Bicholim conflict

Article was actually a clever hoax, and deleted as such

Template:Infobox Military Conflict The Bicholim Conflict of 1640-1641 refers to a period of armed conflict between the Portuguese rulers of Goa and the Maratha Empire led by Shivaji Bhonsle in the northern regions of Goa, particularly in the Bicholim region. The conflict lasted from mid 1640 to early 1641, when the Maratha Confederacy and Portuguese colonists signed a treaty by which they would respect the pre-existing Maratha-North Goa boundary.<ref name="Thompson:207">Mark Thompson, Mistrust Between States (London: Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 9783161784200).</ref> The conflict continued to cause tension between the Maratha rulers and the Portuguese based in Goa and the islands of Daman and Diu.<ref name="Thompson:208">Thompson, 208.</ref> While the conflict mainly remained localized to Northern Goa, at one point anti-Portuguese uprisings occurred in the neighboring regions of Pernem and Bardez.<ref name="Sakshena">R.N. Sakshena, Goa: Into the Mainstream (Abhinav Publications, 2003, ISBN 9788170170051).</ref>

Vasco da Gama had established a trading post in Calcut, on the west coast of India, for Portugal in 1498. From that time, Portugal determined to establish a colonial empire in India equivalent to the Spanish empire in the Americas. Using superior firepower, the Portuguese carved out colonial possessions along the coasts of India, usually collectively called Portuguese Goa. The arrival of the Dutch East India Company in India during the 1630s, in the wake of England's defeat of the Spanish Armada and the liberation of the Dutch from Spanish colonization, brought new challenges to the Portuguese. The Dutch successfully challenged Portugal throughout India, weakening Portuguese ability to resist the Hindu Martha Empire. Triggered by torture and execution of Hindus during the Portuguese Inquisition in Goa, the Martha Empire engaged Goa in an undeclared war that ended in a peace treaty recognizing Martha's northern border with Goa.


Church in Old Goa

Portuguese traders set up Goa as their first trading port in India in 1498, when Vasco da Gama created a route through Goa. By 1542, the areas of Velhas Conquistas enjoyed higher elements of prosperity.<ref name="Rule">William Harris Rule, History of the Inquisition (London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1868, ISBN 8189004077).</ref> Those that converted to Christianity received extra privileges in comparison with those that opted to remain Hindu or Muslim.<ref name="Rule"/> In 1560, the Goa Inquisition held court, arresting 4,000 people for heresy in the first few years alone.<ref name="Gazetteer">William W. Hunter, The Imperial Gazetteer of India (Trubner & Co, 1886).</ref> The neighboring Hindu regions, particularly those to the north of Goa and those in the Novas Conquistas, felt a great deal of apprehensiveness towards the newly established inquisition.<ref name="Rule"/>

Although Goa slowly grew in its splendor during this time, the Marathas to the north exhibited more expansionistic growth.<ref name="Thompson:199">Thompson, 199.</ref> Between 1603 and 1639, the Dutch fleet blockaded Goa, as part of the Dutch-Portuguese War, cutting it off to supplies from Portugal and forcing the inhabitants of Goa into desperate poverty. The Dutch and Portuguese warred as a result of Dutch attempts to seize Portuguese colonies to add to its expanding empire.<ref name="Rule"/> At the same time, Shivaji Bhonsle began his series of conquests which would eventually lead to the creation of the Maratha Empire. In 1635, the Maratha Empire and Portuguese Goa gained a common border.<ref name="Thompson:200">Thompson, 200.</ref> Aware of the growth of the Marathas and forcibly experiencing a widespread famine, many inhabitants in North Goa expressed their support for the Marathas. Others also accepted Maratha immigrants into their village, particularly those from the influential region of Kolhapur, which bordered Goa.<ref name="Thompson:200"/>

In 1639, in the same year when the Dutch blockade lifted, Marathas and Mysore signed a treaty forbidding either of the parties to oppose the other in any way and ensuring that both parties accepted their common border.<ref name="Thompson:201">Thompson, 201.</ref> The Marathas had also offered a type of protectorate status to the remaining Deccan states. Portuguese Goa, which the Marathas conveniently surrounded from the north and the east, represented the only part of their southern frontier which remained unsecured.<ref name="Thompson:201"/>

