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Estado Português da Índia. Exploring the India – Macau Connection.

Migration has long been part of the history of the people that presently live in the area that constitutes the Indian state of Goa. In fact, though individual DNA profiles vary considerably for the peoples of Goa, recent DNA suggest that most Goans are basically of South Asian ethnic stock and that Goans are the result of global migrations. Hinduism and Buddhism came early to Goa.


Transcript of a Speech by Professor Cliff Pereira FRGS, Club Lusitano, 27 April 2022


Goa before the Portuguese


Way back from 3rd to 6th centuries AD Goa was ruled from the city of Chandrapur, now the village of Chandor. This river-side city was an important trading port and attracted Persian, Byzantine, Ethiopian and later Arab traders before their adoption of Islam. Fast forward. In the fifteenth century the Indian Ocean was dominated by Muslim traders. Goa too had her own Konkani-speaking Muslims and came under the Bahmani Sultanate who constructed a new city at Old Goa which became a transit port for Indian Muslims travelling to and from Mecca on the Hajj. It was also part of a thriving horse and pearl trade from the Persian Gulf. Persian influences exist in the Konkani language and in the food. Goans had acquired several grain-based recipes for sweets which were known collectively as halva or Haluwa. There is a suggestion of Persian Jewish influences in Goan semolina-based recipes.


Arrival of the Portuguese

The belief that Vasco Da Gama sailed to an unknown land is false. His arrival in Calicut in 1498 had little to do with “disco ver y” other than par tial l y discovering a new and longer route to Asia around Africa. Da Gama’s arrival in India with the help of a Muslim pilot and the Africans who provided victuals to the tiny fleet along the way creates one side of a triangular relationship that would develop between Portugal, Goa and Macau. Of the four ships that sailed out, only two returned and 55 crewmen survived the journey.



Vasco da Gama

On Da Gama’s third voyage to India, he contracted malaria and died at Cochin. Where he was initially buried. His body now lies at the Monastery of Heironymites in Belém, Lisbon, opposite that of Luís de Camōes.


First Encounters – Jews

The Portuguese had detailed knowledge of India transmitted through Arab and Jewish geographers and cartographers. The Jews of Cochin had long traded pepper across the Arabian Sea to Aden and Basra. For centuries before Christ, the Beni Israel Jews along the west coast of India had produced coconut oil and traded it westwards.



First Encounters – Christians and Muslims There were also Christians in Kerala who had been there since at least the 1st Century. Jews, Christians and Muslims had over time become acculturated in dress and language but kept their religious identity and had reached a healthy business relationship with the Hindus. Portuguese vessels arriving in Asia were devoid of women and since their arrival in Cochin, Portuguese men entered liaisons with local women. Some of these were legitimate liaisons, but initially most were illegitimate ones. Iberian and coastal South Asian cultures fused as a result. Here you see the cultural similarities.


The conversion of mixed heritage people into the Catholic church added a religious element to these first Eurasians. Additionally, the evangelisation of local Jews, Hindus and some Chaldean Christians resulted in another group of people who became increasingly Lusitanised. Their names were provided by the religious authorities and their surnames were based on local bishops, viceroys and privileged people.


The Cultural Fusion

Portuguese vessels arriving in Asia were devoid of women and since their arrival in Cochin, Portuguese men entered liaisons with local women. Some of these were legitimate liaisons, but initially most were illegitimate ones. Iberian and coastal South Asian cultures fused as a result.


The conversion of mixed heritage people into the Catholic church added a religious element to these first Eurasians. Additionally, the evangelisation of local Jews, Hindus and some Chaldean Christians resulted in another group of people who became increasingly Lusitanised.Their names were provided by the religious authorities and their surnames were based on local bishops, viceroys and privileged people.



After Afonso de Alburqueque’s campaign and the capture of Goa in 1510 the process of Iberian acculturation was repeated in Goa, Bombay, Bassien, and other parts of the Indian coast. It became reflected in art as you see here, in architecture, dress, food and language. Portuguese words entered most Indian languages and a creole Portuguese developed along the Western coast of India. Of course at the same time Indian words entered the Portuguese language.

The arrival of Jorge Alvares in China in 1513 inaugurated SinoPortuguese relationships, which were at first a diplomatic failure and conducted illegally along the South China coast. However, by 1560 Macau was an established Portuguese base.




Early Portuguese Goa

16th century Goa consisted of three counties, Bardez, Ilhas and Salcette, separated by rivers and guarded by forts. Civil administration was given to the church.

