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The Portuguese in India

Vasco da Gama discovered a new route to India and landed at Kappad near Kozhikode on 17th of May, 1498. This is considered the beginning of a new phase in maritime history, during which the control of the Ocean passed into the hands of the Europeans. He paved the way for the merchants of Portugal to India.

The foundation of Portuguese power in India was laid by Alfonso de Albuquerque, who came to India in AD 1503, advocated and embarked upon a policy of dominating the entire oriental commerce by setting up forts at entire oriental commerce by setting up forts at various strategic places in Asia and Africa. The Portuguese established a strong navy in the Indian Ocean and extended their operations towards the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. The new policy was given a start, by the capturing of Goa from Bijapur in 1510 by Albuquerque. The Portuguese established their base in Goa.

Albuquerque died in AD 1515, leaving Portuguese as the strongest naval power in the west cost of India. Their successors established a number of important settlements such as Daman, Diu, Salsette, Bassein, Chaul,and Bombay, Goa, San Thome near Madras, Hugli in Bengal and a major part of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). But in due course of time, they lost their authority over most of the places to the English except Goa, Daman and Diu, which they held until 1961.

Updated on 15th November, 2005

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