History of Goa - How Portuguese & Southern Influences Built the State

The history of Goa is rich and has resulted in its multi-cultural aesthetics. It has gone through continual transformations which have left an imperishable impact on its socio-economic developments. Let's find an answer to why Goa is a mix of several cultures, religions, beliefs, and practices!

The Harappan Influence

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The Harappan kingdom conquered Goa during 1700 and 1400 BC. They brought with them Southern culture and its beliefs which can be witnessed in the state even today. The state has huge varieties of mouth-watering South Indian Delicacies. Also, the Harappans survived on sea trade, and with their shift to Lothal, they made an exit from  Goa.

The Introduction of Konkani Language

Goa was a significant part of the Western Mauryan Empire. The scion of imperial Mauryas had ruled Goa for about four centuries. They were given the name of Konkan Maurayas, and the Chandragupt Maurya had taken over the western coast of India. The impact of the official language of Mauryas on the local dialects resulted in the formation of the traditional Konkani language of Goa. Furthermore, the great Buddhist Mauryan Emperor and grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka ruled the lotus-eating island during the 3rd century BC. Buddhism made its way to Goa when Buddhist Monks laid the foundations of the former religion under the rule of Ashoka.

Rule of Dynasties in Medieval Period

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The history of Goa shows that the state has undergone several transformations as an outcome of a number of dynasties ruling the region. Indo-Parthians, Bhojas, Chalukyas, Kadambas, Yadavas, and Bahamanis, all had a hold of Goa from the 1st century BC to 1500 AD. Their rule was ended by the arrival of Vijayanagar Empire in 14-15th century A.D. 

The Portuguese Reign

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In 1510, the defeat of the ruling Sultan and the return of Albuquerque heralded the advent of Portuguese rule in Goa. They entered in the form of huge fleets and made Velha their permanent settlement. The capital was shifted to Panaji afterward.  The Portuguese had kept Goa under their thumb for 4 centuries.
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Vasco De Gama and other Portuguese adventurers explored the sea routes to Goa and created a huge impact on the history of Goa as seen with multiple attractions existing in the state today. To hold lucrative control over the spice trade, the Portuguese made Goa their center. The state was found to be ideal for seafaring. Separate streets were assigned for the sale of different things such as spices, corals, pearls, and silk. In 1556, the Portuguese rule led to the birth of the Printing Press at Saint Paul's College of Goa. This was the first printing press to be established in the continent of Asia.
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With the profits from the spice trade, Goa entered its Golden Age. The Cathedral was constructed in the 16th century. It was not only the largest of all Churches in Asia but was also was bigger than the ones built in Portugal itself. With 300 churches and a population of 40,000 people, it was the vice imperial seat for the Portuguese rulers.

Becoming a Part of the Indian Sub-Continent

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Leaving behind the chains of Portuguese reign, it entered the statehood of India in 1961. The history of Goa is a study of the various kingdoms and dynasties that have ruled Goa until its eventual joining of the Indian nation. This is why Goa has such a unique culture and is defined by its unique traditions.

This post was published by Nidhi Khurana

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