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Goa

GOA

GOA. Goa was the administrative and religious capital of the Portuguese Asian empire. Located on the west coast of India, Goa had been an important center of Indian Ocean trade under the sultan of Bijapur well before the arrival of the Portuguese. After 1510 it became the center of Portuguese activities in Asia and by 1600 its population grew to seventy-five thousand. As in Macau and other cities in Portuguese Asia, the Portuguese always formed a small percentage of the total population. Goa is the name of both the city and the area surrounding it. By the 1630s the region had a population of 250,000. During the sixteenth century and part of the seventeenth century Goa reached its zenith, becoming one of the jewels in the Portuguese crown. Long-distance trade with Lisbon brought New World gold and silver to trade for Asian spices (such as pepper, cloves, and cinnamon) as well as tea and Chinese silks. Trade within the Indian Ocean region was based on exchanging prized Arabian horses in South Asia for Indian cotton and rice.

In Goa's heyday travelers remarked on the many large buildings and the highly evolved urban nature of the city, in which the Portuguese had built a number of large churches and an important convent (Santa Mónica). A slow decline began by 1650, and the city was eventually abandoned because of reoccurring health concerns (malaria and cholera). The urban population moved several miles west to Panaji, the modern capital of the Indian state of Goa.

See also Macau ; Portuguese Colonies: The Indian Ocean and Asia .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Pearson, M. N. The Portuguese in India. Cambridge, U.K., 1987. A succinct summary of Portuguese interactions in India, especially Goa.

Souza, Teotonio R de. Medieval Goa. New Delhi, 1979. Pathbreaking study that discusses Goa in the Indian context, focusing on the local Goan population under Portuguese rule.

Souza, Teotonio R. de, ed. Indo-Portuguese History: Old Issues, New Questions. New Delhi, 1985. A collection of essays outlining the newer issues raised in the field.

Timothy J. Coates

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Goa

Goa (gō´ə), state (2001 provisional pop. 1,343,998), c.1,430 sq mi (3,700 sq km), W India, on the Malabar coast. A former Portuguese colony and Indian union territory, Goa became a state in 1987. The capital is Panaji (Panjim). The chief products are rice, cashew nuts, and coconuts. There is a growing manufacturing sector and tourism (including casino gambling) is also important to the economy. The languages spoken there are Portuguese, English, Marathi, and Konkani, a dialect. About 35% of the region's population is Roman Catholic; the rest are mostly Hindu.

Long a famous port, Goa was known to Arab seafarers. It had been ruled by Kandamba dynasty for more than a millennium when it was conquered by Muslim forces in 1312. Goa became part of the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar in 1370 but was recaptured by Muslims 100 years later. The Portuguese under Afonso de Albuquerque annexed it in 1510 from territory belonging to the sultan of Bijapur. Goa was invaded by Indian troops in 1961 and incorporated into India in 1962.

Old Goa, the original capital, was a prosperous port city in the late 16th cent. A cathedral, churches, and several palaces survive from this period. The most notable structure is the Church of Bom Jesus, with its tomb of St. Francis Xavier, who did missionary work in the region (1542–52). In 1842, Panjim was built to replace Old Goa as capital.

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Goa

Goa State in sw India, on the Arabian Sea; the capital is Panaji. It was ruled by Hindu dynasties until it came under Muslim domination in the 15th century. Captured by the Portuguese in 1510, it became the hub of Portugal's Asian empire. It was annexed by India in 1962 and made a Union territory. In 1987, Goa became a separate state. Products: rice, cashews, spices, pharmaceutical products, footwear, pesticides. Area: 3702sq km (1429sq mi). Pop. (2001) 1,344,000.

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