Goa Was the Jewel of the Portuguese Colonial Empire.
It would be the city’s natural harbors and the wide rivers that would be the main draw for the Portuguese when they arrived in 1510. Goa would become the administrative center for much of the Portuguese Far Eastern and African empire. Portuguese control would last for 450 years and leave a lasting impression on the city that would become modern day Goa, as well as a lasting feel of a south European city, blended with its own native cultures.
Discovery of the Route to India After Vasco da Gama left Malindi with his hired navigator, his next stop was the Indian subcontinent. He had become the first European to reach India by sea. He arrived a few hundred miles south of present day Goa. Unfortunately his success was also met by a bit of defeat too. The goods that da Gama brought with him where not in demand in India at all. The native peoples of the area were hostile to these outsiders and thus da Gama was forced to return to Portugal with his stores of goods still unsold. The Portuguese Gain Goa
It would not be until the year 1510 that the Portuguese would first land in Goa. Alfonso Albuquerque would be the first Portuguese captain to land in Goa, but his arrival was staunchly resisted by Adil Shah of the Bijapur. Within a few months the Portuguese were driven out of the city, it would take them another year to arrive with enough forces to take Goa. Even when those forces arrived, they only managed to gain a single district of the area (Illhas), and in reprisal for his earlier defeats Albuquerque ordered the massacre of the Muslim population of the captured area.
By 1543 Portugal had finally gained a few more districts. These conquests formed Portugal’s ‘Old Conquests’, though they only make up 1/5 of present day Goa. Portugal quickly gained supremacy of the nearby seas and that coupled with their strong control of the conquered areas of Goa, began to integrate the city. By the end of the 16th century the Turkish control of the spice trade had been ended. Goa had grown to be the largest city in the east, with 40,000 people and 300 churches within the town, it would already be referred to as ‘Golden Goa’ and hold an immensely strong place in the spice trade and in the Far Eastern world itself. Establishment of Portuguese Culture in Goa
Under Albuquerque the primary goal for the Portuguese government of Goa was commerce. Religion took a back seat and Hindu beliefs were allowed were very well tolerated, though the Muslim population obviously had a decidedly tougher time (though they were not actively targeted). As the Counter Revolution began in Europe, the Inquisition also traveled abroad and eventually it would land in Goa. Led by Saint Francis Xavier, the Portuguese inquisition arrived in 1542, the policy of tolerance toward the Hindu religion was reversed and temples were razed with Christian churches built on the old sites. Muslim peoples were actively removed from the area or killed and the Goans was forced into the Christian religion. The distinctly Portuguese names that many Goans bear today are a relic of that time when converts were forced to accept a Portuguese name at their conversion. Decline of Portugal and Goa
During the 16th century Portugal’s trade empire began to fail. The Dutch had seized control of the spice trade (Portugal’s original reason for colonizing in the far east) and Portugal had been forced to turn to Brazil as the center of its colonial empire. Goa was attacked twice by the Dutch in 1603 and 1640, though it weathered both of these attacks. Even the independent Indian nation of Marathas threatened invasion (1683), though its plans were halted when the Mughal Empire to the north invaded Marathas. By 1741 the Marathas were again in a position to attack Goa. The invading forces manage to seize Portugal’s northern holdings, including the area around Bassein. In a remarkable bit of timing a new viceroy had been on his way.
The viceroy, the Marquis of Lourical, arrived with reinforcements just in time to defeat the Marathas in Bardez, though Bassein was still lost to Marathas. This would actually spark Portuguese expansion and the resulting frontier wars significantly expanded the Portuguese holdings. These new holdings were treated differently though. The Portuguese distrust of other religions had died down considerably and even the Jesuits had been banned from Portugal in 1759. By 1835, all religious orders had been officially banned and as a result the Hindu population in these newly conquered areas were given religious freedom to worship who and how they wished. End of Portuguese Power in Goa
The first open revolt against Portuguese rule broke out in Goa in 1787. Know as the Pinto Revolution, it was led by several Goan priests, who were unhappy with the process of promotion in Goa’s clerical orders. The rebellion was put down after a few deportations and executions had been done. But Portugal’s woes in Goa were not over, the British actually managed to gain control of Goa twice in the beginning of the 19th century, once from 1797 –98 and another time from 1802-1813. Though the British were eventually removed from power over Goa and Portuguese control resumed, these short periods led to other longer lasting problems for the Portuguese rule of Goa.
The Goan population began to emigrate to other areas of India in large numbers. The opening of railroad links to British India in 1881 and the opening of the port of Marmagoa to other Indian traffic in 1878 led to even larger numbers of emigrants as Goa’s isolation decreased. 1900 saw not only the beginning of a new century of Portuguese rule over Goa, but also the opening of the first Anti-Portuguese rule newspaper. Established by Luis Menezes Braganza, the paper “O Heraldo” actively critized the Portuguese colonial government. The paper would last barely 25 years though as a viable source of critism and social change.
1926 saw the ascension of the Salazar regime in Portugal which established a strong grip on civil liberties. In Goa it was not allowed to publish any newspaper, pamphlet or even invitation without approval by the government. Another political activist, Dr. Cunha, established the Goa National Congress in 1928, which was strongly linked to the Indian National Congress. It seemed that Goa was moving ever closer to freeing itself from Portuguese hands. Support did still exist for Portugal in Goa though.
