In the later Vedic period (c.1000-500 BC) when the Hindu epic
"Mahabharata" was written, Goa has been referred to with the
Sanskrit name "Gomantak", a word with many meanings , signifying
mostly a fertile land; but however, it is the Portuguese who gave
Goa its name. Before they arrived on the scene, Goa, or Gove or
Gowapura, was the name only of the port town near the mouth of the
Mandovi River. This was also the same site on which the Portuguese
later built their capital, today's Old Goa.
Mythology and Legend
Legend ( and history to some extent) has it that a section of
Saraswat Brahmins, (one of the sub-sects of Brahmins who eat fish)
became the first wave of Brahmins to settle in Goa. This group of
Brahmins were called Saraswats because of their origins from the
banks of the River Saraswati, an ancient river that existed in Vedic
times. The river Saraswati subsequently dried up and caused large
scale migration of this group of Brahmins to all corners of India. A
group of ninety-six families, known today as Gaud Saraswats, settled
along the Konkan coast in and around today's Goa somewhere around
1000 BC. They reportedly took the sea route and did not use land
routes. These groups settled in Tiswadi, Salcete, Bardesh, Pernem
and Kudal. The first group of Saraswat Brahmins who settled in the
Goa area were called "Sastikars" because they settled in the eight
villages of Sasti taluka. Today's Salcete taluka derives its name
from the Sanskrit word "Sassast" meaning the number 66, Tiswadi
derived from the Sanskrit word for the number 30, and Bardesh/Bardez
derived from the Sanskrit word for the number 12. Their settlements
called as agraharas set the pace for agriculture and development in
the area in partnership with the local indigenous people, the
Kumbhis. The earliest "Matha" of the Saraswat community was the "Kavle
Math" founded in 740 AD and established at Kushasthali near Keloshi
in Goa. This Math was subsequently destroyed by the Portuguese in
1564 but the tradition continued on elsewhere.
This early land reclamation by the Saraswats also provides the basis
of a very popular theory of origin of Goa, with its basis as
recorded in the "Skanda Purana". It is said that Lord Vishnu, in his
sixth incarnation as "Lord Parashurama" shot an arrow from the top
of the western ghats into the sea. He then commanded the sea or
"Lord Samudra" to withdraw where the arrow fell and claimed that
land to be his kingdom, that exact spot is reportedly "Benali" (in
Sanskrit for 'where the arrow landed'), or today's Benaulim, the
land around it , today's Goa. He is also said to have brought the
Brahmins from Trihotra in north India and settled them in Goa. This
is considered today to be more mythology than history.
The Early era
Goa was a part of the Mauryan empire of Emperor Ashoka. It has been
known to other cultures by different names. Some of the names it was
known by in the ancient world are as follows
Aparant, Gomant, Govarashtra, Goparastra, Govapuri, Gopakpuri,
Gopakapattana, Gove. The last four being the names of its capital.
Chersonesus or Nelikinda (Periplus), Nekanidon (Pliny), Melinda or
Tricadiba Insula (Ptolemy), Nincilda (Peutingerian tables), Sibo.
Sindabur, Chintabur, Cintabor.
The Hindu era
The Hindu dynasties controlled Goa for the next 700 years. The
various dynasties that controlled Goa during this period are, the
Scytho-parthians (2nd -4th century AD), the Abhiras, Batpura, and
the Bhojas ( 4th - 6th century AD), the Chalukyas ( from 6th - 8th
century AD) and the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed (8th to 10th Century
AD). This was followed by the Kadambas (1006 AD-1356 AD).
The Kadambas were unique because they were a local dynasty that
slowly came to dominate the scene by forging alliances with their
neighbors and overlords, the Chalukyas. They made Chandrapur (Chandor)
their capital (937 AD to 1310 AD). They subsequently moved their
capital to Govapuri on the banks of the Zuari river, the site of
today's Goa Velha. The Kadambas are credited with constructing the
first settlement on the site of Old Goa in the middle of the 11th
century, when it was called Thorlem Gorem. The period of the
Kadambas is considered to be the first golden age of Goa. The death
of the last Chalukya king in 1198 weakened their alliance and this
exposed Goa to the vulnerability to Muslim invasions that took place
continuously after that.
