Goa Liberation Day Date in the current year: December 19, 2024

Goa Liberation Day Goa Liberation Day is an annual observance held on December 19. It commemorates the anniversary of the day when Goa was liberated from Portuguese colonial rule and became part of India.

Although the British Empire was the most successful in colonizing the Indian subcontinent, it was Portugal that founded the first European colony in India. In 1498, Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama became the first European to reach India by sea, reaching the Malabar Coast. Twelve years later, Afonso de Albuquerque led the Portuguese conquest of Goa and established the first Portuguese settlement there.

Portugal conquered many parts of the western coast of India and even established several colonies in the east, but lost most of its Indian territories by the end of the 19th century. The Portuguese Empire strove to keep control over Goa because of its strategic importance.

Most Goans living under Portuguese colonial rule resented the colonial authorities because of their brutal policies and constant attempts to convert locals to Christianity. One of the first revolts against the Portuguese was the so-called Conspiracy of the Pintos (A Conjuração dos Pintos) in 1787. Interestingly, it wasn’t led by locals but by several Portuguese missionaries. The conspiracy was made known to the authorities, who arrested and punished everyone involved.

In total there were over a dozen revolts against Portuguese colonial rule in Goa, none of them successful. After the 1910 revolution resulting in the overthrow of the Portuguese monarchy, Portuguese colonies hoped they would be granted self-determination, but it didn’t happen. When the new republican government did nothing to change colonial policies, an organized anti-colonial movement emerged in Goa.

In 1928, Tristão de Bragança Cunha founded the Goa National Congress that was recognized by the All-India Congress Committee. In response to the growing anti-colonial movement, Portugal restricted political meetings and rallies within its colonies, as well as introduced a policy of compulsory conscription, which made Goans resent the colonial government even more.

In 1947, British India achieved independence, which enabled Indian nationalist leaders to shift their focus to assisting the anti-colonial movements in French India and Portuguese India. Unfortunately, Jawaharlal Nehru’s diplomatic efforts turned out unsuccessful because Portugal was unwilling to give up its Indian colonies at any cost.

The independence struggle that followed was a combination of various tactics including nonviolent demonstrations inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha approach, revolutionary methods, and diplomatic efforts. Unfortunately, none of these tactics seemed to work.

Finally, India proclaimed that Goa should join it “either will full peace or with full use of force” and began military preparations. In a military operation conducted in December 1961, Indian troops captured and annexed Goa. On December 19, Portugal surrendered, and the territory of Goa was incorporated into the Republic of India. The anniversary of this event is now celebrated as Goa Liberation Day.

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