The Portuguese: Arrival of Europeans

The Portuguese: Arrival of Europeans

During the ancient and medieval periods, India was a key commercial destination for many European countries.

With the fall of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks led by Sultan Mehmed II in 1453, the Turks began demanding exorbitant fees for eastern commodities. As a result, the Europeans' land trading routes became nearly inaccessible.

Pope Alexander VI, the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States, encouraged finding a route to India and specifically authorized the Portuguese to carry out such a mission.

This, in turn, led to Vasco da Gama's discovery of a commercial sea route to India on May 20, 1498, when he arrived at Kappad, Kozhikode.

Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, there were already established trading relations between Arabs and Kerala.

The advent of the Portuguese and their attempt to monopolize the spices trade and their unmitigated and wanton barbarism towards the natives brought many conflicts between the Portuguese, the local rulers and the Arab traders. 

Let us have a look at the Portuguese history of Kerala, the battles they fought, their contributions, and so on for the Kerala PSC examinations.

Basic Facts

  • The first Europeans who arrived in India for trade by the sea – Portuguese.
  • The first Catholic country to establish trade relations with India – Portugal.
  • The first foreign power to exert dominance in India – Portuguese.
  • The last Europeans to leave India – Portuguese.
  • The European forces that remained in India the longest – Portuguese.
  • The Portuguese's rule in India lasted for – 463 years (1498-1961).
  • Headquarters – Goa.
  • Religion – Roman Catholic.
  • The major colonies of the Portuguese in India – Goa, Daman, Diu.
  • The European forces who were known as 'Parangis'Portuguese.
  • First Portuguese sailor to circumnavigate Africa's 'Cape of Good Hope' – Bartholomew Diaz (1488).
  • First European & Portuguese citizen to reach India – Vasco da Gama. 
  • The first fort in India was built by the – Portuguese.
  • The first foreign power to build a fort in Kochi – Portuguese.
  • Name the first fort built in India by Europeans – Manual fort (Kochi, September 27, 1503).
    • The first fort built by Europeans in India – Manual fort. 
    • Oldest European structure in India – Manual fort. 
    • The Portuguese ruler who built the Manual fort – Manual I.
    • Other names of Manual fort – Pallipuram Kota, Vypin Kota, Ayakotta.
  • Two main forts built by the Portuguese in India – St. Angelo Fort (Kannur) & Kodungallur Fort (Kottapuram).
  • The first to built granite forts in Kerala – Portuguese.
  • The place where the Portuguese set up their first factory in India – Calicut (1500).
    • The First European factory in India was established at – Calicut.
  • The place where the Portuguese set up their second factory in India – Kochi (1501).
  • The local king who was given the title of 'military brother of the King of Portugal' – King of Purannadu.
  • The territory of India which was given as the dowry by the King of Portugal to Charles II of England – Bombay (1661).
  • A book written by Sheikh Zainuddin on Portuguese atrocities in Kerala –  Tuhfat-ul-Mujahideen.
  • The person who recorded Portuguese history in India – James Correa.
  • The European forces who defeated the Portuguese and captured Kochi – The Dutch (1663).