The Muslim era
The invasion of Goa by the Bahamini Kingdom in 1350 brought about
complete destruction to Goa, its temples and its institutions. The
invaders, driven by fanatic zeal destroyed temples, murdered priests
and systematically looted their wealth. Many deities got moved to
safer areas, only one survives to this very day- the Shree Mahadev
Temple at Tambdi Surla. The end of the first period of the Bahamini
rule was following their defeat by the the Hindu Empire of
Vijayanagar (14-15th century AD). The Bahaminis returned again in
1470 and won and with that victory, Goa became a part of the Muslim
Bahmani Kingdom of the Deccan (15th century). The Bahaminis created
a new city to facilitate trade on the northern banks of the river
Mandovi, a city they called Ela. In 1492, the Bahmani Kingdom split
into five kingdoms, namely Bidar, Berar, Ahmadnagar, Golconda and
Bijapur. One of the kingdoms namely Bijapur (which was the capital
of the territory) included Goa and was ruled by Sultan Yusuf Adil
The Early Portuguese era
The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed in Calicut, in present
day Kerala in 1498. This discovery and the establishment of a new
sea route to India around the Cape of Good Hope gave an impetus to
to the Portuguese who wanted very much to exploit it to their
advantage and profit from it. They soon realized that they had to
have a permanent trading post established to effectively do so.
Repeated attempts to do just that along the malabar coast (
controlled by the Zamorin of Calicut) of India proved difficult and
finally they decided to try their luck northwards along the coast.
In 1510 under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque they laid siege
upon Goa, then under Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur. On February 17th
he entered the city of Goa for the first time and met little
resistance as the Sultan was engaged with his forces elsewhere.
Sultan Adil Shah soon came after him with a vengeance and and on May
23rd 1510 Alfonso de Albuquerque had to flee the city of Goa.
Determined to win it for good, Alfonso de Albuquerque made another
attempt a few months later with the help of a Hindu Chieftain called
Timoja . This time his timing could not have been more than perfect.
Sultan Adil Shah had just died and the heir to the throne was the
infant Ismail Adil Shah. Ela or the city of Goa was under Rasul
Khan, one of his generals. After an initial attack on the Arsenal
and a quick and bloody battle, Alfonso de Albuquerque victoriously
entered the city of Ela, Goa on St. Catherine's Day, November 25th
As revenge for his earlier defeat, he massacred and decimated all of
the city's Muslim population over the next three days. He however
spared the Hindu population and appointed Timoja as his Thanedar. By
1543, the Portuguese were able to extend their control over Salcette,
Mormugao and Bardez, thus ending their first phase of expansion into
Goa. The territories of Ilhas, Salcette, Mormugao and Bardez formed
part of the Portugal's "Velhas Conquestas" or Old Conquests, and
formed only one fifth of the total area of modern Goa. By this time,
Goa became the jewel of Portugal's eastern empire.
By the end of the 16th century, Goa had already reached its peak and
was referred to as "Golden Goa" or "Lisbon of the East". With the
Portuguese, came their religion. Albuquerque's interests initially
was only commerce as a result, the Portuguese were quite tolerant of
the Hindus though the same was not with the Muslims. From 1540
onwards, with the arrival of the dreaded "Inquisition" in Goa,
Portugal's liberal policy towards the Hindus was reversed. 1542 saw
the arrival of St. Francis Xavier and the Jesuits to Goa. The saint
left a lasting impression on Goa and is regarded today as Goencho
Saib or the Patron Saint of Goa. For more on the Saint click on
The decline of Golden Goa
By the mid 17th century, Goa's decline as a commercial port began to
mirror the decline of Portuguese power in the East as a result of
several military losses to the Dutch and the British. The Dutch had
taken control over the spice trade - the original reason for
Portugal's eastern expansion. Brazil had now supplanted Goa as the
economic center of Portugal's overseas empire.
The war with the Marathas and the New Conquests
The first attack was by Sambhaji, son of Shivaji' defeat was
narrowly averted by the appearance of their rivals, the Mughals on
the scene. The second attack in 1737 was led by King Shahu, grandson
of Shivaji and this ended in a truce. The treaty of may 1739 gave
control of Portugal's northern Indian provinces including Bassein to
the Marathas in return for the withdrawal of Maratha forces from
Goa. In 1741, the Marathas invaded Bardez and Salcete and threatened
the city of Goa itself. Fortunately for the Portuguese, a new
viceroy, the Marquis of Lourical arrived with substantial
reinforcements and defeated the Marathas in Bardez. During this
period, the Portuguese slowly expanded their territories which
enabled them to extend their control over Bicholim and Satari (in
1780-1781), then Pernem later that decade and finally Ponda, Sanguem,
Quepem and Canacona in 1791. These acquisitions known as the" Novas
Conquestas " were quickly integrated with the Velhas Conquestas
consisting of Salcette, Bardez and Tiswadi. This second and final
phase of Portuguese expansion was rather different from their
initial conquests. By the time these territories were added, their
attitude had changed and their zeal for religious conversions had
died down. In a strange quirk of fate they banned the order of
Jesuits in 1759, because they believed them to be puppets of the
pope in Rome. By 1835, all religious orders were banned, and the
Hindu majority were granted the freedom to practice their religion.
