Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Goa (गोवा) is India's smallest state in terms of area and the second smallest in terms of population after Sikkim. It is located on the west coast of India, in the region known as the Konkan, and is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and Karnataka to the east and south. The Arabian Sea makes up the state's west coast. Panaji is the state's capital, and Margao the largest town. A former colony of Portugal, Goa was ruled by the Portuguese for almost 450 years until 1961, when it was forcibly taken over by the Indian government, after demands for a merger with India failed.
Internationally renowned for its beaches, Goa is visited by thousands of foreign and domestic tourists each year. Besides beaches, Goa is also known for its world heritage architecture including the Bom Jesus Basilica. Goa also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which are classified as a biodiversity hotspot, one of only three among the ecoregions of India.
Origin of name
The precise origin of the name Goa is unclear. The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa; as "Goparashtra" or "Govarashtra", which means a nation of cowherds. "Gopakapuri" or "Gapakapattana" were used in some ancient Sanskrit texts, and these names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindu texts such as the Harivansa and the Skanda. In the latter, Goa is also known as "Gomanchala". Gove, Govapuri, Gopakpattan, and Gomant are some other names that the region is referred to in certain inscriptions and texts such as the Puranas. It has also been known as "Aprant".
After the arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th century, the region was renamed Goa, a corruption of the name Gova.
Goa has a long history stretching back to the 3rd century BC, when it formed part of the Mauryan Empire. Goa was later ruled by the Satavahanas of Kolhapur (in Maharashtra) around two thousand years ago. It eventually passed to the Chalukyas of Badami, who controlled it between 580 to 750. Over the next few centuries Goa was successively ruled by the Silharas, the Kadambas and the Chalukyans of Kalyani, rulers of Deccan India.
Goa fell under the Islamic rule for the first time in 1312, coming under the governance of the Delhi Sultanate. However, the kingdom's grip on the region was weak, and by 1370 they were forced to surrender it to Harihara I of Vijayanagar. The Vijayanagar monarchs held on to the territory for the next hundred years until 1469, when it was appropriated by the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga. After the dynasty crumbled, the area came under the hands of the Adil Shahis of Bijapur who made Goa Velha their auxiliary capital.
In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first European to set foot in India through a sea route, landing in Kozhikode in Kerala, followed by an arrival in what is now known as Old Goa. The Portuguese arrived with the intention of setting up a colony and wresting control of the spice trade from other European powers. Later, in 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling Bijapur kings on behalf of a Hindu king, Timayya , leading to the establishment of a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa). By mid-16th century the area under occupation had expanded to most of Goa's present day state limits. The Portuguese intended it to be a colony and a naval base, distinct from the fortified enclaves established elsewhere along India's coasts.
With the imposition of the Inquisition (1560–1812), many of the local residents were forcibly converted to Christianity by missionaries. To escape the Inquisition and harassment, thousands fled the state, settling down in the neighbouring towns of Mangalore and Karwar in Karnataka. With the arrival of the other European powers in India in the 16th century, most Portuguese possessions were appropriated by the British and the Dutch. Portuguese possessions in India were reduced to a few enclaves along India's west coast, with Goa being the largest of these holdings. It soon became their most important overseas possession and was granted the same civic privileges as Lisbon. The Portuguese encouraged its citizens to marry local women, and to settle in Goa as farmers, retail traders or artisans. These married men soon became a privileged caste, and Goa acquired a large Eurasian population. Subsequently, a senate was created, which maintained direct communications with the king. In 1883 the capital was moved to Panjim from Goa Velha.
After India gained independence from the British in 1947, Portugal refused to accede to India's request to relinquish their control of its exclave. Arbitration by the World Court and the United Nations General Assembly the 1950s, ruled in favour of India. Finally, on 1961-12-19 , the Indian army moved in; taking the colony by force. After a brief skirmish lasting for twenty-six hours, Goa, along with Daman and Diu (enclaves lying to the north of Maharashtra), was made into a federally administered Union Territory. Though most nations recognised the annexation, Portugal acknowledged it only after its Carnation Revolution in 1974. On 1987-05-30 , the Union territory was split, and Goa was elevated as India's twenty-fifth state.
Geography and climate
Goa encompasses an area of 3,702 km² (1,430 sq mile). It lies between the latitudes 14°53'54" N and 15°40'00" N and longitudes 73°40'33" E and 74°20'13" E. Most of Goa is situated in the coastal plains known as the Konkan, which are at sea level. The eastern part of the state is composed the hilly Western Ghats which separate it from the Deccan Plateau. The state's highest point is the Sonsogor , with an altitude of 1,167 metres (3,827 feet). Goa has a coastline of 101 km (63 miles) most of which is sandy.
Goa's main rivers are the Mandovi, Zuari, Terekhol , Chapora and the Betul . The Mormugao harbour on the mouth of the river Zuari is one of the best natural harbours in western India. The Zuari and The Mandovi are the lifelines of Goa, with their tributaries draining 69% of the state's geographic area. Goa has more than forty estuarine, eight marine and about ninety riverine islands. The total navigable length of Goa's rivers is 253 km (157 miles). Goa has more than three hundred ancient tanks built during the Kadamba regime and over a hundred medicinal springs.
Most of Goa's soil cover is made up of laterites which are rich in ferric aluminium oxides and reddish in colour. Further inland and along the river banks, the soil is mostly alluvial and loamy. The soil is rich in minerals and humus, thus conducive plantation. Some of the oldest rocks in the Indian subcontinent are found in Goa between Molem and Anmod on Goa's border with Karnataka. The rocks are classified as Trondjemeitic Gneiss estimated to be 3,600 million years old, dated by the Rubidium isotope dating method. A specimen of the rock is exhibited in the Goa University .
Goa, being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, has a warm and humid climate for most of the year. The month of May is the hottest, seeing day temperatures of over 39°C (99°F) coupled with high humidity. The monsoon rains arrive by early June and provide a much needed respite from the heat. Most of Goa's annual rainfall is received through the monsoons which last till late September.
Goa has a short cool season between mid-December and February. These months are marked by cool nights of around 20°C (68°F) and warm days of around 29°C (84°F) with moderate amounts of humidity. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation, the nights are a few degrees coolerGovernment of Goa official website
- Ministry of Tourism
- Goacom directory
- Lonely Planet
- Maps of Goa
- Goa Tourism
- Amche Goa — Goa: Culture lifestyle heritage, history of Goans
- The Goa that you may not know, Dr. Nandkumar Kamat, Colaco.net, 2001-06-06
- ^ Facts and Figures About Goa, Nikkis Travel Services verified 2005-04-02
- ^ Economy of Goa, from goenkar.com verified 2005-04-02 .
- ^ Odds stacked against Parrikar, Anil Sastry, The Hindu, 2005-01-31 , verified 2005-04-02
- ^ Manorama Year Book 2003 — pg 659 – ISBN 81-900461-8-7
- ^ The People, Department of Tourism, Government of Goa, verified 2005-04-02
- ^ Portuguese passport racket worries UK, US, Devika Sequeira, Deccan Herald, Saturday, 2004-07-24
- ^ Economy of Goa, from goenkar.com, Government owned forest is estimated at 1224.38 sq. kms whilst private is given as 200 sq. kms. verified 2005-04-02 .
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details