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Goa History

Viceroy's Arch Old Goa , Goa


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.