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गोंयकार Goenkar Goesas
धर्मानंद दामोदर कोसंबी.jpg
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Regions with significant populations
Outside Republic of India ~300,000[1]
English, Portuguese, Marathi, Swahili and others
Christianity (Roman Catholicism) and Hinduism
Islam and others

Goans (Konkani: गोंयकार, Romi lipi: Goenkar, Portuguese: Goesas) is the demonym used to describe as the identity onto the people of Goa, state of the newly formed country in 1947 called the Republic of India from 1975 officially, who form an ethno-linguistic group resulting from the assimilation of Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Luso-Asians and Austro-Asiatic ethnic and/or linguistic ancestries.[2][3] They speak different dialects of Konkani natively.Goan Hindus refer to themselves as Konkane (Devanagari: कोंकणे), meaning the residents of an area broadly identified as Konkan.[4] Goans could either be fully Portuguese citizens or fully Indian citizens or fully Portuguese citizens with OCI (Overseas citizenship of India). Goanese is an incorrect usage for Goans.[5]

Epigraphical evidence[edit]

A copperplate dating early 4th century AD found in Shiroda, mentions one Devaraja of the Gominas, which is a reference to the Bhoja king ruling from Chandor, who is hailed as the ruler of the Goans or Gominas.[6]


Goans mainly speak the Konkani language, a Prakrit based language belonging to the Southern group of Indo-Aryan Languages. Various dialects of Konkani spoken by the Goans include Bardeskari, Sashtikari, Pednekari, Antruj bhasha, whereas Konkani spoken by the Catholics is notably different from those of the Hindus, with a lot of Portuguese influence in its vocabulary. Konkani was suppressed for official documentation use only not for unofficial use under the Portuguese governance, playing a minor part in education of the past generations. They are mostly multilingual and Marathi has played a significant role for Hindus near the borders of Goa close to Maharashtra and parts of Nova Goa conquest.

All Goans were educated in Portuguese in the past when Goa was an overseas province of Portugal. Many older Goan people today will have their mothertongue as Portuguese, because it has been such a huge influence. Almost all Goans are descendants of the Portuguese, as Portugal has influenced Goa for a considerably large amount of time, and most of whom are of mixed descent, speak Portuguese and are of Luso-Goan ethnicity.[7] Many Goans actually have a considerable amount of Portuguese in them, and tracing back family trees often proves that their family began with Portuguese people who lived many hundreds of years ago.

Many Goans identify their nationality as Portuguese-Goan, which is completely correct, as almost all Goans have much Portuguese ancestry, and Portuguese surnames also. Goans are often called 'Indians' by many people in the modern society, however this is incorrect, as even thought Goa is in India, it is a separate state, which has had separate leaders from the Indians until 1961. The term Portuguese-Goan is widely recognised, and is the most applicable term for Goan people.

They use Devanagari and Latin script for education as well as communication (personal, formal and religious). In the past Goykanadi, Modi, Kannada scripts were also used which later fell into disuse owing to many social, political and religious reasons.[8][9]


Goans are predominantly Hindu population followed by Roman Catholic population and small Muslim community. Hindus in Goa are divided into many different castes and sub-castes, known as Jatis. They use their village names to identify their clans, some of them use titles. Some are known by the occupation their ancestors have been practicing; Nayak, Borkar, Raikar, Prabhu, Kamat, Lotlikar, Chodankar, Naik, Bhat, Tari, Gaude are few examples.

The Catholics display a strong Portuguese influence in the form of a hierarchy and no caste, because of the 451 years as a Portuguese Empire overseas province.[citation needed] Portuguese names are common among the Christians. The Caste system is not followed by Goan Catholics or followed to a lesser degree as compared to other Indians mainly of peasant class.[10] However, there is a distinct Roman Catholic Brahmin community in Goa that is mainly endogamous. Many Catholic families also share Luso-Asian ancestry.

The native Muslims are small in number and are popularly known as Moir although Muhamedan was the word used in Portuguese to identify them, they are descendants of Mughals and Arab tradesmen. (Konkani: मैर ).[10]

Geographical distribution[edit]

Goans have been migrating all along the coast and across the world for the last six centuries because of many socio-religious and economic reasons. The diaspora are commonly known as the Konkani people, residing in the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala, and do not refer to themselves as Goans. Many Goans have settled in Mumbai (Bombay) in the last century and still identify themselves as Goans. Besides Mumbai, India's Goan population is mainly concentrated in the mega cities like Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Pune.[11]

Until the early 1970s there were substantial populations of Goans in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. There have also, historically, been Goans in former British colonies of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, and Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola. The end of colonial rule and the subsequent waves of expulsion of Indians from Kenya and Uganda forced the community to migrate elsewhere, however.[11] The Gulf News put the number of Goans residing outside India as approximately 300,000.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Young NRIs trace their roots in Goa". Gulf News. December 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  2. ^ Pereira, José (2000). Song of Goa: mandos of yearning. Aryan Books International. pp. 234 pages. ISBN 9788173051661. 
  3. ^ Cabral e Sá, Mário (1997). Wind of fire: the music and musicians of Goa. Promilla & Co. pp. 373 pages(see page 62). ISBN 9788185002194. 
  4. ^ Kulakarṇī, Indian Council of Historical Research, A. Rā (2006). Explorations in the Deccan history Volume 9 of Monograph series. Pragati Publications in association with Indian Council of Historical Research. pp. 217 pages(see page 129). ISBN 9788173071089. 
  5. ^ Pinto, Cecil (2003-11-07). "Goanese & non-Goans". Goa Today magazine. Goa Publications. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  6. ^ De Souza, Teotonio R. (1990). Goa Through the Ages: An economic history, Volume 2. Concept Publishing Company. p. 8. ISBN 9788170222590. 
  7. ^ Sakshena, R.N. (2003). Goa: Into the Mainstream. Abhinav Publications. pp. 156 pages(page:9). ISBN 9788170170051. 
  8. ^ Indian archives. Volume 34. National Archives of India. National Archives of India. p. 1985. 
  9. ^ Kamat, Krishnanand Kamat. "The origin and development of Konkani language". www.kamat.com. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Śiroḍakara, Mandal,, Pra. Pā,H. K. ,Anthropological Survey of India. People of India: Goa Volume 21 of People of India, Kumar Suresh Singh Volume 21 of State Series, Kumar Suresh Singh. 1993: Anthropological Survey of India. pp. 283 pages. ISBN 9788171547609. 
  11. ^ a b De Souza, Teotonio R. (1989). Essays in Goan history. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 219 pages(see pages 187–190). ISBN 9788170222637.