As a result, the "New Conquests" retained their Hindu identity, a
characteristic feature that persists even today, and this is also
why there is a religious/cultural/language or dialect difference
existing in Goa between the Talukas of Tiswadi, Bardez, Salcette and
Mormugao on one side and Pernem, Bicholim, Sattari, Ponda, Sangem,
Quepem and Canacona on other.
Sanskrit was used as the official in Goa and throughout Konkan for
many centuries. Konkani evolved much later. Until recently, it was
believed that there was hardly any evidence of Konkani literature
before the arrival of the Christian missionaries. This has since
been disputed. Fr. Thomas Stephens an Englishman and one of the
early missionary Jesuit scholars is credited with writing the first
book in Konkani. His magnum opus being the "Krista Purana " or "The
story of Christ", written in the style of Hindu Folklore. He
subsequently also produced his other classic "Doutrina Cristao", a
compendium of Christian doctrines in Konkani. The late Dr.
Pissurlencar and others, believe that the Konkani works he had
discovered at Braga, were translations from Marathi for the use of
the Christian missionaries only. The missionaries studied both
Marathi and Konkani texts and therefore did not probably need the
Konkani translations of the same books. Hence his and some other's
conclusion was that they were meant for the use of the common people
who could not read them in the original. There is also evidence that
the clergy promoted Portuguese, made a strong attempt in the
seventeenth century to destroy konkani as they thought that it would
help convert more to Christianity. In spite of all this until 1961
only 5% spoke Portuguese, mostly in administration and in the
commercial sector. It was only after liberation and statehood did
the dream of Konkani as the state language saw realization.
Christianity in Portuguese Goa
The Portuguese introduced Christianity to Goa. One of Vasco da
Gama's goals in finding the sea route to India was to find new
Christians. Upon landing at Calicut in 1498 he was surprised to find
a thriving Christian community established by one of the Last
Apostles of Jesus, St. Thomas. This however did not stop the
Portuguese from promoting their own brand of European Christianity-
The first missionaries sent to India after the discovery of the sea
route were some Dominican Friars who came as chaplains of the Fleet
on Albuquerque's ships. Soon a church dedicated to St. Catherine was
set up after the conquest. The significance being the victorious
conquest of Goa on St. Catherine's day, November 25th 1510.
The next group that was more successful in propagating Christianity
was the Franciscans, who arrived in Goa in 1517. For the next
quarter century they were active in conversions not only in Goa but
also the bordering areas of India. Upon hearing of this success,
Pope Paul II subsequently raised the status of Goa to an Episcopal.
He appointed the First Bishop to take charge who unfortunately never
made it to India as he died soon after appointment. The Pope then
appointed the Episcopal authority to Dom Fr. Joao da Albuquerque,
who took charge of the diocese in 1538.
The most successful group to arrive soon after were the Jesuits of
the newly formed Society of Jesus. With the arrival of St. Francis
Xavier S.J., one of its founders, the activity of the Jesuits went
into overdrive. Goa became the base for Fr. Francis Xavier's voyages
to the east. His preaching of the gospel took him to Macao, Japan,
Philippines and at the doors of China. His untimely death on the
desolate island of Sancian in the South China Sea put an end to his
career but not his legend. The saga of the incorruptibility of his
body eventually led to his canonization and sainthood in 1622 and
his relics preserved for posterity at the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old
The other Missionary and religious orders that settled in Goa
include the Dominicans in 1572, The Theatines in 1640, Order of St.
John in 1681 and the Carmelites in the 1700's. The only nunnery in
Goa was the Monastery of St. Monica, established in 1606.
The era of religious repression
Alfonso de Albuquerque had not interfered with Hindu religious
practices apart from forbidding the practice of Sati. He also did
not destroy any temples during his reign. From 1540 onwards , under
the influence of the counter reformation in Europe and with the
arrival of the Inquisition to Goa, this liberal policy was reversed.
A strict censorship of literature was soon imposed. New laws forbade
the public profession of any other religion except the Catholic
religion. Even the Syrian Christians who had been in India before
the Portuguese were treated as heretics along with the Jews and
Protestants. Hindus also came to be affected and they were accused
of being disrespectful to Christianity. An edict by the Viceroy in
1576 required the destruction of all Hindu temples in Portuguese
controlled Goa along with banning of ritual ablutions and the
expulsions of non Christian priests, holy men and preachers. Hindus
were forbidden to visit Temples in adjoining areas not controlled by
the Portuguese and were compelled in some cases to attend Churches
and listen to the Gospel. Social intercourse between Christians and
non Christians was discouraged. Christian converts were favored in
the appointments of Goans to public office and some positions were
even reserved for these new converts.