Important Portuguese Viceroys of India

Vasco Da Gama

Vasco Da Gama
  • First European to reach India by sea – Vasco da Gama (~29 years old). 
  • First Portuguese traveler who came to India through Cape of Good Hope – Vasco da Gama. 
  • The Gujarati trader who helped Vasco Da Gama to reach India – Abdul Manik. 
  • Supreme Commander/Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Ocean Vasco da Gama. 
    • The title 'Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Ocean' was given to Vasco da Gama by –  Portuguese King Manual I.
  • Total no. of India visits by Vasco da Gama – 3.
  • Vasco da Gama started his journey to India from – Lisbon (1497).
    • Capital and the largest city of Portugal – Lisbon.
  • The Portuguese king who sent Vasco da Gama to India – Manual I.
  • Vasco da Gama's First Visit to India was on – 1498 May 20.
    • Kappad, Panthalayani beach, Chemancheri Panchayat, Kozhikode.
  • Name of the ship on which Vasco da Gama came – St. Gabriel / São Gabriel.
  • Name the other ships in Vasco da Gama's fleet –  São Rafael & São Miguel (nickname: Berrio).
  • The year in which Vasco da Gama returned to Lisbon (Portugal) – 1499.
  • Name the product that Vasco da Gama brought back to Portugal upon his return – Black Pepper.
  • Vasco da Gama's second visit to India was in – 1502.
  • A license system established in 1502 to oversee and maintain the Portuguese commercial monopoly in the Indian Ocean – Cartaz System.
  • Name the Portuguese entrance tax system, which required all ships must pay at entering ports – Feitorias System.
  • Vasco da Gama's third and final visit to India was in – 1524.
  • The year Vasco da Gama arrived in India as the 6th Portuguese Viceroy1524.
  • Vasco da Gama died in the year – December 24, 1524 (Kochi, ~65 years old).
  • The church in Kerala where Vasco da Gama's body was buried – St. Francis Church.
  • The year in which Vasco da Gama's remains were moved from Kochi to Portugal in – 1539.
  • The Portuguese cemetery where Vasco da Gama's body was buried – Jeronimus Cathedral (Lisbon).

Pedro Álvares Cabral 

Pedro Álvares Cabral
  • The second Portuguese traveler to reach Kerala – Pedro Álvares Cabral ( Sep 13, 1500). 
  • The Portuguese sailor who came to India as the successor of Vasco da Gama – Pedro Álvares Cabral.
  • The Viceroy of Portugal who established warehouses in Kochi – Álvares Cabral.
  • The Portuguese Viceroy who set up factories at Kochi & Cannanore – Álvares Cabral.

Francisco de Almeida (1505 - 1509)

Francisco de Almeida

  • First Portuguese Viceroy in India – Francisco de Almeida.
    • First European Viceroy in India – Francisco de Almeida.
    • First Portuguese Viceroy in the East – Francisco de Almeida.
  • The first person to visit India as the King of Portugal's representative – Francisco de Almeida.
  • The Portuguese Viceroy who adopted the Blue Water Policy – Francisco de Almeida.
    • Blue Water Policy – The policy to increase Portuguese trade by establishing maritime supremacy by building a strong navy.
  • St. Angelo's Fort in Kannur was built by – Francisco de Almeida (1505).

Alfonso de Albuquerque (1509 - 1515)

Alfonso de Albuquerque

  • Second Portuguese Viceroy in India – Alfonso de Albuquerque.
    • Second European Viceroy in India – Alfonso de Albuquerque.
  • The most famous Portuguese viceroy to India – Alfonso de Albuquerque.
  • The Portuguese who is considered as the real founder of the Portuguese colonial empire in India – Alfonso de Albuquerque.
  • The year in which the Portuguese conquered Goa – A.D. 1510.
  • The Viceroy who led the capture of Goa – Albuquerque.
  • The Portuguese captured Goa from – Yusuf Adilshah, Sultan of Bijapur.
  • The Viceroy shifted the Portuguese headquarters from Kochi to Goa – Albuquerque.
  • The first Governor of Goa – Albuquerque.
  • The Portuguese viceroy who worked with the aim of destroying the naval power of the Zamorin of Kozhikode – Alfonso de Albuquerque.
  • The Portuguese viceroy attacked the city of Kozhikode – Albuquerque.
  • The Viceroy who led the Portuguese colonization in India – Albuquerque.
  • The Portuguese viceroy who encouraged a mixed colonial system (marriage between the Portuguese and the Indians) – Albuquerque.
  • The Viceroy who led Portuguese colonization in India – Albuquerque.
  • The Portuguese Viceroy who abolished Sati in Portuguese territories – Albuquerque. 
  • St.Thomas Fort of Tangasseri, Kollam was built by the Portuguese under the leadership of  – Albuquerque.
  • The Portuguese Viceroy who died in 1515, in Goa – Albuquerque.