The Franciscans were given the province of Bardez, the Jesuits led by Francisco de Jasso y Azpilucueta of Javier, later known as St Francis Xavier were given Salcette. The middle area consisting of the city of Goa and the surrounding islands – or Ilhas was a mixture of Franciscan, Jesuit, Dominican, Augustinian and Carmalite orders.


Each order was granted properties donated by converts, or taken from the defeated Muslims. Income from these lands paid not only for activities in Goa, but also for their work in Africa, China and Japan. The income from the palm groves owned at my mother’s village in Bardez contributed to the initial Jesuit activities in Macau.

The Hindus retreated beyond the borders, taking their religious objects with them to temples such as this one (below).



Flora, Fauna and Marine Encounters

The Portuguese first encountered the coconut tree when they arrived in the Indian Ocean. They thought that the nut resembled a skull with its two eyes and a small third spot. They called it coco, after a term used for skull in Galicia and Northern Portugal. This was the “tree of life” of tropical Asia. The coconut tree produced coconut milk and oil. The palms made roof thatch, mats, screens,baskets for fishing and brooms, and the wood was used on outriggers. Most importantly, coconut husk was used to make ships rope.


The Portuguese also found the Goans using a kind of oyster shell as window-panes in their stone temples, merchant’s homes and palaces.


This was adopted for churches which were often built on top of former Hindu shrines or temples. This Goan architectural aspect was exported by the Portuguese to East Africa, Southeast Asia and Macau as you see here.



Goan Society in the 16th to 18th Centuries

Very few Portuguese settled in Asia. In Goa different terms were used to describe the groups of people in this hybrid society, but today they are all considered academically as Luso-Indians.

Understanding Luso-Indian culture is important to understanding which peoples left Goa for Macau and why they did so. It also offers a valuable insight into early Macanese society.

Nine major elements can be discerned in medieval Luso-Indian culture.



The Communities of Portuguese-Goa (a) Like the earlier images these images are from a codex produced by a Goan artist in the early 16th Century that captures these elements and their daily interactions. Uniquely Christian Goan villages were caste-based in that one or two higher castes predominated and where wardswere often dominated by clans.

Marriage was usually between villages of similar caste rather than within the village. The church, especially the Jesuits, privileged the Brahmin caste in the clergy and the Brahmins and Chardos were the largest land-owners. But they also employed tenant farmers of their own and other castes.


The Communities of Portuguese-Goa (b)

With the exception of the aboriginals all of these communities travelled to Macau. A point to be made is that slaves in Goa were of various ethnic origins as they had been before the Portuguese arrived.


The Portuguese contributions to Goan cuisine

Plants especially from the Americas such as the potato, tomato and tobacco were passed on to the Goans. Who quickly substituted fiery Mexican chillies for milder pepper, and replaced Persian almonds with Brazilian cashews. They also adopted the process of baking risen bread – the familiar Pão in place of flatbreads.


Portuguese sailors travelled with casks of pork pickled with garlic, salt and wine (carne de vinha d’alhos). The wine quickly turned to vinegar on the long tropical journey. The Goans combined garlic with their own palm vinegar and spices to produce the famous vindaloo.








The humid Goan weather was not suitable for the production of European sausages, so palm vinegar and spices were used to produce the pickled Goan chouriço.









The Malay contributions to Goan cuisine

The Portuguese brought enslaved women from Southeast Asia to Goa who introduced their own recipes such as the coconut and palm sugar Malay sweet called dodol. They also produced a yellow rice dish with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamon from the spice islands. The dish was therefore called nasi pulau which means “island rice” in Bahasa Malay.


Africans brought a recipe of chicken marinated in lime or tamarind juice, but the Goans added spices from Indonesia, coriander and the Indian “culinary trinity” of garlic, onions and ginger to make the famous green chicken cafreal. – the ancestor of Thai green curry.


Portugal-Goa-Macau. More than a triangular relationship

Clearly the relationship between Portugal, Goa and Macau is more than a simple triangular relationship. The Portuguese consolidation of Malacca, Macau and a host of other ports in Southeast Asia, led to the spread of the cultural blueprint that had been developed first in Cochin and then solidified in Goa. This blueprint was further fashioned by local influences and most of all by migrations. What we are looking at below is an Indian Ocean network that the Portuguese embedded themselves into.

Five distinct historical phases of Luso-Asian migration can be discerned

While Portuguese European settlement in Macau essentially covers the period from 1553 to 1850. It is possible to trace Luso-Asian family movements through two, if not all of these migratory phases.