The law on paper still laid down that the "Conversion to
Christianity of people from other religions had to be by persuasion
and not by force". This however was not practiced in reality. An
exception to this law was made in 1559 when a decree ordered Hindu
orphan children to be handed over to the College of Sao Paolo so
that they could be baptized and educated as Christians by the
The converts usually took on the name of the priest or the College
who or where they were baptized. After conversion, they were
expected to make a clean break from their Hindu past. Not only were
their names changed but also their food habits, social customs and
even dress had to conform to the way of living of the European
Christians. Several old Hindu practices were enhanced in their
christianized versions. The place of honor given to the family deity
was now given to the Oratorio. The flame burned before a crucifix
and various Christian saints . The Tulsi plant in front of the house
gave way to the Cross in front of Christian homes and Christian
prayers now accompanied pre marriage ceremonies. In the village ,
the Novem ( harvest procession) was headed by a Christian priest
instead of a Hindu one and he also performed the traditional
blessing of the first sheaves of Paddy.
The Portuguese also implemented the compulsory learning of the
Portuguese Language under the Viceroy, Count of Alvor ( 1681-1686).
He compelled Goans to give up Konkani and this caused a significant
number of people to flee Goa to neighboring India. The result of all
these actions was that in 1707, there were 100,000 Christians to
3000 Hindus in Salcette and a similar ratio in other areas of the
This repressive policy of the Portuguese continued until the mid
1700's and underwent a complete U turn due to one individual-The
Marquis of Pombal.
Pombal and the Jesuit expulsion
Sebastian Jose de Carvalho, later to be the Marquis of Pombal was
the Prime Minister to the King of Portugal, Dom Joseph I. He was
appointed in 1750 and was propelled to power by the Lisbon
earthquake of 1755. He successfully masterminded the rebuilding of
Lisbon and this made him very powerful and influential in the eyes
of the King and the court. The assassination attempt on the King on
September 8th 1758 gave him an opportunity to purge his enemies and
did so with a vengeance. These included the ex-Duke Alvario, the
Marcioness of Tavora and her husband and two sons and the Jesuit
fathers. All the conspirators were executed. In 1761, Pombal issued
an edict confiscating all Jesuit property to the crown and arrested
and imprisoned all the Jesuits. A total of 53 Jesuit priests were
executed as co-conspirators in the assassination plot. The Jesuit
leader, Fr. Malagrida was hanged and others burned at the stake. All
of the remaining Jesuits were expelled from Portugal.
The fallout of the Jesuit expulsion had its immediate ramifications
on all aspects of life in Goa. The most important effect was felt on
education. Replacing Jesuit teachers and professors was an arduous
task. The greatest impact was however felt on the commercial front.
The Jesuits had invested vast amount of their resources in every
sphere of commercial activity in Portuguese Asia and were involved
in shipping, building, trade and finance. They were the custodians
of the crown funds, managers of Goa's Royal Hospital and responsible
for the upkeep of the fortifications and minting of coins at some
places. They also owned large tracts of land all over.
The most important other decision of Pombal that had far reaching
effects and was welcomed by all was the suppression of the
Inquisition in 1774. For more on the Goa Inquisition, please check
out the Goa Inquisition page.
It appears that Goa was Pombal's greatest beneficiary. Though the
expulsion of the Jesuits was controversial, the suppression of the
Inquisition was welcomed by all. There was however more. For more
than half a century before his coming to power, local Goan priests
were used by the clergy to do the low rung work. They were never
promoted or appointed to higher positions. The Cathedral chapter,
the Vicarships and the professorships in Goa were all filled by
Europeans only. Pombal's historic decrees of 1761 and 1763 among
others, called for opening up the the Clergy and various religious
orders for all subjects irrespective of their being white or native
in origin. As a result of this, the first Goan was appointed to the
Cathedral chapter in 1762. Soon the Vicarships went to eligible
locals. The Religious orders who had earlier refused to admit
natives in their ranks a few years ago began accepting Goans. The
local Theatines were the first to do so and soon all other religious
orders followed suit.
The period from 1820s to 1920s are regarded as one of the best times
for Goans with regards to religious and political freedom. Portugal
was a monarchy until 1910 and was replaced by democracy and was
declared a republic. Goans were given representation in the
Portuguese parliament. All citizens, be they Hindus, Christians etc
were guaranteed individual freedom and liberty under the civil code.
All this changed in 1928 with the dictatorship under Dr. Antonio
Salazar. His 'Acta Colonial" denied everything promised previously
and Goans were back to square one.
Prelude to liberation-The early years
From the very beginning, since the conquest by Albuquerque in 1510,
there were many unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the Portuguese.
The earliest revolt took place in 1550 when the people of Assolna,
Velim, Cuncolim, Ambelim and Veroda launched an attack on the
colonialists but they failed in their attempt. Their properties were
confiscated. Their leaders were arrested and executed.