Path to conflict

In January 1640, the Marathas attempted a negotiation with the Portuguese Governor-General established in Goa.<ref name="Thompson:201"/><ref name="Srinivasan">Srinivasan Vasantakulan Bharatiya Struggles (1000 C.E.-1700 C.E.) (Voice of India, 1998, ISBN 9789132145612).</ref> Governor-General Matias de Albuquerque felt reluctant to confront the Maratha Empire, particularly because of the external political pressures playing on him. The inquisitors had great influence in Portuguese Goa's administration in those times and conducting negotiations with the largely Hindu Maratha Empire would be considered a betrayal to the cause.<ref name="Rule"/><ref name="Thompson:203">Thompson, 203.</ref>

The message evidently got to the Marathas, who began directing troops from the peaceful Mysore frontier to the frontier with Goa. De Albuquerque finally agreed to a meeting with a representative from the Maratha Empire, but without agreement. The Marathas, committed to secularism, especially condemned the treatment of Hindus in Goa and pointed to the burning at the stake of Hindus who allegedly committed heresy through their actions.<ref name="Srinivasan"/><ref name="Rule"/> Undoubtedly, the inconclusive result of that meeting proved one of the major causes of the later confrontations.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

By the beginning of the 1640, Goan summer (that is, February-March 1640), de Albuquerque had ordered the maintenance of a Portuguese presence amongst Goan villages in Pernem and Bicholim. Suspicious of that action, the Marathas ordered a minor troop buildup along the border between the Maratha Empire and Bicholim. The borders had been lightly fortified as there had never been an external land threat to Goa before.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The governor of the Bicholim region had been a native Goan Christian convert named Nicholas D'Mello. D'Mello had been a trusted governor and reasonably popular amongst his subjects.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> According to David D'Souza, a Goan historian, Hindu members of the Bicholim community considered D'Mello to have an anti-Hindu bias, more ready to side with the Marathas.<ref name="D'Souza">D'Souza David, Roots of Conflict in Portuguese Goa (Dakini Books, 1961, ISBN 9782354278882).</ref> Vasantakulan Srinivasan had been more inclined to believe that the Hindus, unaware of the Maratha presence and, although ruffled by their mistreatment, were loyal to D'Mello.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

Confrontation at Ibrampur

The Marathas wanted a secure southern frontier but members of the Goan inquisitorial forces felt reluctant to negotiate with them.<ref name="Srinivasan"/><ref name="Thompson:203"/> Indeed, at one point they considered advancing the Portuguese navy north to launch an invasion of the Kolhapur region and, in doing so, remove the threat the Marathas had on Novas Conquistas. They rejected such an attack as it could have triggered escalation and thus open up the chance that the Marathas would ally with the Dutch to fight against the Portuguese.<ref name="Thompson:211">Thompson, 211</ref> The actual start of the conflict triggered at Ibrampur, a small town in the Pernem district located near important roads and the source of the Chapora River. The Maratha forces at the Bicholim border allegedly had been tipped off by an informant claiming a buildup of Portuguese forces at Ibrampur.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> At that time, the Portuguese forces had actually based at a fort in Alorna, further away from the border.<ref name="Thompson:212">Thompson,. 212.</ref>

The Marathas crossed the traditional border and led a cavalry expedition to Ibrampur so as to scout the area.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> When they failed to find the Portuguese, the commander assumed that they had yet to come, deciding to fortify Ibrampur for the expected Portuguese attack. The Portuguese forces, headed in Bicholim and Pernem by Manuel de Elaminos, had been notified of the Maratha incursion and reported the invasion to Vasco de Gama.<ref name="Thompson:212"/> They took discretion to move down the road to Ibrampur, in doing so leaving Alorna defenseless and attack the Marathas at Ibrampur.<ref name="Thompson:212"/>

The Portuguese conducted their attack during August 1640 swiftly and effectively. They surrounded the two main paths out of Ibrampur, those to the north and to the west. To avoid too much damage, the Portuguese opened their attack on the city with a wave of infantry. While the infantry received only light casualties, they retreated after seeing the size of the built-up Maratha forces.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Evidently, the Marathas believed they had the upper hand and decided to push the Portuguese back along the road to Alorna.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Maratha cavalry chased the retreating infantry back to their line of offense. Continued engagement led to the call-up of the Portuguese forces stationed north of Ibrampur to come to the west and help in the battle.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

