destroyed everything that came into their way and carried back a large amount of bounty. The Kadamabas, who were a prime power at that point of time started to loose hold and finally succumbed to the Muslim dynasty of Deccan, the Bahamani. The major threats to the Bahamani dominance now was the Vijaynagar Empire that was on an expansionist spree. Between the period of 1356 -78, the two powers constantly struggled to gain control of region and finally at the end of it Goa came under the patronage of the mighty Vijaynagar Empire.

Goa Port was now renowned as a rich horse trading centre. This was probably the reason that made Madhav Mantri (Vijaynagar General) pursue vigorously the task of including Goa in the Vijaynagar Empire as a province. He later became the Viceroy of Goa and worked tremendously towards its cultural and commercial development. This was the time when Salcete, Pernem, Sattari, Bardez, Sawantwadi, Bicholim and Ponda were included in the province of Goa. The horse trade also took another leap forward with a large number of Arab Steed being imported. The ever increasing prosperity of Goa again attracted the attention of the Bahamani rulers and they captured it again, however, their control did not continue for long and the Sultan of newly founded Sultanate of Bijaipur (carved out of Bahamani Empire itself), Adil Shah established himself as the ruler of Goa. Adil Shah made Ela (old Goa) his capital and developed its port a lot. Trade at this point of time flourished a lot with the import of Arab Steeds and export of calicoes, muslin, arceanut, spices and rice.

In 1508, Adil Shah allowed Muslim immigrants from Vijaynagar ports of Honvar and Bhatkal, Naites to settle down at Ela. The Naites had a notorious reputation among Hindus since the former had been known to harass the latter. As such, their settlement in Goa did not go very well with the Hindu population. One of the prominent Hindu leaders, Mhall Pai, the Sardessai of Verna, together with the Vijaynagar Admiral, Timmaya invited the Portuguese to come and take over the control of Goa.

This was the invitation that brought the Portuguese Admiral, Afonso Albuquerque to the port of Goa and marked the beginning of the long Portuguese rule in Goa.

The Portuguese Era

The Portuguese nurtured hatred towards the Muslims because the former had been a victim of Islamic supremacy. When Alfonso Albuquerque received an invitation to conquer Goa, he was on his way to take on the Egyptians in the Persian Gulf. However, Thimmaya managed to convince him that he should head towards Goa instead. Alfonso took his advice and proceeded to conquer Goa. In the absence of Adil Shah, this became a smooth process and Goa came under the domination of the Portuguese without the loss of a single soldier. Adil Shah was not the sort to accept defeat so easily and soon he regained control over Goa. However, after his death, which was soon after, Goa came back into the hands of Alfonso.

In his first stint, Alfonso was very liberal with the locals but the scene was vastly different this time round. The Muslims, who had been responsible for his defeat against Adil Shah lost their lives in large numbers. Also, a large mosque built by Adil Shah was demolished and in its place Se Cathedral was built to commemorate the day when Goa was captured by the Portuguese. It was St Catherine's Day and hence the church built was named after her. Albuquerque strengthened the Indian trade with Europe, Gulf and Africa. He also saw to it that his dominance over Ormuz was complete since it was vital for his unrestricted trade activities between Red Sea and India. Before his death, Albuquerque established the Portuguese hold over Goa.

It was during this period that Christianity spread enormously in Goa. This was a period when forced conversion and Inquisition process forced many Hindus to leave Goa and move to other parts of India. It was the worst period of the Goan history. Inquisition finally ended in the 18th century and Hindus who had left Goa returned to it. However, the Portuguese rule also had its positive aspects. Markets, buildings, churches and cathedrals sprang up and trade boomed for a while too. The rise of French, British and Dutch decreased the power of the Portuguese. Old Goa gave way to Panjim which now became the capital of Goa. Also, new provinces like Sanquem, Canacona, Satari and Pernem were added to bring Goa to its present size. The Portuguese rule itself ended only after Indian independence and that also in the year 1961- nearly after around 400 years.

The Goa of post independence exudes a remarkable blend of the Portuguese and the native culture. Tourism soon took over and western tourists began to frequent Goa in large numbers. In the 1987, Goa was declared a state and today, it is one of the prime cultural and tourists centre of India.


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