Then came the well known and well organized plot, called the "Pinto
Revolt" in 1787. The leaders of the plot were some prominent priests
of Goa belonging to the "Pinto Family" who had the support of some
military officers of Goan origin. A large number of arrests were
made and criminal proceedings launched against its leaders. 47
members of the group were arrested and prosecuted as plotters
including 17 priests.
On 14th January 1835, a Goan, Bernardo Peres de Silva, was appointed
Perfect with the powers of Governor of Goa by the government of
Queen Maria II of Portugal. He was born not far away from Old Goa
and received his education at the Rachol seminary, the Goa Medical
School and then Portugal. There he became politically active as a
liberal and this eventually led to his appointment to Goa as the
"Perfect or Governor", the first and the last native Goan to be so
appointed. His appointment was not liked by his counter factions at
Lisbon and he was compelled to relinquish his post soon after his
arrival at Goa. After being in office for only 17 days, he was
arrested by the military on February 1st 1835. A new Governor, the
previous Viceroy Manuel de Portugal e Castro was appointed in his
place. Bernardo Peres de Silva was deported to Bombay and the army
took control of Goa during the interim period. In the
counter-revolution that followed, a faction of the army loyal to him
took control of Terekhol fort and invited him back .This eventually
resulted in a showdown at Terekhol fort where his supporters lost in
spite of British support. His supporters and troops loyal to him
were massacred and he subsequently took refuge in India and never
returned back to Goa.
BernardPeres.jpg (85680 bytes)
Bernardo Peres de Silva
The Ranes of Goa based in Sattari and Sanquelim have been well known
for their attempts to dislodge the Portuguese from Goa. In all there
were reportedly about fourteen rebellions out of which the most
successful one was organized by Dipaji Rane in 1852. He carried on
the fight against the Portuguese for three and half years and
eventually the Portuguese government made peace with him. The
Portuguese agreed to extend protection to village institutions,
abandon repressive religious measures and grant general amnesty.
Dipaji Rane was awarded a sword of honor and the honorary title of
Captain. There was another unsuccessful revolt in 1895 by Dada Rane.
The final revolt of the Ranes took place in 1912. There were two
distinct groups fighting the cause, one led by Mourya Sawant from
the north and the other by Jhil Sawant from the south. They were
joined by Quistulo, who was a Christian toddy- tapper. The
Portuguese government ordered their contingent of Negro troops all
the way from Mozambique to assist them in quelling the revolt. They
ultimately succeeded and the three leaders were taken. Quistulo was
shot dead at Assonora in the house of his mistress who was bribed by
the Portuguese to give away his whereabouts. Mourya Sawant was
beheaded whilst asleep; and Jhil Sawant was caught, imprisoned and
finally deported to the island of Principe in Portuguese West
Africa, where he died in exile.
Alongside these rebellions was the attempt by some members of Goa's
indigenous elite to participate in the colonial and national
governments of Portugal. A western educated elite emerged in Goa who
tried to reform their relationship with the Portuguese. As early as
1822 Goans were permitted to elect, on a franchise determined by
property and religious affiliation, two representatives to the
Portuguese parliament. In 1910 official discrimination against
Hindus was repealed which in turn led to an outburst of
intellectual, cultural and political life in Goa.
Unfortunately, in 1926 all of this activity ended in Goa, as well as
in Portugal. This happened because in 1926 Portugal was taken over
by right-wing Prime minister Dr. Antonio de Salazar who subsequently
became a dictator. In 1933 Salazar's " Acta Colonial" rescinded the
limited franchise earlier available to Goans. Many of Goa's educated
elite, discouraged by this sudden and unexpected reversal, emigrated
to Bombay. It was primarily in Bombay that nationalist movements
arose to challenge Portuguese colonialism. The most influential Goan
nationalist, Tristao de Braganza Cunha, established a relationship
with the Indian National Congress. It was his expectation, as well
as Nehru's, that once the British had left the subcontinent, Goa
would almost immediately be abandoned by the Portuguese government.
Prelude to Liberation - The Indian influence
The suppression of liberties in Goa under the Salazar dictatorship
brought the socialist leader Dr. Rammanohar Lohia from India to Goa.
At a public meeting in Margao on 18th June 1946, he launched a
movement for civil liberties which set in motion a mass movement for
freedom from the Portuguese rule. The satyagraha movement in Goa
subsequently continued up to November 1946 during which period a
number of leaders were arrested for defying the ban on civil
liberties. However by the end of 1946, the satyagraha movement had
died down. The Portuguese government then began adopting repressive
measures to root out the movement from Goa.
