Portuguese in India

Portuguese in India

In 1498, for the first time with the motive of re-establishing trade relations with India, Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese navigator arrived in Calicut (now known as Kozhikode) on the western coast of India. He was primarily focussed on finding a new trade route from Europe to Asia via Cape of Good Hope. He was well-recieved by the Zamorin of Calicut. He returned to Portugal in 1499 AD. He was followed by Pedro Alvarez Cabral in 1500 and subsequently he also paid a second visit to India in 1502. This led to the establishment of  Portuguese Trading  Centers at Calicut,  Cannanore  and  Cochin. It is important to note that the  maritime  empire  of  Portuguese  was  named  as Estado da India.

The Objective of Portuguese Advent

1. To control the trade between India and Europe.
2. To establish monopoly in spice trade along with trade in wheat, rice, silk and other precious stones.

Portuguese Governors in India

Francisco De Almeida (1505-1509)

1. He was the first governor and viceroy of Portuguese State of India.
2. He erected forts in Anjediva, Cochin, Cannanore, and refused to cede office until after Battle of Diu.
3. He initiated the Blue Water Policy, which aimed at the Portuguese Mastery of the Sea.

Alfonzo-De-Albuquerque (1509-1515)

1. He was the second Governor of Portuguese India .
2. He expanded Portuguese influence over Indian ocean and controlled  Persian  gulf  and  Red  sea
3. He established head quarters on western coast of India and destroyed the Arab Trade in Malay Peninsula.
4. He conquered Goa in 1510 from the Sultan of Bijapur.
5. He encouraged the propagation of Christianity & inter-marriage with the natives.
6. He  died on 16 December 1515 in Goa.

The Impact of Portuguese

1. Spread of Christianity
Portuguese  began  to  spread  Christianity  in  the Malabar  and  the  Konkan  coastal regions. Missionaries  like St. Francis  Xavier, Father  Rudolf  &  Father  Monserette played a significant role in propogation of the Christian faith. They also started schools and colleges along  the  west coast, where education was imparted in the native language.

2. Printing Press
The Portuguese brought the printing  press  to India. The Bible came to be printed in Kannada and Malayalam language.

3. Agriculture
They brought  fruits and vegetables crops like potatoes, lady’s finger, pepper, pineapple, sapota and groundnuts. They also introduced Tobacco cultivation in India.

Causes of Decline of Portuguese in India

1. After Albuquerque, the Portuguese administration  in India became weak and inefficient.
2. The Portuguese officials were neglected by the home government.  Their  salaries  were  low.  Thus  they indulged in corruption and malpractice.
3. They  adopted   forced   inter-marriage   and   conversion  to  the  Christian  faith  which  made  natives hostile.
4. In  1580 Portugal  was  merged  with  Spain  which neglected the Portuguese interest in India.
5. The Portuguese faced a stiff competition from the Dutch East India Company in India.

Important Portuguese Settlements in India

1. Calicut
2. Cochin
3. Cannanore
4. Daman
5. Diu
6. Salsette
7. Chaul
8. Bombay
9. San Thome (Madras)
10. Hooghly
11. Goa
12. Surat
13. Tuticorin
14. Nagapattinam
15. Pulicat
16. Musalipatnam

It is important to note that Cochin was the first capital of Portuguese in India which later shifted to Goa by Nino da Cunha.

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