Arrival of Portuguese in Inida. Give details.
Title: Unraveling the Historic Arrival of the Portuguese in India – A Comprehensive Guide for UPSC Aspirants
The UPSC examinations, arguably the most competitive and challenging exams in India, undertake the duty of assessing the academic knowledge, analytical abilities, and understanding of our national history, among other criteria. A pivotal chapter in Indian history crucial for UPSC aspirants is the arrival of the Portuguese in India which paved the way for several significant developments. This article aims to furnish detailed insights into this period.
1. The Maiden Voyage:
The journey began with Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer who embarked on a groundbreaking voyage in 1497. Da Gama was commissioned by the Portuguese king, Manuel I, to find a maritime route to reach the spice-rich lands of India. Crossing the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, via Atlantic Ocean, he reached Calicut (now Kozhikode) on May 20, 1498. This marked the arrival of the Portuguese in India.
2. Reception at Calicut:
On his arrival, Vasco da Gama was accorded a warm welcome by the king of Calicut, Zamorin. This king, unaware of the impending repercussions of this affiliation, allowed the Portuguese to engage in spice trade.
3. Establishment of Factories:
Post Vasco da Gama’s successful journey; the Portuguese quickened their steps towards establishing a foothold in the Indian subcontinent. They founded factories at Cannanore, Cochin, and Quilon. The Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral played a pivotal role in these undertakings.
4. Asserting Dominance:
With ascension of viceroy Alfonso de Albuquerque, the Portuguese began to assert their dominance both on land and sea. In 1510, they captured Goa from the Sultan of Bijapur, making it their main stronghold. The Portuguese rule in Goa lasted for more than four centuries until it was annexed by India in 1961.
5. Development of Indo-Portuguese Trade:
The Portuguese maintained a monopoly over the spice trade in the Indian Ocean, also gaining control over the Persian Gulf’s trade. Additionally, they began introducing new crops in India like cashew, pineapple, and tobacco.
6. Influence on Culture and Religion:
The Portuguese significantly impacted the local culture and religious customs. They brought Roman Catholicism to India, establishing many churches and convents. The cultural impact extended to art, architecture, cuisine, and even language with many Portuguese words being absorbed into Konkani, the language of Goa.
7. Decline of the Portuguese Dominion:
The Portuguese dominion in India began to decline in the 17th century, burdened by the rise of the Dutch, English, and French colonial powers. By the mid-17th century, Portugal had lost almost all its territories in India except for Diu, Daman, and Goa.
In conclusion, the arrival of the Portuguese in India triggered a chain of events — extending from geopolitical affiliations, economic exploitations to cultural influences, and religious conversions. Not just did it bring an end to the isolation of India from Western civilizations, but it also initiated the age of colonialism and European dominance. For UPSC aspirants, the understanding of this period is not just an examination requirement but provides insights into how historical events have shaped our contemporary nation.