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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 exodus

The Goans uprooted

Diesel train of Kenya Railways.
View full size image Diesel train of Kenya Railways. © NMM
Goan seamen continued to arrive in the Port of London during the inter-war years on BISNC and P&O vessels and, after the Second World War into the 1960s, on ships of the P&O line. The movement towards independence in Africa in the 1960s led to the replacement of Goans by Africans in the civil services of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

As British passport holders, the Asians of East Africa were forced to leave the region - and this migration accelerated after 1967. This became known as the 'Exodus'. The expulsion of the Goans from Uganda in 1972 resulted in a further increase in the London Goan community, though most of them settled in Canada.

Goans today

Goan CuisineĀ  Plumstead, Greenwich.
View full size image Goan Cuisine  Plumstead, Greenwich. © NMM
The Goans living in the Port of London today are mainly from East Africa. However, more then 30% of them have at least one ancestor who came to London as a crewman on a merchant ship in the two centuries before.

The composition of the present Goan population of London is quite different from that of Goa. This British Asian community is almost entirely from the largest region of Goa, and particularly from three original coastal counties (talukas) known as the Old Conquests.

The London community

The London community is 98% Catholic and English-speaking, and over 90% of the community has historical links with East Africa. By contrast the population of Goa:

  • is spread widely geographically
  • has a Hindu majority (65%)
  • is mostly Konkani speaking with a large Marathi minority.

As the Goan community is predominantly middle class it has tended to move away from the inner city areas, where most of them first settled. 


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Find out more
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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