In 1949 Nehru's government sent a mission to Lisbon to negotiate
with the Portuguese government about the withdrawal from Goa. To
Nehru's surprise, the Portuguese government refused to even discuss
the matter, let alone the issue. By 1953, the Indian mission was
closed and diplomatic relations between the governments were
conducted through intermediaries.
The Portuguese dictator Salazar defended his position in a speech
presented to the Portuguese National Assembly on November, 30 1954.
He said," The extension of Indian sovereignty to include Goa is not
a prospect opened up by, or an anticipation of, the evolution of
history; it is a political goal which India's present leaders
suppose it their duty to achieve in order to fulfill their
mission...It is always historical facts, and not geographical
outline, that fix frontiers, institute rights and impose
sovereignties....For the Indian Union to claim to turn the clock of
history back to the 15Ith century, to come forward now and make out
that she already existed potentially at that time, or to set herself
up as the rightful heir of those whom we found holding sway there,
is a fancy of static dreamers; it is not for the dynamic shapers of
history that the men who received an empire from England want to
India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on July 26, 1955 in an
address to the Indian Parliament, the Lok Sabha, said " Although it
does not require that anything should be said in justification of
our claim to Goa, I shall, nevertheless, venture to mention a few
facts...There is of course the geographical argument. The Portuguese
Government claims that Goa is a part of Portugal. That remark is so
illogical and absurd that it is rather difficult to deal with....It
has no relation to facts...I am not going into the old history of
the Portuguese possession of Goa; but I think many members will
remember that this history is a very dark chapter of India's
A few weeks later, on September 17 1955 , Nehru said "In Goa, we
have a remarkable picture of the sixteenth century facing the
twentieth century, of a decadent colonialism facing a resurgent
Asia, of a free independent India being affronted and insulted by
the Portuguese authorities, of, in fact, Portugal functioning in a
way which, to any thinking person, is so amazing in its incongruity
in the modern world that he is a little taken aback".
The National Congress (Goa) which was already functioning in Goa
began its operations in Bombay; the other parties formed were the
Azad Gomantak Dal, the United Front of Goans, the Goa Liberation
Council, the Goan People's Party, the Quit Goa Organization, etc.
The National Congress as well as the Liberation Council believed in
non-violence while the Azad Gomantak Dal committed itself to fight
the regime by whatever means, including the use of arms . It began
attacking the Portuguese troops guarding the frontiers, blowing up
ammunition dumps and police stations. The Portuguese Government in
the meantime began arming, with troop concentrations in Goa and
appeared to be ready to declare war on India. The Portuguese
Dictator Salazar refused to negotiate with India.
Prelude to Liberation - Nehru's unheeded warning
The Government of India maintained a low profile until 1961. In
October 1961, a seminar was held in New Delhi on "Portuguese
Colonialism". It was well attended by representatives from around
the world and also from the existing Portuguese colonies around the
world. This has been reported to have brought a change in Jawaharlal
Nehru's thinking about the issue which until then was "through
peaceful negotiation". Following the conclusion of the seminar he is
reported to have publicly made a statement at Bombay, he said " We
have to think afresh now because of the happenings in Goa,
particularly in the last few months, cases of torture have come to
our notice and the terror that is spread there by the Portuguese.
When I say afresh, I mean that we have been forced in to thinking
afresh by the Portuguese to adopt other means to solve this problem.
When and how we do it cannot be forecast now. But I have no doubt
that Goa will soon be free". This warning was ignored by the
Portuguese and Salazar and the subsequent events changed Goan
Liberation - Finally after 450 years
On December 17, 1961 India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru ordered
the military invasion and liberation of Goa. A Portuguese army of
3,000 ill-equipped troops was outnumbered by 30,000 Indian troops,
supported by the Indian air force and navy. The Portuguese Governor
general Vassalo da Silva surrendered.
VassaloSilva.jpg (53728 bytes)
Last Portuguese Governor general Vassalo da Silva
Within three days Goa was integrated into India in a near bloodless
operation-"Operation Vijay " on December 19th 1961. The other
Portuguese territories of Daman and Diu were also taken over at
around the same time and thus was formed the "Union territory of
Goa, Daman and Diu".
December 19th is celebrated as Goa Liberation Day.
Historic Opinion Poll- Goans vote to maintain identity
The first assembly elections were held in Goa in 1963. Dayanand
Bandodkar was elected Goa's first Chief minister. There were however
other important issues to be sorted out. The most important one
being the issue of retaining Goa's unique identity. This was
resolved post-liberation through the historic opinion poll, the
first of its kind in India.
The issue was was taken up by the two largest parties of that time,
the Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the United Goans Party (UGP)
with opposing views on the subject.