Henrique de Meneses

  •  Viceroy of Portugal from 1524 to 1526 – Henrique de Meneses.

 Zamorin of Kozhikode  (1124 AD – 1806 AD) 

  • The dynasty which ruled Kozhikode at the time of arrival of the Portuguese – Nediyiruppu Swaroopam.
  • The rulers of Kozhikode are known as – Zamorin / Samoothiri.
  • 'Ariyittu Vazhcha' was the coronation ceremony of – Zamorin.
  • The annual conference of scholars all over India under the leadership of Zamorin – Revathi Pattathanam.
    • A 7-day event that starts on the Revathi nakshatra of Thulam month.
  • Revathi Pattathanam is held at – Thali temple, Kozhikode.
  • The Prime Minister of the Zamorin who announces the list of winners at Revathi Pattathanam – Mangat Achan.
  • The famous history book that discusses the origins of Kozhikode and Zamorins – Keralolpathi.
  • Zamorin at the time of Vasco da Gama's arrival – Manavikraman Raja.
  • The city of Kodungallur was captured from the Samoothiri in – 1504.

Kunjali Marakkars (1520 -1600)

  • The naval chiefs of Zamorin of Kozhikode are known as – Kunjali Marakkar.
  • First naval chief in the history of India – Kunjali Marakkar.
  • Kunjali Marakkars of Kozhikode – 
    • Kunjali Marakkar I / Ahmed Ali / Kuttyali Marakkar (1520-1531), 
    • Kunjali Marakkar II / Poker Ali (1531 -1571), 
    • Kunjali Marakkar III / Pathu Marakkar / Pattu Marakkar (1571-1595) & 
    • Kunjali Marakkar IV / Mohammed Ali Marakkar (1595-1600).
  • The Naval headquarters of Zamorin at the time of arrival of Vasco da Gama – Ponnani.
  • The Portuguese viceroy attacked the city of Kozhikode – Albuquerque.
  • The first naval force established on the Indian coast was led by – Kunjali Marakkar II.
  • Name of the Fort built by the Portuguese to face the threat of Kunjali Maraikar – Chalium Fort / Mullammel Fort.
    • The year in which Chalium Fort was built – 1531.
    • The Portuguese Viceroy / Governor who built Chalium Fort – Nuno da Cunha.
    • The fifth fort established by Portuguese in Kerala – Chalium Fort.
    • The cannon aimed at the throat of  Zamorin / സാമൂതിരിയുടെ കണ്ഠത്തിലേക്കു നീട്ടിയ പീരങ്കി  Chalium Fort.
    • The naval chieftain who completely destroyed the Chalium Fort – Kunjali Marakkar III (1971).
  • The Marakkar had the title 'അറബിക്കടലിന്റെ സിംഹം / Lion of the Arabian Sea' – Kunjali Marakkar III.
  • The only Marakkar who had died of natural causes – Kunjali Marakkar III.
  • The Marakar fort built under the leadership of Kunjali Marakkar III – Pudupattanam (On the banks of Akalapuzha).
  • The naval head who was known as the King of the Muslims (Malabar Moors) / Prince of Navigation – Kunjali Marakkar IV.
  • Kunjali Marakkar who titled himself as Lord Captain of the Indian Oceans – Kunjali Marakkar IV.
  • The last and fourth Kunjali Marakkar was assassinated by the Portuguese in – 1600 (Goa).
  • Kunjali Marakkar Memorial is located at – Iringal, Kozhikode.
  • The year in which a Postal Stamp was released by the India Postal Department in honor of Kunjali Marakkar – 2000.
  • The Naval Air Station commissioned by the Indian Navy to honor Kunjali Marakkars – INS Kunjali.
    • Commissioned in – 1 July 1954 (Mumbai).
  • New name of the Navy's Naval Air Station which was previously known as 'INS Kunjali'  INS Shikra.
    • Location –  Colaba, Mumbai.
  • The First Malayalam movie based on the life and times of Kunjali Marakkar – Kunjali Marakkar (1967).
    • Directed by – S.S. Rajan.
    • Lead Actor – Prem Nazir.
    • Lyrics – P. Bhaskaran.
    • Kunjali Marakkar – Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair.
    • Won the 14th National Award for the best feature film in Malayalam.
  • The Malayalam movie based on the life of Kunjali Marakkar – Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham.
    • Directed by – Priyadarshan.
    • Lead Actor – Mohanlal.
    • Won the National Award for the best feature film for the year 2019.

