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Goa Holidays >> History of Goa

Goa History

The history of Goa is as rich as the life it exhibits today. Most people trace the history of Goa only till the Portuguese advent. However, the history of Goa predates the Portuguese era way back to the period when it was under the powerful Indian kingdom and dynasties.

Hindu legend has it that Goa was created when Lord Parashurama shot his arrow into the sea and commanded the waters to retreat from the place where his arrow landed. The new land thus formed came to be called Konkan (piece of earth). The southern part was called Govarashtra.

Ancient History
Till the 3rd century BC, Goa was part of the powerful Maurya Empire. From the 4th century onwards, successive Indian kingdoms and dynasties laid their hold beginning with the Bhojas followed by the Chalukyas. It was the son of Chalukya King Pulakesin Prince Chandraditya who found the city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) between the years 566 to 597 A.D. From 1022 to 1342 A.D, Goa was under series of rulers beginning with the Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas.

From 14th century, Goa became a central trading centre on the west coast especially for horse trade. For a brief period it was under the Vijayanagar Empire till it was wrested by the Bahmani Sultans in 1347. Under them Goa enjoyed peace and prosperity especially during the reigns of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah till the arrival of the Portuguese in 1510.

Portuguese Rule
The Portuguese came to India to discover new trade routes with the intention of ending the Turk monopoly on spice trade. So initially, they were interested in Calicut, the centre of spice trade, and not Goa. The Portuguese adventurer Vasco Da Gama was the first Portuguese to arrive in India. He landed near Kozhikode in Kerala in 1498. In 1503, King Dom Manuel I sent Alfonso de Albuquerque to India to protect the cargo of spices from Arab Muslim attacks. In 1506-08, a local chieftan, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa. Albuquerque finally annexed Goa in 1510 by capturing the fort at Panaji. After this, Goa continued to be under the Portuguese for 450 years till 1961 warding off sporadic attacks from British, French and Dutch and Marathas.

The period from 1560-1812 called the Inquisition of Goa is an important period in the history of Goa. The Portuguese with their missionary zeal forced many to convert building grand churches after destroying the old temples. It was during this period that Saint Francis Xavier arrived in Goa.

The Golden Era is another important milestone in the history of Goa. During this time Goa was the largest city in the east and the viceregal seat of the Portuguese Empire of the East. The present geographical boundary of Goa was formed as a result of repeated annexations till the 18th Century. However, the Portuguese were on the path to decline mostly due to foreign attacks beginning from the 17th century. They were finally ejected by the then Indian Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961. It became a state in 1987.

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