The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which had won the first Assembly
elections was led by late Dayanand Bandodkar, Goa's first Chief
Minister. Its members believed in the merger of Goa with neighboring
Maharastra as they believed in the similarities of culture but at
the same time underscored Konkani as being an under-developed
dialect of Marathi and felt that with the merger, Marathi should
take over as Goa's language as it was already the language used by a
majority( the popular class or the Bahujan Samaj) to communicate as
it had a written script.
The United Goans party had the exact opposite view, they believed in
retaining and preserving Goa's unique identity. They were led by Dr.
Jack Sequeira. They firmly believed that Konkani was an independent
language and not a dialect of Marathi. They further argued correctly
that it remained underdeveloped as it was suppressed by the
Portuguese rulers for over 450 years. The party, which belonged to
the Christians ( who opposed Marathi) as well as upper caste Hindus
insisted on maintaining its unique historical identity of its own
with statehood as its long term goal, without being a part of
neighboring Maharastra. The issue gathered momentum and the congress
leadership in New Delhi finally took notice.
The late Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister of India,
decided to resolve the issue democratically by holding an Opinion
Poll. There were two options –
1. To retain Goa's current as a Union Territory of India
2. To merge Goa into the neighboring state of Maharastra and the
other erstwhile Portuguese colonies of Daman and Diu into the
neighboring state of Gujarat.
It was ratified in India's parliament, the Lok Sabha (the lower
house) on the 1st of December 1966, and the Rajya Sabha (the upper
house ) on the 7th of December 1966. It was signed into effect by
the President of India on 16 December 1966. It was then decided to
hold the Opinion Poll on 16 January 1967.
The symbols of the two parties the people had to choose were a
Flower – for the merger and Two Leaves – for retaining Goa's unique
On 16 January 1967 – the unanimous opinion of the people was to
retain Goa's unique identity and voted against merger with
Maharastra. The United Goans party with its symbol of " Two Leaves"
won the elections by 34,021 votes.
Post Liberation Democracy in action
The Opinion poll resolved the issue of Goa's identity within the
context of the Indian union. Dayanand Bandodkar and the MG party
however had the last laugh. He and the MG party had swept the polls
in 1964 and again swept the polls in 1967 and in 1972 . He remained
in power until his death in 1973. His daughter, Smt. Shashikala
Kakodkar was subsequently voted into power and she became the Chief
Minister ( India's first woman to do so ) and was in power until
After a brief 8 months of President's rule, elections were held in
January 1980. For the first time, the MG party was voted out of
power and the mainstream Congress party came to power with the
election of Pratap Singh Rane of the congress party as Chief
Minister. This was the first time the Congress party had made an
entry into Goa's political scene. A scion of the Rane family of
Sattari, Pratap Singh Rane remained in power winning the election
again in 1985 and 1990.
Goa attained another political milestone with becoming a state on
August 12th 1987. With the declaration of Konkani as Goa's official
language in 1992, what seemed like a thousand year struggle seems to
have finally borne fruit and come to a close. The truth however is
far from real.
By 1990, the the malaise of political instability had affected Goan
politics and continues its grip to this day. There have been eleven
chief ministers since. The current Chief Minister is Mr. Manohar
Parrikar of the BJP party.
The following is a list of the Chief Ministers Of Goa since
FIRST ASSEMBLY (1963 – 66 )
1 Dayanand Bandodkar (Bhau) December '63 to December '66
SECOND ASSEMBLY (1967 – 72 )
1 Dayanand Bandodkar (Bhau) April '67 to March '72
THIRD ASSEMBLY (1972 – 77 )
1 Dayanand Bandodkar (Bhau), died in office. March '72 to August '73
2 Shashikala Kakodkar, daughter of Dayanand Bandodkar. August '73 to
FOURTH ASSEMBLY (1977 – 79 )
1 Shashikala Kakodkar June '77 to April '79
PRESIDENTS RULE April '79 to December '79
FIFTH ASSEMBLY (1980 – 84 )
1 Pratap Singh Rane January '80 to December '85
SIXTH ASSEMBLY (1985 – 89 )
1 Pratap Singh Rane January '85 to December '90
SEVENTH ASSEMBLY (1990 –94 )
1 Pratap Singh Rane January '90 to March '90
2 Churchill Alemao 27 March '90 to 14 April '90
3 Dr Luis Proto Barbosa April '90 to December '90
4 Ravi Naik January '91 to May '93
5 Dr Wilfred de Souza May '93 to April '94
6 Ravi Naik 2 April '94 to 8 April '94
7 Dr Wilfred de Souza April '94 to December '94
EIGHTH ASSEMBLY (1994 –99 )
1 Pratap Singh Rane December '94 to July '98
2 Dr Wilfred de Souza July '98 to November '98
3 Luizinho Faleiro November '98 to February '99
PRESIDENTS RULE February '99 to June '99
NINTH ASSEMBLY ( From 1999 )
1 Luizinho Faleiro June '99 to November '99
2 Francisco Sardinha November '99 to October '00
3 Manohar Parrikar October '00 to date
Despite the years of Indian rule, Goa today still maintains its
distinctively Portuguese flavor and easygoing ways or "susegad"
attitude. This however has by no means prevented Goans from
succeeding, and today Goans can be found in the top echelons of
science, business and medicine throughout the world.
