BoatThe Hindu dynasties historically ruled Goa, until the Portuguese took control, led by General Alfonso de Albuquerque in 1550. Goa became renowned in the 1500s, through trading in silk, spices, porcelain, linen and pearls. Portuguese rule lasted four centuries. When India became free in 1947 the British left but the Portuguese were reluctant to leave. Goa was eventually liberated in December 1961.

Sumerian ~ 2200 BC

The first written reference to Goa appears in the Cuneiform writing system, in Sumerian times, when King Gudea of Lagash called it Gubio. Goa was shaped geographically and ethnically by many cultures that distinguish it from other parts of India.

Later the seaborne community of Phoenicians became the first extensive settlers of Goa around 1775 BC

The Early Vedic Periodic ~ 1000 – 500 BC

In the later Vedic period (c.1000-500 BC) when the Mahabharata epopee was written, Goa is referred to with the Sanskrit name Gomantak, a word synonymous with paradise, fertile land and good waters.

The Mahabharata also makes reference to the Brahmanic colonization of Goa. After the Aryan invasion of India from the northwest around 1750 BC, some Aryans settled around the river Saraswat in the Punjab. Drought and famine forced these Brahmins to emigrate to Sind, Rajputana and Bengal.

Thereafter, the Saraswat river dried up and no longer exists. Ninety-six pioneering families, known as Gaud Saraswats, trekked South-West to settle in Gomantak around 1000 BC. These families settled in the Ilhas de Goa, of which Tiswadi is the biggest, and include Salcete, Bardesh, Pernem and Kudal.

The settlement of these 96 Brahman families was a milestone in the history of Goa, as together with the hardworking Kundbis from the South, they cultivated the fertile stretch of land between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats.

The story of the Kundbis and Brahmans ingeniously working together, making bunds to reclaim land from the sea is described poetically as a legend in the Skanda Purana: Vishnu, in his avatar as Parasurama argues with Samudra, the Indian Neptune. From the height of the Ghats, Parasurama launches an arrow to mark the boundary to where Samudra should withdraw. Defeated, Samudra had to concede many miles of his aquatic reign. The arrow fell in Bannali (Bann: arrow, ali: village) and this is how the village of Benaulim got its name.

Aryan Conquest ~ 200 BC

Goa became the southern fringe of the empire of Ashoka. The Aryans had pushed the major Dravidian kingdoms to the southern tip of India, such as the Cholas, Pandyas, Tamil Mad, Satyaputras and Keralaputras.

Strabo the Greek geographer (27 BC -14 AD) makes the first reference to Konkan with the name of KomKvi, and defines it as a province different from India.

Ancient Arabian geographers, referred to Goa as Sindabur. Al-Masudi (AD943) an Arabian voyager, considered Sindabur as the foremost of the coastal cities of Malabar. Then followed the Chalukyas and the period of the Kadambas, who made Chandrapur (Chandor) their capital from 937 AD to 1310 AD. After the Kadambas, Goa was ruled by the Yadavas of Devaguiri from the 12th to 13th century AD, before the Hindu Empire of Vijayanagar seized control and ruled from 14-15th century AD.

In 1492, the Bahmani Kingdom split into five separate domains, named Bidar, Berar, Ahmadnagar, Golconda and Bijapur. Bijapur was the capital of the territory which included Goa under Adil Khan who reigned until the Portuguese arrived in 1550.