His achievement raised the international prestige of this country. Under Papal authority the king of Portugal styled himself Lord of the Navigation, conquest and commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia and India.
Vasco-da-Gama received friendly treatment from the Hindu ruler of Calicut, named Zamorin; He collected information about the Malabar market, and sailed for Portugal in 1499. Next year Carbal arrived at Calicut and established a factory here.
His plan to eliminate the Arab merchants from Malabar involved him in a quarrel with the Zamorin who favoured them. But the Raja of Cochin, an enemy of Zamorin became a friend of the Portuguese.
The desire to divert the Portugal all the trade of East with Europe involved the Portuguese in the political rivalry of the rulers of Malabar. Vasco-da-Gama established a factory at Cochin. He tried to terrorise the Arab merchants.
He returned in 1502. He was followed by Alfonso De-Albuquerque in 1503. He gave military support to the Raja of Cochin when the letters territory was invaded by Zamorin.
The Portuguese decided to put their affairs in charge of viceroy who would remain at Malabar for three years. Aloneida, the first viceroy, built forts at Anjadiva, Cannanore and Cochin, thereby laying the foundation of Portuguese military power on land.
The other important developments were the destruction of the fleet of the Zamorin and a victory over an Egyptian fleet trying to expel the Portuguese from the Indian Ocean. The Raja of Cochin submitted fully to the Portuguese control.
The real founder of the Portuguese empire in the East was Albuquerque. He came to India in 1509. He captures Goa from the sultan of Bijapur and made it headquarters of the Portuguese empire in the East.
Its fortifications were strengthened; its commercial importance was-increased outside he occupied Malacca and Ormuz. He consolidated the Portuguese sea-power by establishing naval bases from Ormuz to Malacca.
This place commanded the trade route between India and China and was largely responsible for the prosperity of Macca and Cairo. Its occupation by the Portuguese made Venice completely dependant on the Portuguese for supply of Indian goods with a view to eliminate the danger of reprisal by the Muslim traders Albuquerque tried to Aden in 1513, but failed in his mission.
However, in 1515 the Portuguese succeeded in establishing their control over ormuz, and island in the Persian Gulf. He also established a factory at Colombo in Ceylone. Albuquenque made Goa the Portuguese headquarter and increased its commercial importance by compelling all the ships sailing in the neighbourhood to visit the port.
Albuquerque was an ambitious person. He strengthened the naval power and tried to control the places which commanded the trade route. He realised that the three key to the eastern trade were Malacca, Ormuz and Aden.
He secured complete control of the first two and almost succeeded the third. But probably the important step which helped in establishing Portuguese colony in India was the encouragement given to the Portuguese to marry Indian ladies and settle down in India.
He established a number of name bases which not only enabled the Portuguese to control all the sea borne trade but also placed the foreign vessels at the mercy of Portuguese.
There was also some important settlement established by successors of Albuquerque near the sea. The most important they were Hugli, Bombay, Salsette, and Basein.
However, with the march of time most of the settlements with the exception of Goa, Daman and Deu were cost. These three territories continued to be under Portuguese control in till 1961. The Government of India occupied Goa in 1961.
The Portuguese failed to establish their power in India. Although the Portuguese were the first European power the acquire control over India they failed to establish an empire in India as the English later on. The chief causes of the failure of the Portuguese can be summed up as under:
1. Portugal was a small country with limited resources in men and money, failed to keep effective control on India. This was particularly so, in view of the fact that they has also to protect Brazil in South Africa, because it had greater importance in their eyes. The Portuguese diverted their attention and resources to Brazil at the cost of their Indian possessions.
2. The Portuguese administration in India was corrupt. The salaries of the official were low and consequently they felt no hesitation in accepting bribes. The bulk of the Portuguese were selfish. Unmindful of the suffering of the people, they were bent upon making fortunes for themselves. The means did not matter to them.
3. The religious policy of the Portuguese was also responsible for their ruin. The Portuguese introduced the Inquisition into India and they committed atrocities on those who were not Christians.
They used all kinds of methods for the conversion of the people of India to Christianity. Their coercive methods created bitterness in the minds of the people. In 1540, all the Hindu temples in the Island of Goa were destroyed under the orders of their king.
The Franciscan missionaries arrived in 1517 and Goa became the centre of an immense propaganda. The Portuguese authorities in India did not care for the people.
The civil authorities at Goa wrote to their King in 1552 thus. “In India, there is no justice either in your viceroy or in those who are to meet it out. The one object is gathering together of money by every means.”
4. The establishment of the Mughal Empire was also partly responsible for Portuguese failure. At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese did not meet any great opposition. However, after the accession of Akbar in 1556, the Mughal power began to grow.
The Mughal were able to bring practically the whole of India under their control. Under these circumstances there was no scope for the growth of Portuguese power on the mainland of India.
5. In 1580, Portugal came under the control of Spain. The result was that the Spanish interests predominated and that Portuguese interests were subordinated. Various restrictions were put on Portuguese enterprise in the interests of Spain. Lisbon, which was once the depot of Europe, lost all its importance.
Worthless Spanish Officers were sent to the Portuguese possessions in India and these persons tried to make as much money as possible unmindful of its effect on the people of the country. These Spanish favourites ruined the Portuguese cause in the country.
6. The Portuguese who came to India were characterised by great individual courage, enthusiasm for conquest, personal and national pride but May of them were cruel, factious and domineering. Their early success encouraged their inborn arrogance. No wonder, they came to regard the Asiatics in general as their natural subjects.
As very few Portuguese women came from Europe, they were encouraged to marry Indian women. It was hoped that in this way the Portuguese settlements in India would become self-supporting in soldiers and sailors.
Unfortunately, the mixed race which came into existence was inferior to the original stock, less brave. But not less arrogant, increasingly avaricious and corrupt. Records of gallant exploits became fewer, and instances of treachery and capacity increased.
The Portuguese came to be detested by the people of India and no wonder that in course of time their empire in India became an insignificant one.
Lastly, the Portuguese had to compete with the all other European companies, who were superior in military training and French who were far superior in warfare and equipment. Above all, the most discipline and powerful were the English. Hence, Portuguese power in India faced competition with other European powers.