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Conquest Of Goa In English | Indian History | Free PDF Download

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  • On November 4, 1509, Afonso de Albuquerque succeeded Dom Francisco de Almeida as Governor of the Portuguese State of India.
  • Unlike Almeida, Albuquerque realized that the Portuguese could take a more active role breaking Muslim supremacy in the Indian Ocean trade by taking control of three strategic chokepoints – Aden, Hormuz and Malacca.
  • Albuquerque also understood the necessity of establishing a base of operations in lands directly controlled by the Portuguese crown and not just in territory granted by allied rulers such as Cochin and Cannanore.


  • The Portuguese force was composed of 23 ships, 1200 Portuguese soldiers, 400 Portuguese sailors, 220 Malabarese auxiliaries from Cochin and 3000 combatant slaves.
  • Sultan of Bijapur Yusuf Adil Shah had recently died and his heir Ismail Adil Shah was young and inexperienced. Timoji proposed to Albuquerque his support in capturing the city.
  • Upon assembling with his captains, Albuquerque convinced them that it was crucial that they attack


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  • In February 16 1510, the Portuguese armada sailed into the deep waters of the Mandovi river and assaulted the fort of Pangim and the Portuguese captured the fort.
  • At Pangim Albuquerque received envoys from the most important figures of Goa, and proposed religious freedom and lower taxes should they refuse to aid the Muslims.
  • Thereafter they declared their full support towards the Portuguese and Albuquerque formally occupied Goa on February 17, 1510 with no resistance.
  • Albuquerque affirmed that the city was not be sacked and that the inhabitants were not to be harmed, under the penalty of death.


  • Expecting retaliation from the Sultan of Bijapur, Albuquerque began organizing the city’s defences.
  • The city’s walls were repaired, the moat was expanded and filled with water and storehouses for weapons and supplies were built. The ships were to be finished and pressed into Portuguese service.
  • At the same time, Albuquerque sent friar Luiz do Salvador ahead of an embassy to the court of the neighbouring Hindu Vijayanagara Empire, hoping to secure an alliance against Bijapur.


  • Unbeknownst to Albuquerque, the Adil Shah had just agreed on a truce with the Vijayanagara Empire, and could divert many more troops into recapturing the city than expected.
  • To that effect, he sent a Turkish general, Pulad Khan, with 40,000 troops,. Ismail Adil Shah then set up his royal tent by the Benastarim ford, awaiting for the monsoon to trap the Portuguese before giving Pulad Khan the order to assault the island.
  • Albuquerque was informed of this plan through the Portuguese.With the coming of the monsoon rains however, the Portuguese situation became critical.


  • Pulad Khan launched a major assault on May 11 1510, across the Banastarim ford at low tide amidst a heavy storm.The following day, Pulad Khan ordered an assault against the city but was repelled.
  • Before daybreak of May 31, the remaining 500 Portuguese embarked under enemy fire, covered by a small number of Portuguese soldiers holding back the advance of enemy troops that breached the city walls. Ismail then solemnly retook possession the city, at the sound of trumpet.


  • On June 1, the ships sailed away from the riverfront of Goa to the mouth of the Mandovi river, unable to leave for high seas due to the monsoon storms.
  • The expedition was now trapped on their own ships within the rivermouth, The Portuguese also suffered from the constant bombardment from artillery pieces on shore which, They avoided replying, to save ammunition.
  • By August 15, the armada finally sailed out of the Mandovi towards Cannanore.Passing by Honavar, Albuquerque knew from Timoja and his informants that Ismail had left Goa to fight Vijayanagar at Balagate.
  • At Honavar the Portuguese once more joined forces with Timoji, who informed Albuquerque that Ismail had left a considerable garrison behind. Timoji could provide 4,000 men of his own, while the king of Honavar proposed to send 15,000 men by land


  • On November 24, the Portuguese again sailed into the Mandovi.
  • Albuquerque summoned a council in which he expressed his intentions to storm the city in a three-pronged attack and divided his forces accordingly: one squadron commanded by himself, who would attack the city defences from the west, where the shipyards were located; the other two commanded by Vasconcelos and Manuel de Lacerda would assault the city’s riverside gates to the north, where the main enemy force was expected to be concentraded.
  • By daybreak of November 25, the landing began, with the Portuguese galleys moving in first to bombard the riverfront in order to clear it of enemies for the landing boats .
  • This initial success was followed by some confusion, as both the Portuguese and the defenders on both sides of walls found themselves simultaneously trying to open and close the gates.
  • After five hours fighting, the defenders were now in a definitive rout, fleeing across the streets and away from the city along with many civilians many of whom drowned trying to cross the narrow bridge. • The shipyards, warehouses and artillery reverted to the Crown and the property of Hindus was spared. The Muslims who hadn’t fled however, were killed.
  • The Portuguese suffered 50 dead and 300 wounded in the attack – mainly due to arrows – while Albuquerque estimated that about 800 “Turks” and over 6,000 “moors” among civilians and fighting men had perished.


  • With the city now firmly in Portuguese hands, on December 1, 1510 Albuquerque resumed its administration and organizing its defence.
  • The old castle was rebuilt in European fashion, under the supervision of architect Thomaz Fernandez. • It was garrisoned with 400 Portuguese soldiers, while a corps of 80 mounted crossbowmen served as watchmen and gateguards of the city.
  • The return of Albuquerque in August 1512, with considerable reinforcements, saw an assault on the stronghold of Benastarim and the defeat of Rassul Khan, who finally agreed to sign a peace treaty, formally granting Goa to the Portuguese


  • Unlike the Portuguese military garrisons established in allied lands such as Cochin and Cannanore, Goa included for the first time a large body of native non-Portuguese inhabitants for the Portuguese crown to rule.
  • To better achieve this, Albuquerque resorted to medieval Iberian procedures: people of different religious communities were allowed to keep their laws and representatives of their respective communities.
  • Exception was made to the practice of sati however, which was promptly abolished. Certain taxes due to the Adil Shah of Bijapur were also abolished.
  • Goa was an important trading port for war-horses imported from Arabia or Persia. Taking advantage of Portuguese mastery of the seas, Albuquerque decreed that all vessels importing war-horses to India unload exclusively at Goa, thus securing what would become one of Goa’s most valuable sources of income.
  • At Goa Albuquerque instituted an orphan’s fund and opened a hospital, At Goa would be erected smaller hospitals run by the city’s charity
  • Arguably, what became Albuquerque’s most iconic policy was that of encouraging his men to take up local wives and settle in the city.
  • Native women were legally allowed property rights for the first time. Albuquerque’s generous policy was, however, not without controversy among high-ranking Portuguese officials and clergy.
  • As a whole, Albuquerque’s policies proved immensely popular amongst his soldiers as well as the local population, especially his characteristically strict observance of justice.
  • When Albuquerque died in sight of Goa in 1515, even the Hindu natives of Goa mourned his passing alongside the Portuguese.

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