The relatively minor contingent of Portuguese in the northern side had been cut off by Maratha infantry advancing from Ibrampur.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Thus, by the end of the first day of battle, two fronts opened for the troops. Casualties had been low, as clever maneuvering by the Portuguese in the west had meant that they could carry out an organized retreat.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Nonetheless, the Portuguese had suddenly become aware of the intensity of the conflict and the strength of the Marathas. They had been made forcibly aware of the hard fact that the residents of Ibrampur accepted and allowed Maratha fortifications to be built around their town. They believed the Hindu-majority town might have been a bad influence on other towns around the frontier.<ref name="Thompson:206">Thompson, 206.</ref>

After two days of the Maratha push towards Alorna, reinforcements from Vasco de Gama reached the troops.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The balancing of numbers meant that the Portuguese could stop the push. After another day of maneuvering, the forces reached a stalemate and remained in their positions for the next week. Neither side wished to escalate the conflict by taking risks and causing casualties.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Both sides sought to use offense as a method for defense. The Maratha troops had inflicted casualties early on the first two days of battle, which had triggered the retreat towards Alorna, but had remained subdued, using their cavalry advantage to outmaneuver the Portuguese as opposed to charging onto them.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

In early July, the Portuguese received permission to use artillery, as they had fallen far away from Ibrampur. The artillery proved effective in subduing the infantry, although it inflicted very few casualties. Continued fire on the Maratha cavalry led to the decision to quickly retreat out of artillery range.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Maratha assumed that they would be able to regroup further away from Alorna and then use their speed to out-flank the enemy south of the road and cause a devastating blow to their artillery.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Portuguese had a technological advantage and forced the Marathas to adapt to that new enemy. The Portuguese quickly opted to split their forces and try to flank the Marathas in their return. The Portuguese counter-flanking hit the unsuspecting Marathas hard, forcing them to move even further south, further towards the Chapora River.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

When the Maratha cavalry reached the Chapora, they decided to retreat back into Maratha-controlled territory, trying to lure the Portuguese out of their strategic positions within Goa; the Portuguese refused to take the bait by following them down to the source of the Chapora.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> By the end of July, the Marathas had regrouped in their territory and the Portuguese had fortified Alorna under the leadership of Albert Pinto, who diversified troop positions north of the Chapora.<ref name="D'Souza"/>

Maratha push into Bicholim

Fort Aguada: one of the locations where Portuguese troops set up defences

At this point, both sides became convinced that a show of force would be required to settle the dispute.<ref name="Thompson:211"/> The Marathas still believed that the Portuguese had been moving troops to Ibrampur to invade Maratha territory and the Portuguese wanted to create a buffer zone between Goa and the Maratha Empire, possibly by seizing Kolhapur to the north, although whether a rumor or a plan never became clear.<ref name="Thompson:211"/> Pernem situated in a region surrounded by Maratha land from the north and east, thus considered by both sides as the area most likely to come under contest.<ref name="D'Souza"/><ref name="Thompson:212"/> In a bold move, the Marathas abandoned their earlier plan to secure Pernem and moved south to Bicholim.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

Bicholim had been less heavily defended by troops but more central and easier to reach from Pangim. The Marathas entered Bicholim in mid August and took a route through the vast farming land and fields in the north of the region, south of the Chapora.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Maratha presence remained unreported by locals, either fooled to ignore the Marathas or persuaded to side with the Marathas.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

In late August, a two-pronged attack by Maratha infantry on Kansarpal and Latambarcem as well as a small-force invasion into nearby Sal, important Hindu religious and cultural locations.<ref>Hindu books, Kansarpal. Retrieved January 13, 2009.</ref><ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Hindu majority area provided little resistance and no casualties occurred as the Marathas began to fortify the town as a forward base.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> In fact, it took a week until news of the occupation reached Nicholas D'Mello in the Bicholim town and even longer for it to reach Vasco de Gama and the forces at Alorna and Ibrampur.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

Maratha forces secured the major road which ran from Dodamarg to the border with Bardez; Marathi claimed all regions between the road and the Chapora.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> On September 10, Portuguese troops crossed the Chapora river via a bridge west of Alorna.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Reconnaissance found Maratha infantry patrolling the southern banks and thus the crossing occurred in the middle of night. The night attack also meant that artillery became ineffective or too dangerous.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> After making stealthy progress, dawn began to break and the Portuguese attacked a Marathi post north of Kansarpal. The Maratha patrols flanked the Portuguese and the small force surrendered, handing over their weapons to the Marathas.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

That defeat proved pivotal in the course of the conflict, as the Portuguese lost their weapons advantage and many troops which had earlier pushed the Marathas out of Goa and had also abandoned artillery in Alorna. The Marathas launched another attack from the border with an attack on Maulinguem.<ref name="Srinivasan"/><ref name="Thompson:207"/> Again, the attack proved successful with only minimal fighting due to the acceptance of the Marathas by the Hindu majority in the town.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

