Home

E mail Us

Site Map

 
 
IndiaAccommodation
IndiaStates of India
IndiaAmazing India
India Holiday Tour Packages
IndiaReservation / Booking
 
ANDAMAN & NICOBAR
ASSAM
ARUNACHAL & PRADESH
ANDHRA & PRADESH
BIHAR
CHHATTISGARH
DELHI
GOA
GUJARAT
HIMACHAL & PRADESH
JAMMU & KASHMIR
JHARKHAND
KARNATAKA
KERALA
MADHYA & PRADESH
MAHARASHTRA
MEGHALAYA
MANIPUR
MIZORAM
ORISSA
PUNJAB & HARYANA
SIKKIM
RAJASTHAN
TRIPURA
TAMIL & NADU
UTTAR & PRADESH
UTTARANCHAL
WEST & BENGAL
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Goa  >>   About Goa  >>  Cruises Tour in Goa >>   Hotels in Goa  >>   Goa History  >>   Heritage and Culture   >>  Goa People
HISTORY

The Name 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

Indian
Aparant, Gomant, Govarashtra, Goparastra, Govapuri, Gopakpuri, Gopakapattana, Gove. The last four being the names of its capital.

Greek
Chersonesus or Nelikinda (Periplus), Nekanidon (Pliny), Melinda or Tricadiba Insula (Ptolemy), Nincilda (Peutingerian tables), Sibo.

Arabic
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 Shah Khan.

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 1510 . 

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.


Golden Goa
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 Goencho Saib.


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.

.
Beach Tours
- Andaman Beaches
- Exotic Beaches
- Honeymoon Tour
- Golden Beaches
- Orissa Beaches
- Mumbai Beaches

               ... more Beaches

North India Tours
- Rajasthan Travel
- Himachal Pradesh Travel
- Punjab Travel
- Delhi Travel
- Uttar Pradesh Travel
- Uttaranchal Travel

                     
         .. more state guide
   
    
Hotels in India

- Rajasthan Hotels
- Delhi Hotels
- Himachal Hotels
- Kerala Hotels
- Goa Hotels
- Mumbai Hotels

         .. more state guide 

Religious Tours
- Amarnath Yatra Tour
- Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
- Buddhist India Tour
- Chardham Yatra Tour
- Golden Temple Tour
- Hemkund Sahib Yatra

        .. more Religious Tours
Wildlife India Tours
- Corbett National Park
- Ranthambore National Park
- Kanha National Park
- Periyar National Park
- Kaziranga National Park
- Bandhavgarh National Park

            ... more wildlife India