Timeline of important events in Goa's History
200 BC Goa part of the Mauryan empire of Emperor Ashoka the Great.
400 AD The Kadambas establish their rule over Goa.
1367 Conquest of the kingdom of Kadamba by the Vijaynagar empire.
1380-1454 Goa under the Hindu Vijaynagar empire.
1469 Capture of Goa by the Muslim Bahmani king, Muhammad Shah II.
1454-1471 Goa ruled by the Bankapur chiefs.
1488 Goa captured by Sultan Yusuf Adil Shah of Bijapur.
1471-1489 Goa ruled by Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur.
1498 Vasco da Gama discovers sea route to India, lands at Calicut.
1489-1510 Goa continues to be ruled by Yusuf Adil Shah of Bijapur.
1510 November 25th, Alfonso de Albuquerque captures Goa.
1515 Portuguese successfully defend Goa against Ismail Adil Shah.
1524 Dom Vasco da Gama becomes Viceroy of Goa, dies at Calicut the
1534 The Portuguese occupy Diu.
1540 The Society of Jesus is formed.
1542 Arrival of St. Francis Xavier to Goa.
1543-1783 Portuguese acquire Bardez and Salcette from Adil Shah.
1552 Death of St. Francis Xavier at the island of Sancian off the
coast of China.
1554 The "incorrupt" body of St. Francis Xavier arrives at Goa, its
1556 The printing press begins functioning at Goa.
1557 The Archdiocese of Goa is established.
1560 Goa's first Archbishop Dom Caspar Leao Pereira takes office.
1560 The dreaded Inquisition arrives to Goa.
1561 The Portuguese invade Daman.
1570 Siege of Goa by Adil Shah.
1622 Pope Gregory XV canonizes St. Francis Xavier.
1623 Pope Gregory XV permits Hindu Brahmin converts to retain caste.
1639 The Dutch attack Goa.
1642 Treaty between England and Portugal established.
1683 Attack on Goa by Marathas under Sambhaji, son of Shivaji.
1695 The Portuguese Viceroy moves out of the city of Velha Goa.
1739 The Marathas attack Goa.
1741 The Marathas and the Bhonsles defeated by Portuguese forces.
1749 Expulsion of the Jesuits by the Portuguese.
1759 The Portuguese Viceroy takes up residence in Panjim. The
Portuguese make peace with the Marathas. The Jesuits evicted from
1763 Acquisition of New Conquests by the Portuguese begins.
1794 The Portuguese acquire Canacona.
1778 The Portuguese acquire Pernem.
1783 Portuguese annex Pernem.
1787 The failed "Pinto" revolt.
1788-1799 The Portuguese rule is extended over present day Goa.
1797 Occupation of Goa by the British Army.
1812 The dreaded Inquisition is finally abolished in Goa.
1813 Withdrawal of the British Army.
1821 Goa represented in the Portuguese parliament.
1835 Failed revolt by Bernardo Peres de Silva, 1st ethnic Governor
1842 Escola Medico Cirugao de Goa established at Panjim.
1843 Panjim named "Nova Goa" and declared capital of Goa.
1881 Commencement of railway building in Goa.
1900 Goa's first Portuguese daily-"O 'Heraldo" begins operation.
1905 Development of iron and manganese ore mines in Goa.
1910 The Portuguese monarchy ends.
1926 Dictator, Dr. Antonio Salazar takes over power in Portugal.
1946 Satyagraha by Ram Manohar Lohia at Margao.
1947 August 15, India wins freedom from the British.
1950 January 26, India becomes a Republic.
1954 Liberation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
1961 Operation Vijay - 9th -19th December- Goa's liberation by
Indian Armed Forces.
19th December is celebrated as Goa Liberation Day.
Major General Candeth appointed Military Governor of Goa.
1962 Goa incorporated into the Indian Union. Union territory of Goa,
Daman and Diu formed.
1964 First elections to the House of Assembly in Goa. Dayanand
Bandodkar becomes Goa's first Chief Minister.
1967 Historic opinion poll. Opinion poll unanimous to keep Goa and
Goan identity separate.
1962-1987 Goa is a Union territory together with Daman and Diu.
1987 August 12th, Goa gained statehood becoming India's 25th state.
May 30 is celebrated as Goa statehood day.
1992 Konkani is added to the schedule of the Indian Constitution.