16th Century – The First Dispersal


The first migration consisted of those displaced by Portuguese activities, as refugees freeing the inquisition, soldiers, sailors, merchants, slaves and servants. Portuguese Christian and Jewish men were early arrivals in the Portuguese Indies. Alongside Luso-Asians and Luso-Africans these Portuguese became mercenaries attaining profits and social benefits in indigenous states eager to acquire European military and commercial trappings including Mughal India, Burma and Siam. In Goa the inquisition changed from being anti-Jewish, to being anti-Hindu, anti-Protestant and almost everything that was not perceived as Catholic and Iberian.

Christian Luso-Indians of high caste from Goa re-established themselves at Mangalore, Bangalore and Bombay. Portuguese and Luso-Asian men became pirates in the Bay of Bengal. In short, new Luso-Asian communities came into being, and after 1557 and the Macanese was one of these. They were followed by the Jesuits and Dominicans.







The farthest reaches of the Indies Trade and religion became firmly entangled under the Jesuits in East Asia and Macau was at the centre of a lucrative trade between Japan and China, within which Luso-Asian, Asian and Af rican cre wmen were fundamental. The Japanese painted them on their Namban Biombos.


Goan, Malay, African and Japanese women arrived in Macau as slaves, concubines, servants and wives bringing with them their recipes. We also know that Goan clerics were present in Macau in the second half of the Sixteenth century.


All of these ethnic elements added to the Meçtico mix. In both Goa and Macau education for the growing number of Meçticos and select converts fell to the religious orders. Knowledge of Asian medicine, botany, zoology, philosophy and art was passed to the Jesuits.


The End of “Golden Goa”

A famine and locust invasion the plague hit Goa in 1635. Followed by a rare earthquake in 1648. In 1661 the Portuguese ceded the islands of Bombay to the English who leased them to the East India Company. Thereafter the Luso-Asians of Bombay became known as the East Indians. The Portuguese Nau fleets were quickly replaced with vessels of the Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company by the end of the eighteenth century.


17th -18th Centuries. The Second Dispersal– The Decline of Old Goa

The second migratory phase of LusoAsians was from Portuguese possessions into the possessions of the Dutch, French and British. In Macau, Goan, Chinese and Portuguese masons and carpenters constructed the São Laurenço Church overlooking the sea and the church subsequently became associated with sailors.


In Goa, Luso-Indian merchants became increasingly targeted by the inquisition, especially those of Jewish or Hindu origin. Even Goan clergy were targeted. A serious division formed in the religious orders between the Portuguese from Portugal or Reinóis plus the Castiços on one side and the native converts on the other. I am going to look at two areas of Goa and indeed two communities that transferred from Goa to Macau. One from North Goa and one in South Goa.


Within easy reach of the city the islands of Divar and Chorão had always been a convenient area for the mansions of Portuguese Reinós and for the mixed-race Castiços elite of Goa. But now they abandoned the Old City altogether leaving a collection of churches and the inquisition offices. The elite also moved down river to Ribandar and Panjim. In the process the Reinós and Castiços intermarried and also married into the land-owning Goan Christian families. This represents the Northern area and the blue dots represent the new settlement areas.


The Southern Goa area is centred on Margão which was an important Brahmin settlement connected to Brahmin-dominated villages.


A family connection. Portugal-Goa-Macau



Near the geographical centre of Portugal beside the middle Tagus was the village of Tancos. Manuel Vicente Rosa (1680-1751) was one of two brothers who was attracted by opportunitiesoverseas. Leaving his brothers to care for the land and family he travelled downriver to Lisbon and sailed for a Goa in decline and onto Macau in 1704 and amassed a fortune in trade achieving high political positions that brought him close to the Vice-Roy in Goa.


The Goan Interlude

Manuel’s nephew, António Rosa followed his uncle. In Goa he married Filipa Pereira and lived in Old Goa where they had four children who were baptised and buried at the church of São Pedro, Panelim (shown here). The eldest one Ana Rosa Pereira de Azevedo married António Felix Braga of Ribandar, Goa (died 1785) in 1769. Another nephew of Manuel V Rosa, Simão V. Rosa (died in 1773) also left for Macau where he married Maria de Araújo Barros. According to genealogists Jorge Forjaz this is the basis of the Rosa Braga and Rosa Pereira families of Macau, Shanghai and Hong Kong.


