The conditions of the Iberian Peninsula during the 15th century set the tone for a major shift in the geo-political and commercial status quo of the Old World. In the aftermath of the Age of Discovery, newly charted sea routes to India allowed for the direct flow of lucrative trade from the East to European markets. Styled as a seafaring culture, the Portuguese engineered superior ships with advanced technology and mastered the art of navigation to establish hegemony over the Indian Ocean that would last for a century. Unlike the contemporary Spanish, or the succeeding Dutch, French or English, the Portuguese did not build an extensive inland empire, but devised systems and strung together strategically located fortified coastal trade centres to constitute a littoral empire that was ideally suited to their requirements. These Portuguese spheres of influence formed and evolved space specific cultural identities arising from the prolonged interaction between the Portuguese and the existing socio-cultural and linguistic milieu. The built heritage, social practices and cultural habits of these spaces reflect the dynamism of this interaction.
1. The Prelude: Portugal and the building of an Empire
2. Expansion: Goa, the new capital of Estado da India
3. Integration: The Portuguese Northern Provinces
4. Localisation: The rise and fall of Bacaim – a case study
5. The Aftermath: A tale of two towns – Vasai and Korlai
About The Speaker
André Baptista is Research Consultant at the Maritime History Society, Mumbai and Visiting Faculty for Archaeology at the Kamla Raheja Vidynidhi Institute of Architecture and Environmental Studies, Juhu. He has a doctorate in Landscape and Environmental Archaeology from the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute, Pune. André has represented Universities as well as the Archaeological Survey of India at a number of explorations and excavations at sites ranging from the prehistoric to the early medieval. In November 2017 he was appointed Assistant Editor of Man and Environment, the biannual journal of the Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies (ISPQS), Pune. He has co-edited the2017 felicitation volume ‘Rethinking the Past: A Tribute to Prof. V.N. Misra’ published by ISPQS. He was a consultant, and a contributing author of the subsection on “Heritage” for Spenta Multimedia’s “The Endless City: Mumbai”, a book by the District Planning Committee, Collector Office, Mumbai Suburban District.