Books about the Destruction of Chalium Fort

  • The reference to the destruction of Chalium Fort can be found in the works of  – Sheikh Zainuddin Makhdoom II's  Tuhfat-ul-Mujahideen.
    • a 16th-century Muslim scholar from Ponnani.
    • Describes the Portuguese colonization in Kerala from 1498 to 1583 in Part 4, Chapter 13.
  • The first part of  Tuhfat-ul-Mujahideen describes – the need for the fight with the Portuguese.
  • The Fourth part of Tuhfat-ul-Mujahideen describes – the Portuguese Rule in Kerala.
  • To whom the book Tuhfat-ul-Mujahideen was submitted –  Ali Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur.
  • The first historical work of Kerala written by a Keralite – Tuhfat-ul-Mujahideen.

Fathul Mubeen 
  • A 16th-century Arabic poem glorifying the victory of Kunjali III, who helped the Zamorin to recapture the fort of Chaliam – Fathul Mubeen.
  • Author of Fathul Mubeen – Qazi Muhammad.
  • Malayalam meaning of the Arabic word 'Fathul Mubeen' – വ്യക്തമായ വിജയം.

War & Treaties between Portuguese & Zamorin

  • The battle of Kozhikode between the Portuguese and the Zamorin was in – 1510.
  • Kannur Treaty was signed between the Portuguese and the Zamorin in – 1513.
  • The battle of Kodungallur that happened between Zamothiri and the Kingdom of Kochi was in – 1514.
  • Ponnani Treaty was signed between the Portuguese and the Zamorin in – 1540.

Udayamperoor Sunnahadose / Synod of Diamper

  • Udayamperur Sunnahadose was in – 1599 (June 20-26).
  • Udayamperur Sunnahadose was convened by the – Portuguese.
  • The number of delegates who attended Udayamperur Sunnahadose – 813.
  • Udayamperur Sunnahados was presided by – Archbishop Aleixo de Menezes.
  • The event that caused the Christians of Kerala to come under the jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome – Udayamperur Sunnahadose.

Oath of the Coonan Cross / Koonan Kurishu Sathyam

  • The 'Oath of the Coonan Cross' against the appointment of Latin Bishop took place in – 1653.
  •  Oath of the Coonan Cross took place in  – Mattancherry.
  • The incident which marked the first permanent split among the St. Thomas Christians in Kerala – Oath of the Coonan Cross.

Annexation of Goa

  • The year Goa was liberated from the Portuguese – 1961.
  • Name India's military operation to liberate Goa – Operation Vijay (19 December 1961).
    • 36-hour long mission.
    • Lieutenant General Kunhiraman Palat Candeth
      Ottapalam-based Lieutenant General Kunhiraman Palat Candeth played an important role in the Liberation of Goa from Portuguese control.
  • The Indian Prime Minister at the time of Goa liberation – Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • The Indian President at the time of Goa liberation – Rajendra Prasad.
  • The Portuguese Governor General at the time of Goa liberation – Manuel António Vassalo e Silva.
  • Last Portuguese Governor General of India and the 128th Viceroy of India – Manuel António Vassalo e Silva.
  • Name the other territories that were freed from Portuguese domination along with Goa in 1961 – Daman and Diu.
  • First Lieutenant Governor of Goa – Lieutenant General Kunhiraman Palat Candeth.
  • India's sole referendum since independence took place in  – January 16, 1967 (The Goa Opinion Poll).
    • Goans voted against the merger and Goa remained as a Union Territory.
  • Goa was granted statehood on – 30 May 1987 (25th state).
  • Name the constitutional amendment act by which Goa was integrated towards the Indian Union – the 12th Amendment.

