The Portuguese State of India was a Portuguese colonial state on the Indian Subcontinent. Vasco De Gama was the first Portuguese to set foot in India in 1498. However, Portuguese control in India is considered to have lasted from 1505 until 1961. Although Portuguese colonialism outlasted its English counterpart, it had little influence outside of its territories. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in India and the last to go.
Portugal’s Early Years in India
When Vasco da Gama arrived in Calicut on the Malabar Coast on May 20, 1498, Portuguese colonialism began in earnest. He met with the ruler of Calicut, the Zamorin, and received permission to trade in Calicut. But Vasco da Gama was unable to pay the customs duties and the cost of his merchandise. The Zamorin’s officials detained some of Vasco da Gama’s soldiers when the duties were not paid. This enraged him so much that he kidnapped some Indians and fisherman. However, the voyage was a success in the eyes of the Portuguese authorities in Lisbon. A sea path around the Ottoman Empire was discovered, and the expedition made a profit well in excess of its initial cost.
Expansion of Portuguese Colonialism
Vasco da Gama established a base of operations on the Malabar coast after further conflict with the Zamorin Kingdom. Francisco de Almeida, the first viceroy, placed his headquarters in what is now Cochin. Alfonso de Albuquerque, the second governer of the Portuguese territories in the East, was appointed in 1509. Off the coast of Calicut, a Portuguese fleet led by Marshal Fernão Coutinho arrives. Their orders were quite clear: destroy the Zamorin. The city was levelled and the palace of the Zamorins was taken, but the local soldiers rallied and attacked the invading Portuguese, forcing them to retreat and wounded Albuquerque. In 1510, Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the Sultanate of Bijapur, establishing Goa as a permanent settlement. It would later become the viceroy’s seat and the headquarters of the Portuguese colonial conquests in India. Modern-day Mumbai was likewise a colonial possession until 1661, when it was handed over to the British. From 1799 until 1813, the British conquered Goa for a brief while, eradicating the final vestiges of the inquisition. The capital was moved to Panjim, which was later renamed Nova Goa, in 1843, when it became the administrative center of Portuguese India. For the next century, Portuguese control would be limited to Goa and the enclaves of Diu and Daman.
Cause of Decline of Portugal in India
While the British granted independence to most of India, the Portuguese retained colonial colonies in India. Local anti-Portuguese demonstrations in Goa were violently suppressed. Despite repeated pleas from the Indian government, the Portuguese government, led by dictator António de Oliveira Salaza, refused to hand over its colonial holdings, saying that they were an intrinsic part of Portuguese territory. The invasion of Goa by the Indian troops took place in December 1961. The Portuguese attempted to resist against overwhelming odds, but were quickly crushed by the Indian Army. On December 19, 1961, the Governor of Portuguese India signed the Instrument of Surrender, freeing Goa after 450 years of Portuguese domination in India.