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By Valmiki Faleiro If Afonso de Albuquerque turned Portugal?‘s quest for oriental spices into an aspiration for an Eastern Empire, his dream began to crystallize during the tenure of the greatest administrator after him, Nuno da Cunha (1529-38.) Hormuz had been captured in 1515 and Malacca in 1519. Cunha consolidated Portuguese presence all over India. In his time, Portugal?s capital city in Africa-Asia was shifted from Cochin to Goa, in 1530. In 1534, his 21-ship armada forced the Sultan of Gujarat to surrender the seven islands of ?Bom Baiya? (Bombay) to the Portuguese. These, clubbed with nearby possessions, were called ?Pra?as de Norte.? In 1536, Cunha intervened for the Nawab of Bengal, Muhammad Shah-III, against Sher Shah, and gained fort-factories in Chittagong, then Bengal?s principal city. Satgaon followed. He also secured trading rights in Hooghly, Bandel, Calcutta and several riverine areas in Bengal. Cunha helped the Gujarat ruler and obtained Diu on the coast of Kathiawar. He died on board while sailing home in 1538, near the Portuguese island of Azores in the Atlantic. He was, by his wish, accorded a sea funeral. The seeds sown by Nuno da Cunha would yield rich dividends. By 1555, the dominion around Bombay covered a much larger area, including the island of Salcete near Thane. The Portuguese had a dozen fort-factories in the Bombay area (Fort-Bombay, Sewri, Mahim, Worli, Bandra, Sion, Vasai, Arnala, Mahim Kelvi, Chaul, Morro de Chaul and Caranja.) Further north there were five forts, at Moti Daman, Nani Daman (Daman was captured in 1558), Diu and two at sea, ?Fortim do Mar? and St. Antonio at Simbor ? the last place in India to be freed in 1961. Bombay, as we know, would be one of the largest destinations of Goan ?migr?s, when under the British. To the south of Goa, the Portuguese were entrenched in ten fort-factories: two in Cochin, one each in Calicut/Kozhikode, Quilon, Chaliyam, Cananore, Cranganore/ Kodungalur, all in Kerala, and in Mangalore, Barcelor/Basrur and Onor/Honavar. The Portuguese spread in India opened new economic opportunities to Goans. Home fires burning dim, they out-migrated to these places in large numbers. Hundreds of Goans did well in Bengal and the Gujarat, Malabar and Coromandel coasts. Outside India, the Portuguese captured Ceylon (it was they who gave the island nation that name) and ventured far into the East. Other than Spice Islands, Malacca and others in the Malay Archipelago, they took Pacem in Sumatra and places in the Indonesian and South China seas, including Macao and Timor. Goans were in Macao by the 17th century. Goan soldiers actually helped defend it in 1784. With complete control of the African coasts, Bahrain and Oman in the Persian Gulf, India, Sri Lanka, right down to the South China Sea and the Celebes, Portugal became the undisputed master of Asian trade with Europe. And Goa, the capital city of its Eastern Empire, was referred to as "Goa Dourada," among other sobriquets. It was said, "Quem viu Goa, dispensa de ver Lisboa" (he who has seen Goa need not see Lisbon.) The city?s cosmopolitan population was variously estimated from 2,00,000 to half-million. Though Goan seafarers had links with East Africa in the 10th Century AD as traders, Portugal?s expansion in Africa from the point of view of emigration, assumes relevance. The first known Goan in Mozambique was Calisto, assistant to a missionary. Both were killed there in 1560. Goans helped the Portuguese colonialise Mozambique, and in 1594, to capture Mombassa. Portugal?s empire blossomed in Africa, extending over large areas, from Guinea in the north, to Sudan, Congo, Angola, Benguela, Nigeria, Ghana (the Gold Coast), Dahomy, and Mombassa, to the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar. As Portugal?s empire expanded in Africa, Goans in significant numbers emigrated to Portuguese Africa. There were adventurers, mercenaries, entrepreneurs, educated, skilled and otherwise. Many made it big in business, some even enthroned themselves as local fiefs and kings. I named a few in ?Goan Businessmen-4? (?Herald,? 16-Dec-2007.) Today I?ll mention only the academic, Dr. Rosendo Ayres Ribeiro, who held several world patents, including one for malaria cure: quinine. He returned from Africa to his homestead in Porvorim, a zebra in tow that he rode like a horse. Flummoxed locals called it a ?Pattancho Ghodo? (striped horse.)

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