Goan Catholics under the British Empire

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Goan Catholics are Roman Catholics from Goa, a state on the western coast of India. They are Konkani people and speak the Konkani language. They were converted by the Portuguese from 1560 onwards. Goa was a Portuguese colony and subsequently a territory from 1510–1962.[1]

While most Goan Catholics remained in Goa, some did not accept the leadership of the Portuguese and emigrated to many British colonies of India.


Goans first worked for the British in 1779 at the time of the French Revolution, when the naval fleet of the British India Government was stationed in Goa. The British found the Christian Goans were eminently suitable because of their Western dress, diet and customs and when the fleets withdrew from Goa some time afterward, the Goans went with them. Goans who trained at the medical school also moved to other Portuguese colonies around 1842 after the first medical school was created Goans migrated to British India as well where there were more opportunities and economic development was occurring, which led to a demand for English language schools for these migrants which surpassed that of those educated in Portuguese. However, such was the demand that Goans began sending their children to neighbouring cities such as Bombay, Poona and Belgaum. Employment opportunities also arose in Karachi, Pakistan.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Prabhu, Alan Machado (1999). Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians. I.J.A. Publications. ISBN 978-81-86778-25-8.  Contents taken from Sarasvati's Children article, written by Joe Lobo, the President of the Goan Catholic Association in Florida. This article has been borrowed mainly from Alan Machado's above book.
  2. ^ Haward 1980, p. 342


  • Haward, Raffat Khan (1980), "An Urban Minority: The Goan Christian Community in Karachi", The City in South Asia: pre-modern and modern (illustrated ed.), Curzon Press 

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