British rule in Portuguese India

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
British occupation of Portuguese India
Goa britânica
1797 to 1798
1799 to 1813
Flag of British Goa
A British Cemetery is the only remnant of this era
A British Cemetery is the only remnant of this era
StatusProtectorate of the British Empire
CapitalPalacio do Cabo in Pangim
Official languagesEuropean Portuguese and British English
Common languagesKonkani, Marathi, Gujarati& Indo-Portuguese
Roman Catholicism
Historical eraColonial Era
16 Jun 1373
01 Jun 1798
09 Jun 1801
19 Oct 1813
• Total
4,305 km2 (1,662 sq mi)
CurrencyPortuguese real
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Portuguese India
Portuguese India
Today part ofIndia

Goa, Damaon & Diu were one of Portugal's oldest colonies, being established in 1510.[1][2] During the Napoleonic Wars, the Portuguese were concerned at being unable to defend their empire from predatory French or her allied navies.[3] Due to the historic Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, British India was keen to assist in Goa's security. Britain dispatched a Royal Naval squadron as well as an army of 10,000 soldiers. The British soldiers were posted at strategic locations like Aguada, Miramar, Caranzalem, Palacio do Cabo and Morumugão.[4] The soldiers built huge fortifications in these areas to help defend them. (These fortifications were subsequently demolished after the British departed.) This amicable agreement ended in 1813 thanks largely to the massive defeat of the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar in 1805.[5] There are two distinct phases of the period, from 1797 to 1798 and from 1802 to 1813 (in 1814 Napoléon was exiled to the island of Elba). For the next century, no country was capable of challenging the power of the Royal Navy. Goa could benefit from Pax Britannica.[6][7]

During this time, the Portuguese were still in charge of the administration of the territory (the local government was headed by the Viscount of Mirandela from 1794 to 1806, then by the Count of Sarzedas from 1806 to 1816).[8]

British cemetery[edit]

A military cemetery is the only evidence of the presence of British forces in Goa that was otherwise ruled by the Portuguese. There are a total of 108 tombs, the oldest of them dates to 1808 and the latest of them dates to 1912.[9]


  1. ^ Crowley, Roger (2015). Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire. London: Faber & Faber.
  2. ^ "Goa". Retrieved 2021-07-06.
  3. ^ "British occupation of Goa?". ItsGoa. February 18, 2016.
  4. ^ "Goa - History". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  5. ^ "'The British Occupation of the Portuguese Settlements in India, Goa, Diu, Damaun,... | The National Archives". Retrieved 2021-07-06.
  6. ^ Danvers, Frederic Charles (1988). The Portuguese in India: being a history of the rise and decline of their eastern empire. Asian Educational Services. p. 487.
  7. ^ Esdaile, Charles (2003). The Peninsular War. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-6231-6.
  8. ^ Saldanha, Manoel José Gabriel (1990). História de Goa: (Política e arqueológica) (in Portuguese). Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-0590-X.
  9. ^ "Dona Paula: Dona Paula's forgotten British cemetery gets a new lease of life | Goa News - Times of India". 2017-05-03. Retrieved 2021-07-06.