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Goa

History

In the 3rd century BC Goa formed part of the Mauryan empire. Later it was ruled by the Satavahanas of Kolhapur and eventually passed to the Chalukyas of Badami from AD 580 to 750.

Goa fell to the Muslims for the first time in 1312, but they weren’t fans of the beach and eventually left in 1370 under the forceful persuasion of Harihara I of the Vijayanagar mpire. During the next 100 years Goa’s harbours were important landing places for ships carrying Arabian horses for the Vijayanagar cavalry.

Blessed as it is by natural harbours and wide rivers, Goa was the ideal base for the seafaring Portuguese, who arrived in 1510 aiming to control the spice route from the East. Jesuit missionaries led by St Francis Xavier arrived in 1542. For a while, Portuguese control was limited to a small area around Old Goa, but by the middle of the 16th century it had expanded to include the provinces of Bardez and Salcete.

The Marathas (the central Indian people who controlled much of India at various points in time) almost vanquished the Portuguese in the late 18th century, and there was a brief occupation by the British during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. However, it was not until 1961, when the Indian army marched into Goa, that Portuguese occupation finally came to its end on the subcontinent.

In 1967, a Goan opinion poll showed that the state's residents didn't want to be assimilated into its neighbouring state Marharashtra, despite Maharashtra pushing for it. But it wasn't until 1987 that Goa was officially declared India's 25th state by Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandhi, in a landmark ruling for the state's generations of armed supporters. Five years later, Goa's local language, Konkani, was recognised as one of India's 22 official regional languages.

Today, Goa has one of India’s highest per-capita incomes, with farming, fishing, tourism and iron-ore mining forming the basis of its economy.