Portuguese troops stationed in Bicholim town, Lamgao, Mulgaon and Vathadeo as well as the borders between the Maratha Empire and Satari.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Portuguese refrained from an attack directly on the Marathas stationed in Bicholim, as they became aware that the people of Bicholim supported the Marathas. Incidentally, the towns which they had fortified and protected the most had fewer Hindus, making them less susceptible to easy takeover.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> When the October attack on Vathadeo came, a battle commenced.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

Battle for Vathadeo

The Battle for Vathadeo had been short yet had great implications on the Portuguese defense of Goa. Vathadeo represented a strategic point which the Marathas felt necessary to capture before advancing on to the Bicholim town. The Portuguese had placed necessary fortifications around it, although the relatively small village lacked any static defences.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Albert Pinto responded to a call to relocate from Pernem to Bicholim so that he could defend Vathadeo.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Maratha attack came, as expected, from the north, and the Portuguese immediately bombarded them with artillery fire.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Maratha cavalry dispersed in face of the fire and the infantry suffered light casualties as it continued its advance.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Portuguese inaccurate artillery had little effect on the cavalry.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

As the Portuguese formed a standard line of defense around the northern side of Vathadeo, the Maratha infantry confronted them, with the aim of engaging them in close combat while the cavalry could out-flank them and cause casualties.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The engagement occurred, but the Portuguese immediately broke through the Maratha line of offense and caused heavy casualties. The Maratha strategy fell into tatters as the Maratha infantry suffered heavy casualties. Inefficient ordering by commanders led to the cavalry allowing the Portuguese counter-attack to continue for some time before going in to stop it.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The fierce battle at the northern edge of Vathadeo proved one of the heaviest and most intense fights in the conflict, with the constant fighting in equal numbers lasting for most of the day.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Eventually, with the onset of darkness, Pinto ordered the Portuguese troops to stop their forward push and come back to Vathadeo.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The details of casualties in that battle have never described in Portuguese or Marathi histories but have been assumed to be fairly high.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> David D'Souza, claims that, at the end of the conflict, the number of casualties suffered in that battle could have been the determining factor over who had come out with the upper hand and both sides concealed their equally high casualties.<ref name="D'Souza"/>

On the next day, the Maratha forces attacked once again from the north, just before dawn, so that they could forgo maneuvering and avoid the artillery.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The attack started successfully but fell again in tatters after dawn with Pinto showing military prowess in turning the tide and once again pushing the Marathas north, albeit with far fewer casualties and much more clever maneuvering.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> That time the Maratha cavalry managed to escape from engagement and travel south into Vathadeo to confront the troops remaining in the town.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Portuguese surrendered in Vathadeo with the onset of a great cavalry attack, although the majority of their forces stood within vision of the remainder of the Portuguese forces.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

Pinto, upon becoming aware of the white flag being raised, felt enraged and organized a retreat back to Vathadeo.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> He organized the retreat so that the troops received minimal casualties, requiring until night to get back to the town.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Although the Portuguese outnumbered Marathas, they had been strategically placed to confront Pinto's forces.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> More maneuvering outside the town saw the Maratha cavalry forced to the north of Vathadeo.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> With both sides scenting victory, the fighting continued throughout the night.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Eventually, the fatigued Portuguese retreated to positions within the southern end of the town and fortified it, allowing the Marathas to take the northern end.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

While the town had been split into two, Marathas allowed the civilians freely move between the two sides. Sensing ulterior motives, Pinto ordered a section of his troops to maintain a curfew-type check on the homes of the town's residents, particularly those of a high-caste Hindu background.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Pinto felt concern that those civilians may rally to the Maratha cause if they went to the north and spoke to the Maratha troops.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Their suspicions proved partly correct, as on the next afternoon, with the two sides at a stalemate, a group of civilians from the north attempted to steal Portuguese weapons. The Portuguese caught them in the act, brutally imprisoning them for treason and sent them back to Vasco de Gama.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Rumors of that action quickly spread and civil unrest led to the Portuguese being forced to clamp down on movement in the southern part of the town.<ref name="Srinivasan"/><ref name="D'Souza"/> David D'Souza claims that the Marathas had exaggerated the rumors.<ref name="D'Souza"/>

