Daman : Portuguese Rule in Daman

Daman was acquired by the Portuguese from Shah of Gujarat. While several attempts were made for its possession, it was 2nd February, 1559 the Portuguese finally conquered Daman. The first Vice-Roy was D. Constantino de Braganza. Its jurisdiction extended to cover the island of Salcete, Mahim and Colaba in th south while it touched the kingdom of Surat and Rayner in the north and Sarceta in the east.

The first attack was in 1529. After several attacks followed a series of negotiations between the Portuguese and Shah of Gujarat whereby the former obtained Bassein and Diu. Daman was forgotten for the time being. Two decades later the Portuguese began to realize the strategic importance of Daman necessary for the security of their Bassein province. The Governor of Goa sent an envoy to the Shah of Gujarat seeking the cessation of Daman who agreed to cede the place in return for one half of custom receipts of Diu. However there was no possibility of acquiring Daman without force. The captain of Daman was an Abyssinian Chief with 3000 soldiers. He refused to obey the orders of Shah of Gujarat. The Portuguese position was also strengthened by the virtual anarchy prevailing in the kingdom of Gujarat owing to the minority of the Shah and the dissent prevailing among its regents.

Early 1559, Constanino de Braganza, the Governor of Goa, attacked the Abyssinian defence with fleet of more than 100 vessels with 2000-3000 soldiers on board. Inspite of all the defence planned by the captain, they could offer no resistance and invaders landed at Daman without losing a single Portuguese life. The town and fortress fell into the hands of the Portuguese easily.

The Governor stayed in Daman for sometime, ordered the erection of new fort and left for Goa, leaving behind 1200 men with Diogo de Noronha as Captain – Major of Daman. And since then it remained under Portuguese flag until the Operation Vijay launched on 17th December, 1961 by the Indian Army assisted by the Navy and the Air Force linked the territory to become an integral part of India. The last Portuguese Governor of Daman Brigadier Manuel Antonio de Costa Pinto was wounded near Tin Batti which led the surrender of the Portuguese garrison on 19th December, 1961 closing the last Chapter of European domination in India.