The majority of the Christian, Portuguese speaking, population still was actively in support of the Portuguese colonial government however much they might have disliked the current Salazar regime of Portugal. By 1947 the British had left India and the nation had assumed a Republic form of government. France withdrew from Pondicherri (on the mid-east coast of India) in 1954. The Salazar leaders in Portugal refused to reliquinsh Goa though. Finally in 1961 the Indian army simply marched into Goa, the city was taken with almost no resistance. Goa had been the last colonial position in India, as well as the first. History andCulture
Legends from Hindu mythology credit Lord Parshuram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu with the creation of Goa. Over the centuries various dynasties have ruled Goa. Rashtrakutas, Kadambas, Silaharas, Chalukyas, Bahamani Muslims and most famously the Portuguese have been rulers of Goa.
Goa was liberated by the Indian Army from Portuguese colonization on December 19, 1961 and became an Union Territory along with the enclaves of Daman and Diu. On May 30, 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and became the 25th state of the Indian Republic.
Having been the meeting point of races, religions and cultures of East and West over the centuries, Goa has a multi-hued and distinctive lifestyle quite different from the rest of India. Hindu and Catholic communities make up almost the entire population with minority representation of Muslims and other religions. [pic]
The culture here shows the confluence of the east and the west. The state is home to both beautiful temples and magnificent churches. The state’s history dates back to 3rd century BC. The Indo-Portuguese culture and architecture here speak for the Portuguese influence on the state. Tourists can get a glimpse of the glorious history preserved in churches, forts, villages and cities. Culture of Goa
Goa is absolutely one of a kind in India. The culture of the state is an amalgam of Portuguese and Konkan culture. Goa is a very laid back, chic state with lots of Bohemian influences to it. It was colonized by the Portuguese in the early 16th century and still manages to retain its essence. The state is also known as the “Rome of the East”. Over the past few decades, Goa witnessed a sharp rise in the tourism industry, with domestic and foreign nationals swarming the state for a relaxed holiday. It is the official national ‘hotspot’ in India, and has risen to impeccable international standards. The culture of Goa is unique in its own sense and is unlike any other in the Asian subcontinent. The people of Goa like to laze around, enjoy and ‘soak in’ the good things in life. Goans are passionate about their food, music, religion and most importantly, their local drink; Feni.
Arts and Crafts Although the local arts and crafts are nothing extraordinary, you will find one-of-a-kind pieces in Goa if you are lucky. Traditional coconut carved works and jute macrame crafts have earned quite a name in the state. There are a lot of shops that sell artifacts made out of sea shells, handpicked by fishermen in the coastal regions. Contemporary bamboo arts and crafts can also be found in local flea markets along with other brass ware. Traditional pottery and terracotta have high demand from international tourists for the exquisite hand work that goes into making them with local, Konkani designs. Apart from that, mediocre items such as pots, baskets, ashtrays and candle stands can be found made out of wood and jute.
Dances Goa does not only play techno, trance and house music. Apart from the raving nightlife, free style dancing and unique techno compositions, they have quite a variety of traditional dances themselves, inspired by religions, the Portuguese and the Dutch. The traditional dances mirror the lifestyles and the cultures of the Goans, and take you decades back in the times when the Portuguese still ruled. Some of the popular folk dances are Dhalo, Dekhni, Fugdi, Shigmo, Kunbi and the Lamp dance. The happy blending of cultures in Goa makes it easier for people to respect the different dance forms which give a unique character to the arts.
Music Goa is probably the only state in India that has a conglomeration of traditional classical and western music. There is whole new world in terms of music in the state of Goa. Goa has some of the finest Hindustani classical performers such as Kesarbai Kerkar and the Mangeshkar family. Apart from the traditional hues, Goa is steeped in a whole new world of trance and houses some of the best trance and electro music in India.
The Portuguese brought the violin, the piano and the mandolin to Goa which then went on to popular throughout the country. There are different instruments used and there are traditional Konkani and religious songs famous all over the state such as Dekhni, Dulpod, Duvallo, Mando and Fughri. Over the years Goa has blended their music with the Europeans and world famous bands such as the ‘Goa Amigos’ were initiated in the state. The state is extremely famous on the music scene, and has been the birthplace for a lot of Goan psychedelic trance and the dubstep. Top DJ’s from all over the world come to Goa for the much-talked-about, infinite party scene.
People Goa has a unique race of people with varied backgrounds. This allows them to appreciate every person in the state and respect them all the more. The people are extremely amicable and love to ‘mingle’. It is this sort of nature that has put Goa on the forefront of tourism and international success. People believe that they are “Goans” first, with religion following in as second. They are harmonious, life-loving people with an unavoidable magnetism.
Literature Goa is well known for its literature and its love affair with the printed world. The Goan arts and literary festival held in the state is an important platform for all Goan writers and other live wires to take part in a mesmerizing event filled with knowledge and the love for reading. Some of the big names related to Goan literature are Philip Furtado and Lino Leitao for short stories.
Religions One will be able to see a beautiful blend of religions in this state. Though Goa is primarily a Christian state, majority happen to be the Hindus. The Portugal rule has left a Christian dominated aura behind and most of the infrastructure in the state is built in that style. It is the only place in the country where you can find all people, however religious they may be, co-existing harmoniously.
Fairs and Festivals After music, Goa is known for its fairs and festivals. Apart from the usual Christmas, Diwali, Eid, Holi and Good Friday, there are countless other small festivals that add to the good cheer and spirit of the state. The Shigmo festival, beach bonanza and the Carnival are celebrated in a lot of pomp and style. People, young and old take part in the Carnival and the Shigmo festivals. Goa is the land of great variety and was also the epicenter for the Portuguese. It is much like the jewel in the crown in India. It’s a great place to be at any point of time, during any season, whether it’s just for having some fun or for sheer business purposes.