Nevertheless, the contrasting appearance of the north and south sides of the city caused unrest.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> In the north, the Marathas allowed free movement and the civilians carried a business-as-usual attitude while in the south, but for a few privileged and influential families, the Portuguese forced most of the civilians to remain indoors.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> On the next day, the Marathas launched an infantry offensive and gained ground until the Portuguese forces grouped together and pushed back them back.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Marathas could have taken more ground but cleverly spent time going house to house declaring residents liberation.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> When the Portuguese regained the territories, they ordered civilians back into their homes.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Instead of going back, the civilians opposed the troops and began a riot which rocked the south of Vathadeo.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> With many Portuguese containing the riots, the Marathas struck again in the night and a short but decisive battle ensued, in which the Marathas cornered Portuguese forces into a small area in the south-west of the town.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

Pinto ordered his troops to retreat to the road south of Vathadeo to lay siege on the city on the next morning.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The troops received renewed orders from Vasco de Gama, telling them to keep Vathadeo in their sights.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> After two days, they cut off supply routes to the city.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Portuguese even cut off inhabitants from their outlying farming regions, leaving them without food and unprepared for a siege-type procedure.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> By early November, civilians began leaving Vathadeo and submitting to the Portuguese. Some had been accused of treason and arrested, while others from the mainly Catholic Portuguese factional families freely departed.<ref name="Srinivasan"/><ref name="Thompson:215">Thompson, 215.</ref><ref name="D'Souza"/>

Beginning of uprisings

The Marathas had been compromised, unable to send any more troops to fight. Contrary to their previous invasions, which had been relatively swift and effective, they required a lengthy campaign to counterbalance the Portuguese technological advantages.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Their forces came under siege in Vathadeo and they want to avoid heavy casualties, so they decided to wait for the situation to change.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

News of the arrests, and curfews placed on the Hindu population in Vathadeo, spread quickly throughout the Goan country-side.<ref name="Thompson:215"/> In early December, the rumors had been exaggerated into stories of a massacre at Vathadeo of people allegedly allied with the Marathas.<ref name="D'Souza"/> The first major show of dissent occurred in Ibrampur, which had earlier accepted the Marathas but now the Portuguese placed the city under heavy fortification.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The inhabitants of Ibrampur left work and attempted to fight Portuguese troops. Their lack of weaponry meant that the Portuguese frightened many with shots in the air and imprisoned the leaders of the disturbances in the town without causing damage.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Anconem, north of Ibrampur, also suffered a similar fate.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

When inhabitants of the small village of Tatradingam, just north of the Alorna fort, marched over to the fort demanding that the Portuguese surrender Pernem to Maratha forces, a small fight ensued.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Portuguese representatives achieved no compromise with the villagers, who forced themselves into the fort. Facing a military base infiltration, the commander at the fort took discretion to injure a few of the civilians.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The over-zealous troops caused fatal wounds on a large portion of the villagers, who had been unable to treat the wounds in time.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> De Albequerque saw that as an effective measure in defending military bases and approved it.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

In Bicholim, the city's residents flocked to the government house held by D'Mello to demand an end to the massacres.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> D'Mello controversially instructed the troops in the city to organize a curfew.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The curfew extended to all areas in Bicholim with a high troop density.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Another uprising at Sirigao resulted in the whole Bicholim region (the parts still held by the Portuguese) being put under a state of emergency.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The eastern end of Pernem also came under a state of military emergency.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

In late December, with Christmas approaching, a small band of five to ten Hindus in Dravidna in Bardez set fire to homes in the city, claiming the liberation of Goa and giving it to the Marathas.<ref name="D'Souza"/> The attack led to a nasty reprisal in Dravidna, with Portuguese troops rounding up the gang and other alleged co-conspirators and publicly sentencing them to death.<ref name="D'Souza"/>

In the onset of the new year, the Portuguese launched an offensive at Maulinguem, which had a small contingent of Marathas controlling it.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The attack proved successful, the Portuguese taking the town with minimal casualties.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Again, some civilians had been arrested for alleged treason.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Portuguese troops advanced to regain their lost land in Bicholim. The Maratha troops began surrendering and leaving Goa.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> More Maratha troops regrouped at the border, causing the prospect of another invasion.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The only Maratha presence within Goa itself had been at Vathadeo.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Even there, the two month siege began to cause unrest amongst even the most staunch of Maratha supporters.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

