Portuguese India

From Academic Kids

Portuguese India (Port. India Portuguesa or Estado da India) was the aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India. At the time of India's independence in 1947, Portuguese India included a number of enclaves on India's western coast, including Goa proper, as well as the coastal enclaves of Daman (Port: Damão) and Diu, and the enclaves of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which lie inland from Daman. The territories of Portuguese India were sometimes referred to collectively as Goa.

Contents

Early history

The first Portuguese encounter with India was on May 20 1498 when Vasco da Gama landed in Calicut (present-day Kozhikode). Over the objections of Arab merchants, da Gama secured an ambiguous letter of concession for trading rights from Zamorin, Calicut's local ruler, but had to sail off without warning after the Zamorin insisted on his leaving behind all his goods as collateral. Da Gama kept his goods, but left behind a few Portuguese with orders to start a trading post.

In 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the Bijapur sultans on behalf of a local sovereign, Timayya, leading to the establishment of a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa). The Southern Province, also known simply as Goa, was the headquarters of Portuguese India, and seat of the Portuguese viceroy who governed the Portuguese possessions in Asia.

The Portuguese acquired several territories from the Sultans of Gujarat: Daman (occupied 1531, formally ceded 1539); Salsette, Bombay, and Baçaim (occupied 1534); and Diu (ceded 1535). These possessions became the Northern Province of Portuguese India, which extended almost 100 km along the coast from Daman to Chaul, and in places 30-50 km inland, were ruled from the fortress-town of Baçaim. Bombay (present day Mumbai) was given to Britain in 1661 as part of the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza's dowry to Charles II of England. Most of the Northern Province was lost to the Marathas in 1739, and Portugal acquired Dadra and Nagar Haveli in 1779.

After India's independence

After India's independence from the British in 1947, Portugal refused to accede to India's request to relinquish control of its Indian possessions. Arbitration by the World Court and the United Nations General Assembly in the 1950's ruled in India's favour.

In 1954, bands of Indian irregulars took over the enclaves of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. India refused to allow Portuguese troops to transit through its territory to restore colonial rule, and annexed the enclaves in August 1961. In December 1961, India invaded and annexed—or, as India sees it, liberated— Goa, Daman, and Diu, which were never formally offered the opportunity to decide its own destiny by a legal referendum.

The Salazar regime in Portugal refused to recognise Indian sovereignty over Goa, Daman and Diu, which continued to be represented in Portugal's National Assembly until 1974. Following the Carnation Revolution that year, the new government in Lisbon restored diplomatic relations with India, and recognised Indian sovereignty over Portuguese India. However, the people of its former Indian territories continued to have the right to Portuguese citizenship.

Postage stamps and postal history

Early postal history of the colony is obscure, but regular mail is known to have been exchanged with Lisbon from 1825 on. Portugal having a postal convention with Great Britain, much mail was probably routed through Bombay and carried on British packets. Portuguese handstamped postmarks are known from 1854.

The first postage stamps were issued 1 October 1871. These were purely local, and stamps of British India were also needed for overseas mail. The design of these first stamps simply consisted of a denomimation in the center, with an oval band containing the inscriptions "SERVIÇO POSTAL" and "INDIA POST". The dies were recut several times, and printed on several kinds of paper, resulting in an extremely complicated situation that has been intensively studied; about 55 types have been identified as appearing between 1871 and 1877, some of them quite rare.

In 1877, Portugal included India in its standard "crown" issue, with nine values ranging from 5r to 300r. These stamps ran out in 1881, and the old local stamps were surcharged with various values, resulting in nearly 100 distinct types. Additional "crown" stamps arrived in 1882, but in the following year were supplemented by additional values of the original local design.

From 1886 on, the pattern of regular stamp issues followed that of the other colonies closely, the main exception being a series of surcharges in 1912 produced by perforating existing stamps vertically through the middle and overprinting a new value on each side.

In 1925, a commemorative stamp marked the 400th anniversary of the death of Vasco da Gama, and in December 1931 a set of six promoted the Exposition of St. Francis Xavier held at Goa. Sets in 1946 and 1948 commemorated notable historical figures related to the colony. Portuguese India's first stamp exhibition, in 1952, was commemorated with a pair of stamps, one reproducing the design of the first issue, the other depicting St. Francis Xavier. A definitive series in 1956 commemorated the 450th anniversary of Portuguese settlements in India, and included portraits and maps of old forts, while a 1959 series depicted various coins.

The last regular issue was on 25 June 1960, marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. Stamps of India were first used 29 December 1961, although the old stamps were accepted until 5 January 1962. Although Portugal continued to issue stamps for the lost colony, none of these were ever offered for sale in the colony's post offices, and are thus not considered valid stamps.

External links

de:Portugiesisch-Indien pl:Indie Portugalskie sk:Portugalská India sv:Portugisisk kolonialism och handel i Indien zh:葡屬印度

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