Vasco Da Gama, the Trader from Europe
- The arrival of three ships under Vasco Da Gama to Calicut in May 1498, headed by a Gujarati pilot named Abdul Majid, had a significant impact on Indian history. However, the Hindu monarch of Calicut, the Zamorin (Samuthiri), was unconcerned about the Europeans’ intentions. Because Calicut’s status as an entrepot was so important to his kingdom’s economy, he gave Vasco Da Gama a warm welcome.
- The Arab traders on the Malabar coast, who had a thriving business, were concerned and opposed to the Portuguese gaining a foothold there. For hundreds of years, the Indian Ocean’s buying and selling system had a diverse range of participants—Indians, Arabs, east coast Africans, Chinese, and Javanese, to name a few—but each followed a set of unspoken rules, and none sought overwhelming dominance, despite the fact that they were all in it for the money.
- The Portuguese changed that: they wanted to monopolize the lucrative eastern trade by separating themselves from competition, particularly the Arabs. Vasco da Gama spent three months in India. When he returned to Portugal, he brought a valuable cargo with him and sold the goods on the European market for a profit.
- The importance of direct access to the pepper trade was highlighted by the fact that if Europeans had to buy through Muslim middlemen, they would have had to pay ten times as much for the same amount of pepper.
- Various profit-seeking traders from European countries were enticed to come to India and change promptly, which was not unusual. Pedro Alvarez Cabral embarked on an expedition to trade for spices, negotiate, and establish a factory at Calicut, where he arrived in September 1500. A battle erupted when a Portuguese factory in Calicut was stormed by locals, resulting in the deaths of numerous Portuguese workers.
- Cabral retaliated by seizing some of the Arab trade ships docked in the harbor and murdering large groups of people, as well as stealing their cargo and destroying the ships. Cabral has started bombarding Calicut. Cabral went on to make wonderful treaties with the local monarchs of Cochin and Cannanore later on. In 1501 Vasco da Gama returned to India for the second time.
- When Vasco Da Gama combined commercial avarice with savage animosity and rained vengeance on Arab delivery wherever he could, the Zamorin refused to reject Arab commerce in favor of the Portuguese. As a result, his break with the Zamorin became complete and absolute. At Cannanore, Vasco da Gama established a trading manufacturing unit.
- Calicut, Cannanore, and Cochin became the Portuguese’s critical change hubs on a regular basis. The Portuguese were gradually granted authority to strengthen those centers under the guise of defending the industries and their buying and selling activities.
Francisco de Almeida
- In 1505, the King of Portugal appointed a three-year governor in India and provided him with sufficient force to protect Portuguese interests. The newly appointed governor, Francisco De Almeida, is tasked with consolidating the Portuguese position in India and disrupting Muslim trade by conquering Aden, Ormuz, and Malacca. He also suggests fortifications be built at Anjadiva, Cochin, Cannanore, and Kilwa. What Almeida encountered, however, was a chance from the Mameluke Sultan of Egypt in conjunction with the Zamorin competition.
- The Egyptians raised a fleet in the purple Sea to thwart the Portuguese expansion, which had been recommended by merchants in Venice whose lucrative trade had been jeopardized by Portuguese intervention.
- The Portuguese squadron was beaten by the combined Egyptian and Gujarat navies in naval battle off Diu in 1507, and Almeida’s son was killed. Almeida then avenged his defeat by completely destroying the two ships. Almeida’s goal was to strengthen Portugal’s control over the Indian Ocean. The Blue Water coverage was the name of his policy (cartage system).
The Portuguese in India
- The Portuguese presence in India is generally underestimated. However, the Estado Português da India (Portuguese India) became a more significant part of Indian history than its kilometers, as a lot of India’s coastline areas fell under Portuguese control within fifty years of Vasco da Gama’s arrival.
- Around Goa, the Portuguese had occupied a few sixty-mile stretches of coast. They ruled a short strip of land on the west coast, from Mumbai to Daman and Diu to the tip of Gujarat, with four key ports and a smattering of towns and villages.
- They held a series of maritime fortifications and purchasing and selling ports in the south, including as Mangalore, Cannanore, Cochin, and Calicut. Even if their power in Malabar had dwindled, it had been sufficient to exert influence or manipulate the surrounding monarchs who controlled the spice-growing region.
- Similar military installations and towns were constructed by the Portuguese on the east coast at San Thome (near Chennai) and Nagapatnam (in Andhra Pradesh) in the 16th century, and a wealthy settlement had arisen at Hooghly in West Bengal. Envoys and diplomats were exchanged between Goa and most of India’s major kingdoms at the time.
- In 1570, Goa and the Deccan sultans formed a treaty that was frequently renewed as long as their kingdoms existed. The Portuguese played an important role in the subsequent power struggles between Vijayanagara and the Deccan sultans, the Deccanis and the Mughals, and the
- Mughals and the Marathas; strangely, the Portuguese, who were the first Europeans to arrive in India, were also the last to leave. It took the Indian government till 1961 to reclaim Goa, Daman, and Diu.