Peace treaty

The alleged sabotage of the food stores at Vathadeo the last blow for the Marathas. The Maratha forces had been unprepared to let their only defended town starve to death and thus raised the white flag of surrender in late January 1641.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Portuguese felt apprehensive at first and readied themselves for battle, but Maratha troops began exiting the town in small groups so as to be harmless.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Portuguese, for their part, allowed troops free passage out of the town, but arrested those troops which refused immediately surrender their arms to the Portuguese.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Srinivasan Vasantakulan speculated that if the Marathas had opted to fight the Portuguese, they would have lost due to malnourishment and dwindling morale. The Portuguese also outnumbered the Marathas in the town, as they had been quickly reinforced.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

In early February, Maratha troops once again entered Ibrampur, but this time they gave a message to the Portuguese seeking to negotiate the release of the Maratha prisoners and an end to the brutalities against civilians alleged to have been Maratha sympathizers.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> Shivaji himself received an audience with de Albequerque to negotiate a treaty under which the Marathas would accept the standing de facto border between the Maratha Empire and the Portuguese colony of Goa and would respect it as a border between princely states.<ref name="Srinivasan"/> The Portuguese similarly conceded that they would make no attempts to conduct any expansion north of the border.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>

The motives for making such a treaty had been many.<ref name="D'Souza"/><ref name="Thompson:207"/> The Marathas needed the troops captured at Vathadeo reinstated into their forces. The Marathas had been unsure as to whether they could push into Goa as swiftly as earlier assumed and decided it would be better to secure the southern frontier as originally planned as opposed to continuing a war in the south. With that treaty, the entire southern stretch of inter-nation-state boundary for the Maratha Empire became peacefully secured through treaty.<ref name="D'Souza"/>

For the Portuguese, immense fears arose that the uprising in Bicholim and Pernem could spread to other regions and could increasingly aid the Marathas. They became painfully aware that the Marathas had a large amount of reinforcements building up near the de facto border. They feared that a simultaneous uprising and Maratha invasion would see much of North Goa fall into Maratha hands and might even threaten Pangim and Vasco de Gama.<ref name="D'Souza"/><ref name="Thompson:207"/> The Marathas had shown when offering their treaty that they could threaten Ibrampur again without much resistance.<ref name="D'Souza"/>

Some Goans felt betrayed by the treaty, unhappy that they lost the chance to become part of the Maratha expansion. Most of them felt happy with the way the treaty negotiation process, satisfied that they would receive fair treatment once the Maratha Empire and Portuguese Goa became peaceful.<ref name="Thompson:208">Thompson, 208.</ref> Uprisings in Goa continued, but they diminished immensely. The conflict never earned the designation of "war" since neither side declared war, although the Marathas and Portuguese actively preparing to battle each other.<ref name="Srinivasan"/>


File:India1760 1905.jpg
Extent of the Maratha Empire ca. 1760
(shown here in yellow). Note how, despite being surrounded, Maratha armies, even at at their peak, never expanded Goa.

Historical legacy

Because of that monumental peace treaty, and the resulting confidence between the Marathas and Portuguese, that the Maratha Empire never expanded southwards to Goa, even when at its peak. For that reason, Portugal maintained its control over Goa, which eventually became part of the Union of India in 1961.<ref name="Thompson:219">Thompson, 219.</ref> Modern-day Goa has its own government, culture and enjoys the autonomy of a state in the Indian Union.

In popular culture

The conflict had been fairly brief and its impact in terms of casualties and damage minimal. For that reason, few film makers and book writers discussed the campaign. A 1921 fictional book by Frank McCallas on rebellion in India bore notable similarities to the events of the Bicholim conflict.<ref name="Thompson:219"/> Another book in 1958 by Goan writer Victor D'Souza entitled "Goan Life" presented a story about a Christian family living in a village which had given up allegiance to the Marathas, possibly inspired by the events during the conflict.<ref name="Thompson:219"/>

See also




  • Meirelles, Manuel Antonio de. Poema heroico, marcio, historico da gloriosa e inimitavel victoria que contra o inimigo Bounsuló alcançou o illustrissimo e excellent senhor d. Pedro Miguel de Almeida e Portugal, Marquez de Castello-Novo, vice-rey e capitaõ general da India na tomada de Alorna, Bicholim e Sanquelim no anno de 1746. Lisboa: Miguel Rodrigues, 1747. OCLC: 70203782.
  • Rule, William Harris. History of the Inquisition, in Every Country. 1868. OCLC 62580164.
  • Saksena, R. N. Goa: Into the Mainstream. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications, 1974. OCLC 1207219.

External Sites