Everything about Goa!

Goa's History in a Nutshell

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Goa has a recorded history dates backs as old as 3 century BC.

Let’s start with the 15th century AD Vijayanagara Empire that ruled most of south India, Goa included.

At that time Goa was a small but important port city. The Arab merchants used it as their main landing port for their horse trade with the Vijayanagara kings. The Empire's never-ending expeditions and wars with the neighboring kingdoms and sultanates kept the demand for the superior Arabian horses in the whole region. They even paid for the horses that died during its sea travel to India. Obviously Goa was a strategic port both in military and trading terms.

Later the port city fell to the hands of the Bahmani Sultans and then to the Adil Shahis of Bijapur sultanate.

During that period the competing Europeans were on a look out for an alternate sea trade route to India. Their lucrative spice trade took a serious brunt when the Ottoman Turks blocked their traditional land route to India via Afghanistan and Iran.

In 1498 Vasco-Da-Gamma became the first European to land in India through a sea route. By that time Goa had already established itself as an important trade center on the western coast of India. By 1510 the Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the Bijapur sultans and annexed Goa as a Portuguese colony.

Apart from Hinduism and Islam, Roman Catholic faiths too arrived in Goa.

You as a tourist can see these influences in Goa, especially the Portuguese style architecture.

Back to the history again. Over the next two centuries power structures in India underwent significant changes. Hindu kingdoms gave way to the more formidable sultanates. India slowly and steadily turned into an Islamic empire under the Mughals. That continued over a couple of centuries, till the British power started sweeping India. The hitherto Mughal India slowly metamorphosed into the British Raj, the so called 'jewel in the crown of the British empire'.

By the year 1899, last king to fall to the British was Tippu sultan of the Mysore kingdom located further south. There was not much difference with his last fight and the beginning of the rebellion against the occupying British power. That struggle continued for about a century.

By the way, the Portuguese still held Goa as their naval base and colonial enclave ever since Afonso de Albuquerque captured it from the Bijapur sultan in 1510, while the overwhelming part of rest of India was under the British Raj.

Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373 - touted as the oldest surviving treaty in the world - came handy for the Portuguese to operate around the corner of a much larger British colony, undisturbed for long.

Year 1915. The political stage in India was just right to receive Mr.Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or simply Gandhi, the leader of India’s freedom struggle.

On 1947 August 15 India became an independent nation. Goa still remained as an enclave of Portuguese military. Many local uprisings were suppressed.

Portugal refused to relinquish its control. For Portugal, Goa was 'Estado da Índia Portuguesa', its non negotiable territory. Talks failed.

On 12 December 1961 a 40000 strong Indian troop marched to Goa.

Manuel António Vassalo e Silva, the then Governor General of Goa had an explicit message from Salazar, the head of Portugal government - "...that we should win or die". Vassalo opted for a third practical option, to surrender.

24 hours later the Portuguese garrison surrendered. The 450 years of Portugal’s colonial presence – probably longest ever in the world's history– in India come to an end.

For another 26 years Goa remained as a union territory of India – meaning the region was directly administered by the federal government. On 30 May 1987 Goa became the 25th state of India.

Over these centuries the Roman Catholicism and Hinduism recharged each other to form the moorings of the present day Goa.

That’s about Goa’s past. So when did Goa found itself in the tourist map?

After the Portuguese left, Goa was invaded by another army from the west. For a change, this time it was the Hippies!

The wars of the world got settled and the Baby Boomers had all the time ( and some spare cash too ) in their hand to explore the world. This tribe found their heaven on earth in Goa. They got all what they wanted – Sun, Sand, Sea and a generous supply of Marijuana too!

Goa slowly became a happening place again. Bus loads of Indian tourists too started arriving in Goa. In addition to everything Goa had for the Hippies, the local tourists had one more exotic attraction – the Hippies!

Four decades later Goa still remains as the top sought after beach destinations of India. It’s a destination bursting at its seams…

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