Portuguese Contributions to Kerala 

  • The first printing press in India was started by – the Portuguese (Goa, 1556).
  • The European forces who established printing houses in Kochi and Vypin – Portuguese. 
  • The first European school in India was started by – the Portuguese (Kochi).
    • The Jesuit missionaries had arrived in Kerala during the period of – the Portuguese.
  • The Portuguese built a palace for King Veerakeralavarma of Kochi in – Mattanchery (1555).
    • It was later renovated by the Dutch and became known as the Dutch Palace (1663).
  • The European colonists who Encouraged Scientific Farming System in Kerala – Portuguese. 
  • Agricultural crops and fruits brought to India by the Portuguese – 
    • Pineapple, 
    • Tapioca, 
    • Pineapple, 
    • Cashew, 
    • Papaya, 
    • Tobacco, 
    • Guava, 
    • Chili, 
    • Nutmeg (ജാതിക്ക), 
    • Sugar-apple (ആത്തക്ക).
  • Tobacco cultivation in India was started by – the Portuguese (Kasarcode).
  • The European forces who pushed industrial-scale coconut cultivation in Kerala, and coir is the principal export product  – the Portuguese.
  • The Christian art form 'Chavittu Natadam' was developed and popularized in Kerala by – the Portuguese.
  • The oldest synagogue in the commonwealth was built by – the Portuguese (Mattancherry, 1567).
Mattancherry Synagogue
  • The first church built by the Portuguese in India – St. Francis Church (Kochi).
  • The first and the oldest seminary established by the Portuguese in Kerala – Vypinkotta Seminary.
    •  part of Muziris Heritage Site of Kerala.
  • The architectural style introduced by the Portuguese to India in the 16th century – Gothic style.
  • The churches that were built by the Portuguese in Gothic style in India – St. Francis Church, and The Basilica of Bom Jesus (Goa).

Famous Works on Portuguese Occupation in Kerala

  • Malabar and the Portuguese (1929) – Sardar K.M. Panikkar.
  • Kunjali Marakkars: Myth and Reality – K. J. John.
  • The Silent Witness (Novel) – Anuradha.

Also Refer: 


  • Papal States – also known as the Republic of Saint Peter / the Church States, mainly a large no. of territories of central Italy over which the Popes had sovereignty (given to Pope via a historic document known as the Donation of Pepin by Pepin the Short, king of the Franks) from a period of 756 to 1870.
  • First Portuguese traveler to India (land) – Pêro da Covilhã.
  • The country with the highest proportion of Portuguese speakers – Brazil.
  • The third largest city in Kerala – Kozhikode.
  • Black Gold – Pepper.
  • King of spices – Pepper.
  • Prime Minister of Cochin – Paliath Achan.
  • Author of Keralolpathi – Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan.
  • Name the author of the famous work 'Tuhfatul Muwahhidin' – Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
  • What was the first poem discovered in Arabic Malayalam literature? Muhyadheen mala.
  • Author of Muhyadheen mala – Qazi Muhammad.
  • The foreign traveler visited Chalium in 1343 – Ibn Battuta (a Muslim Moroccan scholar).
  • Which temple is known as 'Dakshina Dwaraka'? Guruvayur.
  • The smallest state in India – Goa (3702 sq. km.)
  • Capital of Goa – Panaji.
  • First Chief Minister of Goa – Pratap Singh Rane.
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