|Colonialism in India and China|
Arrival of Vasco Da Gama
Vasco Da Gama
The first Portuguese encounter with India was on May 20, 1498 when Vasco da Gama reached Calicut on Malabar Coast. Anchored off the coast of Calicut, the Portuguese invited native fishermen on board and immediately brought some Indian items. One Portuguese accompanied the fishermen to the port and met with a Tunisian Muslim. On the advice of this man, Gama sent a couple of his men to Ponnani to meet with ruler of Calicut, the Zamorin. Over the objections of Arab merchants, Gama managed to secure a letter of concession for trading rights from theZamorin, Calicut's Hindu ruler. But, the Portuguese were unable to pay the prescribed customs duties and price of his goods in gold.
Later Calicut officials temporarily detained Gama's Portuguese agents as security for payment. This, however, annoyed Gama, who carried a few natives and sixteen fishermen with him by force. Nevertheless, Gama's expedition was successful beyond all reasonable expectation, bringing in cargo that was sixty times the cost of the expedition.
Battle of Diu (1509)
Battle of Diu
The Battle of Diu was fought on 3 February 1509 in the Arabian Sea, near the port of Diu, India, between the Portuguese Empire and a joint fleet of the Sultan of Gujarat, the Mamlûk Burji Sultanate of Egypt, the Zamorin of Kozhikode with support of Ottomans, the Republic of Venice and the Republic of Ragusa.
The Portuguese victory was critical: Mamluks and Arabs retreated, easing the Portuguese strategy of controlling the Indian Ocean to route trade down the Cape of Good Hope, circumventing the traditional spice route controlled by the Arabs and the Venetians through the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. After the battle, Portugal rapidly captured key ports in the Indian Ocean like Goa, Ceylon, Malacca and Ormuz, crippling the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and the Gujarat Sultanate, greatly assisting the growth of the Portuguese Empire and setting its trade dominance for almost a century, until it was taken during the Dutch-Portuguese Wars and the Battle of Swally won by the British East India Company in 1612. It marks the beginning of the European colonialism in Asia. It also marks the spillover of the Christian-Islamic power struggle, in and around the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, into the Indian Ocean which was the most important region for international trade at the time.
Within 50 years of Vasco Da Gama's arrival the Portuguese had occupied some sixty miles of coast around Goa, with territories stretching up to thirty miles inland. Northwards from Mumbai to Damao, the key, with Diu across the gulf, to the approaches to rich gujrat, they occupied a still larger though narrower tract with four important ports and several hundred towns and villages. Southwards they held a long loosely linked chain of seaport fortresses and trading posts like Onor, Barcelor, Mangalore, Cannanor, Cranganor, Cochin, and Quilon. But though their power in Malabar was more fragmented, it was sufficient, when supplemented by judicious subsidies, to ensure influence or control over the local rulers who were masters of the pepper, ginger and cinnamon lands. Even on the East coast at Nagapatam and San Thome further military posts and settlements were created, while, as the sixteenth century drew to a close, a wealthy settlement grew up at Hoogli in West Bengal and direct Portuguese rule was established over the lowlands of Ceylon.
Church in Goa
During the rule of Portuguese India the cultural heritage of India improved in the field of music, dance and some other forms of art. The missionaries and the Church were also teachers and patrons in India of the arts of the painter, carver and sculptor. As in music, moreover, they were interpreters, not narrowly of Portuguese, but of European art to India. The Portuguese brought their religion with them and though they were not tolerant to the Muslim religion, they were tolerant to the Hindu religion. But with time, the tolerance faded and this is reflected by the fact that several Hindu temples were destroyed. During the 17th century, as a result of numerous military losing to the Dutch and the British, the commercial port of Goa went worse. Later, the spice trade came under the control of Dutch and Goa was superseded by Brazil as the economic center of overseas empire of Portugal. After two naval assaults, in 1683 Goa was invaded by the Maratha power.