Another of the early Macanese families originating in Goa, is that of Francisco Rangel da Costa (b.1680) a descendente of the Parish of São Bartolomeu in Chorão (shown here below). Francisco was a merchant and a shipowner, an important person in the (Câmara) and a patron of the Misericórdia of Macau in the early eighteenth century. His son Francisco Rangel da Costa Jnr. (1720-1801) was born married in Macau. Da Costa (Jnr) was a naval captain engaged in the trade with India from 1750. The family had a vast Asian trading network.

They were ship-owners and one of them was granted a Knight of the Order of Christ in 1810 having assisted the Portuguese royal family in exile at Rio De Janeiro.


The Cholera epidemic of 1777, may have prompted some migration, including that of Rogério de Faria (1770-1848) who was from Chorão, Goa. He had moved to Bengal by 1796 and appears to have gone to Macau seeing an opportunity to import opium from Bengal. British subjects were not allowed to import opium into Macau, and most opium was produced in Bengal. In 1798 Faria was granted a licence to establish an office in Macau and subsequently shifted his base from Macau to Bombay. The East India Company was establishing a monopoly over the Opium trade from Bengal to China. With the Portuguese crown exiled to Brazil, Faria saw a new opportunity and established contacts in Brazil and its lucrative tobacco trade via Goa to Macau.


The Barretto Clan

A young man whose was mother was Christian but whose father was Hindu left Goa for Bombay where he married Páscoa De Sousa who was from the Reino community. He was baptised taking on his godfather’s surname as Antonio Lorenzo Barretto. Their second son Luis Barretto de Souza (1715-1806) was born and educated in Bombay. He founded the firm L. Barretto & Company in Calcutta.


This Baretto clan established the first insurance business in Macau, which insured the cargos of merchants involved in the China trade. Luis Barretto’s brother John Barretto (1736 – 1786) was a Bombay merchant, who established The Bombay Charity School (later called the Barretto High School) in 1782 near the Cavel Chapel, Bombay, where poor children were taught Portuguese, English and Latin. The school is still functioning.

Another member of the clan was established at Calcutta, the centre of the East India Company. The Barrettos had contact in Macau with Rogério de Faria since he also was involved in the Bengal–China trade. This is the origin of the Barretto families of Bombay, Goa and Macau.

But there was another group from Goa who found themselves in Macau. From 1783 to 1810Goan Sepoys were employed in the garrison at Macau and they contributed to the Meçtizo population.


Early 19th Century. The Third Dispersal – The lure of British India. As the Macanese move to Hong Kong and Manila After their ban in 1759 from Portugal’s overseas possessions, the Jesuit estates were handed over to prominent local Goan families and in the nineteenth century another group of people ventured to Macau. These were an elite group of Goan Brahmin and Chardo Catholics who had access to Portugueselanguage schools.


The Figueiredo Clan

One of these people was Henrique Figueiredo (1790-1840) of Loutulim, Salcette who obtained his Letters in Medicine in Goa in 1823 and moved to Macau to where he hoped to practice medicine. He married Ana Teresa Brandão in 1831 in the Igreja de S. Domingos, Macau. The couple had seven children who were the origin of the Figueirido clan in Macau. Another Goan to come to Macau was João Baptista Gomes (1800-1889) a lawyer also from Loutelim who arrived in Macau around 1825. He also married into the Brandão family. Miguel Q. Gracias (1783-1847 from Salcette and probably the village of Chinchinim was also a graduate of the Goa School of medicine. He went to Macau where he married Rita Esmeralda Xavier (1783-1847) in 1814 and opened a pharmacy on Rua de Praia Grande. The Alvarez clan of Macau associated with their many doctors, were originally descendants in administration based in Diu, who turned to the Portuguese educational establishments at Margão in the late 1800’s and were privileged to study in Lisbon.


Late 19th Century. The Fourth Dispersal – Eastern Africa and “the Gulf ”. As the Macanese moved from Macau and Hong Kong to Shanghai, Yokohama and Tokyo

Many historians have researched and commented on the departure of the Macanese after the destruction of Guangzhou at the end of the Opium Wars. Hong Kong, Shanghai, Yokohama and Bangkok became prime destinations for the Macanese. At the same time the Goans were increasingly drawn to Bombay, Karachi, Rangoon, Aden and Zanzibar. I am not going to labour on this as it is beyond the topic at hand. But I will say that the popular concept that the Indian policemen or soldiers in Macau were from Goa in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries is false, they were mainly Muslims and Sikhs recruited from beyond Goa’s borders.

New definitions and new structures