India, Portuguese

   Formerly a Portuguese colony, and all that remained of Portugal's Indian holdings of the 16th and 17th centuries, Goa, Damão, and Diu are located on the western coast of the Indian subcontinent. These three enclaves, comprising an area of about 2,473 square kilometers (1,537 square miles), were acquired by Portugal during the 16th century after the initial voyage of Vasco da Gama (1497-99), which discovered the sea route to the Indies from Portugal. Beginning in 1510, Goa was the capital of the Portuguese State of India, which had jurisdiction over Portugal's holdings in eastern Africa as well as in Asia. Goa became not only an administrative capital but a center for religion and education. Various Catholic religious orders, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits, used Goa as a base for missionary efforts in Asia. Most notable among them was St. Francis Xavier. Goa had a colonial golden age in the 16th and 17th centuries, as churches, seminaries, and colleges flourished. In time, Goa was bypassed, and the capital of Portuguese India was transferred first to Mormugao and then to Pangim.
   For religious and political reasons, not economic, Portugal held on to Portuguese India when confronted after World War II with Indian nationalism. Pressures to leave Goa, Damão, and Diu mounted throughout the 1950s, following the independence of India in 1947. In December 1961, after numerous alarms and efforts by Indian and Goan nationalists to employ passive resistance to oust Portuguese control, India's Nehru ordered the Indian army to invade, conquer, and annex Goa, Damão, and Diu and incorporate them as part of the Indian Union. With most of its armed forces in the African territories at the time and with Britain refusing to allow the use of British bases to reinforce Portugal's small garrison in Portuguese India, Portuguese armed forces resisted only briefly. Salazar's government dealt harshly with the forces that surrendered in India and were made prisoners of war. Lisbon negotiated their release without enthusiasm. Lisbon affected to ignore the facts of India's conquest, annexation, and absorption of former Portuguese India; refused to recognize the action's legality internationally; and continued to seat "deputies" from "Portuguese India" in the National Assembly of Portugal until the Revolution of 25 April 1974. Resentment against Salazar's treatment of the army in India was one of the stated reasons later for the military conspiracy and 1974 coup of the Armed Forces Movement.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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