PortCities London

The Goan community of London

The Goans of Bombay

New British subjects

To the.... Directors of the [East India Company].... this View of Bombay ....
View full size image View of Bombay.
Bombay (now called Mumbai) was given to England in 1661 as part of the dowry of the Portuguese Catherine of Braganza when she married Charles II. This meant that the Goans of Bombay became English subjects.

Charles II loaned Bombay to the East India Company. Goa was one of the best natural harbours, located halfway between the pepper ports of south west India and Bombay or Surat. It became a frequent port of call for East India Company ships.

First military action

The Attack made on Geriah Fort By Rear Admiral Watson, 13th. Feb. 1756 (plan)
View full size image The attack made on Geriah Fort by Rear Admiral Watson, 13 February 1756.
Indo-Portuguese men were first used in a military situation by Admirals Pocock and Watson in 1756.

They took part in the attack on Geriah, capital of the pirate Tulagee Angria, who had been attacking Portuguese and British shipping.

The Capture of Geriah, February 1756
View full size imageThe Capture of Geriah, February 1756.
Three hundred 'Topaze' Indo-Portuguese from Bombay were in the British force. The word Topaze means that these men were Christians, who could therefore perform any duties that Hindus were not allowed to do. Hindu laws restricted work and food preparation to particular castes.  

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