Portuguese India

The Portuguese State of India (Estado da India) was the territory in India that was under Portuguese rule from 1505 to December 1961. Portuguese India consisted of the territory of Goa, Daman, and Diu with Pani Kota Island on the southern coast of the Kathiawar Peninsula.  

For judicial purposes, the province of Goa also included Macau and Timor. Portuguese India was a single administrative province under a governor-general. It was also a single ecclesiastical province under the archbishop of Goa, who was also the primate of the East. 

The first Portuguese encounter with India was on May 1498 when Vasco da Gama reached Calicut on the Malabar Coast during his exploration of sea routes. Afonso de Albuquerque captured Goa in 1510. Unlike the British, the Portuguese left customs and constitutions untouched and only the rite of suttee was abolished. The Portuguese also married indigenous women and settled in Goa as farmers, retail traders, or artisans. Goa had the same civic rights as Lisbon and was the capital of Portugal’s eastern territories. Prosperity reigned in Goa. However, with the appearance of the Dutch in Indian waters, this prosperity did not last. The Dutch blockaded Goa in the 1600s and the Jesuits gradually monopolized trade. The Maratha raiders also terrorized Portuguese India until 1759, when a peace treaty with the Marathas was concluded. 

After the French and British ended their rule in other Indian territories, the newly established Republic of India wanted to absorb Portuguese India into its territory. However, Portugal refused to secede and a civil war ensued. On December 1961, Indian forces invaded Goa, Daman, and Diu and incorporated these territories as the Union Territory of Goa, Daman, and Diu, thus ending Portuguese rule in the area. In 1987, Goa was separated and was made India’s 25th state.

Portuguese India used the Portuguese Indian rupia from 1668 to 1958. Before 1871, the rupia was subdivided into 750 bazarucos, 600 reis (real), 20 pardaus, or 10 tangas. It was also equivalent to 2 xerafims. After 1871, the rupia was revalued. A rupia was equivalend to 960 reis or 16 tangas. The rupia was equal in value to the Indian rupee and the tanga was equal to the Indian anna. The first banknotes were issued by the Junta da Fazenda Publica in 1882 in denominations of 10 rupias and 20 rupias. The General Government issued the remaining denominations in 1883: the 5 rupias, 10 rupias, 20 rupias, 50 rupias, 100 rupias, and 500 rupias. The Banco Nacional Ultramarino took over the issuance of banknotes in 1906.  

In 1958, the rupia was replaced by the escudo at a rate of 1 rupia to 6 escudos. The Portuguese Indian escudo was subdivided into 100 centavos. It was also equal in value to the Portuguese escudo. The Banco Nacional Ultramarino issued escudo banknotes that featured Afonso de Albuquerque. The denominations issued were 30 escudos, 60 escudos, 100 escudos, 300 escudos, 600 escudos, and 1,000 escudos. The territory adopted the Indian rupiah after its annexation.  

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