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The Goan community of London

A maritime culture
The priest and the company
The Goans of Bombay
Lascars in the East End
Colonial clerks
The exodus
A Konkani translation of the full story
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The priest and the company

First Englishman in Goa

Street Scene in Goa.
View full size imageStreet Scene in Goa. © NMM
One of the first Englishmen to live in Goa was the Jesuit priest, Father Thomas Stephens (1549-1619). He left Europe when he was 30 and spent the rest of his life in Goa.

Following Spain's invasion of Portugal in 1580, relations with England worsened.  In 1584, Spain and England were at war.  The Spanish king, Phillip II, attempted to invade England in 1588, but his great armada was defeated.

Thomas Stephens produced the first Konkani grammar book in Latin. Through his influence one of the first printing presses in South Asia was built at Goa. His letters to his family in England were one of the inspirations for the formation of the English East India Company in 1600.

Improving relations

The Sea Ingagment betwixt the Portuges and Dutch near Goa

View full size imageThe Sea Ingagment betwixt the Portuges and Dutch near Goa .© NMM

After the Treaty of Madrid in 1630, relations between England and Spain improved. This resulted in the visit of eight English ships to Goa between 1635 and 1639.

Portugal's independence from Spain after 1640 led to the re-establishment of Anglo-Portuguese relations.

The 1642 Convention of Goa and the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty let the English trade at all Portuguese bases around the world except for Macao.

Favourite port

Between 1700 and 1784 about 60 East India Company ships are known to have called at Goa. Ships' journals show that many East India Company captains spent Christmas in Goa.

As well as picking up fresh water from Fort Aguada, Goa also provided Arrack/Urrak alcohol, firewood and meat, in the form of live 'hogs and bullocks'. The last two meats were rare in Moslem and Hindu areas under British influence.

Fort Aguada, Goa.
View full size image Fort Aguada, Goa. © NMM

Sometimes the East India Company ships would take on Goan and other Asian seaman known as Lascars for the return voyages.

Lascar is a Persian word, and entered English from the Portuguese word Lascarim, meaning a non-European seaman. 

Goa, Een vermaerde koopstad in het Portugals Indie, aen den mond der rivier Gacis
View full size image Goa, Een vermaerde koopstad in het Portugals Indie, aen den mond der rivier Gacis. © NMM


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GalleriesGoan crewman collection
Images of Goan crewman and the ships they sailed.
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
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