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Who were PORTUGUESE ?

Who were PORTUGUESE ?

  • Vasco da Gama in 1498 landed at Calicut aided by a Gujarati pilot Abdul Majid. The Arabs in Calicut were hostile to him, but the local ruler Zamorin welcomed him and allowed him to take pepper and drugs on board which resulted in Vasco da Gama getting 60 times the profit of the entire expedition.
  • The Portuguese established a royal monopoly over certain goods as horses, arms and ammunition and spices to the exclusion of rival nations in Europe and Asia and also private Portuguese traders.
  • The Turks, Arabs and the Gujarati sultans formed a naval alliance and defeated the Portuguese in the naval battle of Chaul in 1508 in which their governor Francisco de Almeida’s son Don Almeida was killed.
  • But, they recovered from the defeat and in turn defeated the triple alliance in the naval battle of Diu in 1509 which established the PortUguese supremacy over the Indian Ocean for the next 100 years.
  • Albuquerque, the next governor, advocated and embarked upon a policy of dominating the entire oriental commerce by setting up forts at various strategic places in Asia and Africa with a strong navy to supplement it.
  • He initiated this policy by capturing Goa from Bijapur in 1510 since Goa was a natural harbour and port, was equidistant from Malabar and Gujarat and from Goa, they could also attack Bijapur forts of Dabhol and Danda-Rajouri, thus paralyzing Bijapur’s sea-trade.
  • The Turks, in alliance with Bahadur Shah, ruler of Gujarat, tried to turn Portuguese out of India. In 1531, they attacked Daman and Diu. The Ottoman commander Rumi Khan repulsed the attack. However, the Portuguese built a fort at Chaul lower down the coast.
  • When Humayun attacked Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah formed a pact with the Portuguese and granted the island of Bassein and were allowed to build a fort at Diu. The Portuguese were thus able to establish their foothold in Gujarat.
  • With the expulsion of Mughals from Gujarat, Bahadur Shah turned against the Portuguese but was killed in 1536,
  • In 1570, Ali Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur alongwith Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar and the Zamorin of Calicut attempted to oust the Portuguese. The Nizam Shah besieged Chaul and Ali Adil Shah personally let the attack against Goa, but the Portuguese proved to be too strong.
  • Even, Akbar who came into contact with them in the course of Gujarat expedition in 1572-73, granted some concessions to the Portuguese.
  • In 1631, Shah Jahan took action against the PorTuguese in Hooghly.
  • In 1663, Aurangzeb took action against the Portuguese in Chittagang.
  • But, the Portuguese because of their limited human resources, because of their inability to adapt to the tropical climate in India, because of local reaction to their proselytizing zeal, because of the possibilities opened up by discovery of gold mines in Brazil and Argentina, started diverting their interest to Latin America. Above all, the entry ot England and Holland, the new protestant powers, which were more dynamic and more liberal, destroyed their power in India.
  • In 1611, British Admiral Middleton defeated their navy near Bombay.
  • In 1612, British Admiral Thomas Best defeated the Portuguese navy at Surat
  • The British monarch acquired Bombay as dowry from them in 1661.
  • The stations of Hooghly (1631) and Chittogong (1663) were destroyed by the Mughals
  • Hooghly was later acquired by the British
  • Salcette and Bassein were acquired by the Marathas under Baji Rao I in 1733.
  • Only Goa, Daman and Diu remained with them which they retained till 1961 when they became part of the Indian Union.

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