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By Alexander Henn

The country of Goa on India's southwest coast was the capital of the Portuguese-Catholic empire in Asia. while Vasco Da Gama arrived in India in 1498, he mistook Hindus for Christians, yet Jesuit missionaries quickly declared struggle at the alleged idolatry of the Hindus. this day, Hindus and Catholics assert their very own spiritual identities, yet Hindu village gods and Catholic purchaser saints allure worship from contributors of either spiritual groups. via clean readings of early Portuguese assets and long term ethnographic fieldwork, this learn lines the historical past of Hindu-Catholic syncretism in Goa and divulges the advanced function of faith on the intersection of colonialism and modernity.

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The export of tropical spices and unique items made Goa’s early-modern capital, Cidade de Goa, right into a wealthy, cosmopolitan, and well-connected urban that's glorified within the historic literature as Goa Dourada or “Golden Goa. ” Its port grew to become an incredible buying and selling put up within the mercantile community that hooked up China, Japan, the Moluccas, and India with Europe. within the mid-sixteenth century, Goa grew to become the political and spiritual capital of the Estado da Índia, the Portuguese Asian empire and the Catholic archdiocese of Asia and Africa, which, by means of the tip of the century, embraced Portuguese possessions from Cape Verde within the west to Mozambique within the south and Macao within the east. even as, mass conversion campaigns, carried out by way of missionaries of assorted Catholic orders and observed by way of the broad destruction of temples and mosques, resulted in a major exodus of Hindus and Muslims from Goa and a gentle progress within the variety of Catholics who finally turned the overpowering majority. The adoption 1 2  |  Hindu-Catholic Encounters in Goa of the Portuguese language, Portuguese gown and meals behavior, and Portuguese varieties of structure, tune, arts, and activities through upper-caste converts gave Goa tremendously eu positive factors. spiritual oppression and cultural hegemony have been ameliorated, if merely in part, by means of the mid-eighteenth century, whilst new territorial acquisitions and political adjustments steadily allowed the effect of Hindus to develop. The alterations divided the Portuguese colony into realms, which grew to become often called the Velhas Conquistas or previous Conquests and Novas Conquistas or New Conquests (see determine I. 1). The parts are marked to at the present time by means of striking transformations within the demographic distribution, political impact, and cultural visibility of Hindus and Christians. The territories of the outdated Conquests had come lower than Portuguese regulate within the preliminary wave of the army conquest that the prestigious first naval passage from Europe to India through the Portuguese captain Vasco da Gama in 1497–1499. 1 They comprised initially simply the Islands of Goa, the 4 islands positioned within the delta of the river Mandovi, which Afonso de Albuquerque (1462–1515), the 1st governor of the Estado da Índia, conquered in 1510. built-in this present day within the province of Tiswadi, this primary stronghold of the Portuguese conquest used to be accelerated in a moment army operation in 1543, which additional the provinces of Bardez and Salcete. Subdivided into “mission fields,” one within the north that was once taken care of by means of Franciscans and one within the south that was once managed by means of Jesuits, the outdated Conquests skilled the entire onslaught of the early-modern Catholic conversion campaigns and were—albeit with major neighborhood compromises, as fresh historic study issues out—transformed right into a zone that was once, by way of faith, predominantly Catholic and, when it comes to tradition, considerably Portuguese. The territories of the hot Conquests got here less than Portuguese regulate in simple terms in 1763 and 1788 via political negotiations with the weakened Adil Shah dynasty of Bijapur (Karnataka), which governed over one of many successor states of the Muslim Bahmani sultanate that had conquered the Hindu country of Vijayanagara in 1632.

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