History of GOA

Goa

There is no place on this earth that doesn’t have even a bit of history behind its origin. As Goa is famous for her beautiful beaches, pious pilgrims and unique culture, she is also well known for a remarkable history that gave her a unique identity among the rest of the world.

History says, Goa has been referred as Gomantak (mentioned in the Bhishma Parva of Mahabharata as Gomanta which means "the region of cows" in the later vedic period (C.1000 - 500 BC). One of the famous legend associated with Goa is that of the mythical sage Parashuram (who was the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), who several thousand years ago created the entire stretch of Konkan coast by ordering the seas to recede. The sea-god is believed to have acceded him to wish and crated a region Shurparaka. This region is also known as Parashurama Kshetra. Today a temple of Parashuram stands in Painguinim village of Canacona Taluka in South Goa as a proof of the state's mythical history. Another legend says that Lord Krishna defeated Jarasandha the king of Magadha on Gomanchal mountain in Goa.

The first settlers of Goa were the Brahmins who were called Saraswats. The name "Saraswats" came as they were originally residents of the land lying on banks of the river "Saraswati" (an ancient river that existed in Vedic times). These Brahmins belonged to smarta tradition and primarily worshiped Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. The Saraswat Brahmins are mentioned in the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata and even the Bhavisyottara Purana. The Saraswats had migrated from Goa during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, but the exodus became thicker after the entry of the Portuguese from the 16th century.

Many dynasties conquered and ruled the Goa region which includes Mauryans, Shatavahanas, Abhiras, Batpuras, Bhojas, Shilaharas, Chalukyas, Rastrakutas, Yadavas of Devagiri and Kadambas. Among them, Kadambas had made Chandrapura (Sindabur) as their capital. During the 14-15 centuries, this region was conquered by Vijayanagara Empire and Muslim Bahamani Kingdom respectively.

In 1510 A.D., Panaji was captured by the Portuguese general Alfonso Albuquerque from the Adil Shah Dynasty (formed by Yusuf Adil Shah) of Bijapur, and the Portuguese rule was established. At first, the Portuguese did not interfere with the locals, although they banned the Sati Rite (burning of widows). They employed Hindus and engaged them in their armies, and they maintained good trade relations with the Hindu empire of Hampi.The Hindu temples were destroyed and forced conversions to Christianity took place. The official figures show that 280 temples in Berdez and 300 temples in Salcette were destroyed. The Portuguese built churches in many places where the temples stood. The conquest of Goa region by the Portuguese was the important milestone in the history of Goa which would gave unique identity to her in the future.

In 1559 A.D., King Joao III of Portugal issued a decree threatening expulsion or execution of non-believers in Christianity. They were forced to eat beef. This was perhaps the worst of times seen by the Konkani people. The saraswats who were poor and belonged to lower strata got converted to christianity and the rich had the power to resist conversion and stayed back in Goa.

During the 17th century, the importance of Goa as commercial port began to decline and Brazil succeeded her as the economic centre of Portugal’s overseas empire. In 1603 and 1640, she survived from two naval assaults by the Dutch. But in 1683, Marathas over-ran almost the entire Goa Region and during the 18th century Portuguese expanded their territories by conquering Ponda, Sanguem, Quepem, Canacona, Pernem, Bicholim and Satari.

After the independence of India from the British rule in 1947, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru began the negotiation with Portuguese authority on the issue of Goan independence. The Portuguese colony existed for about 450 years (one of the longest held colonial possessions in the world), until it was taken over by India in 1961. Goa was liberated by the Indian Army from Portuguese colonisation on December 1961 and became a Union Territory along with the enclaves of Daman and Diu. On May 30, 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and became the 25th state of the Indian Republic.

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