Dispositivos do Sistema Defensivo da Província do Norte do Estado da Índia: 1521-1739  

The Northern Province was the first area of the Estado da Índia to have territorial dimension and depth. Until then, Portuguese sovereignty in the eastern sphere of its empire was limited to coastal possession – cities or forts – or little islands like Tiswadi. During the Northern Province’s timeline, from 1534 to 1739, its four urban settlements developed bulwarked walls, whose archaeological traces are mostly still well preserved. Beyond these towns, the territory was dotted with an extensive network of smaller defensive positions, varying considerably in size and shape. As a result of the colonial occupation and administration system, the territory’s first line of defence was a string of fortified manor houses, many of which mounted artillery on their walls. These were the country residencies of the Portuguese land and village owners.

Also as a consequence of the process of colonial occupation, a comprehensive network or religious structures emerged, mostly built by the religious orders, within which the Jesuits and the Franciscans clearly stand out. Many of these structures also had a defensive outlook or potential, and a handful was even fitted with bulwarks mounting cannons. Besides the private and religious structures, the
Estado da Índia
built many fortifications to protect smaller settlements and strategic locations like mountaintops and passages, river crossings and bends. Due not only to their numbers but also to their diversity - both morphologically and tectonically - and also their interdependence, this network of strong points, together with the militia model and the naval forces adopted to tender it, represents a territorial defensive system of outstanding interest, especially from the architectural, urban and landscape history perspective. This defensive system was put to the test repeatedly by an array of invasions and attacks, and its structures evolved according to the scale and nature of its enemies, hampered constantly by the limited resources and manpower of the Estado da Índia, notably after the loss of supremacy on the Arabian Sea.

Both as part of a network and individually, the devices of this defensive system have not been researched, with the exception of the aforementioned four urban settlements and they represent a fundamental topic not only in the history of the Northern Province but also of the whole Estado da Índia.

  • Sidh Daniel Losa Mendiratta
  • Universidade de Coimbra
  • 2012
  • Coimbra
  • Portuguese
  • Doutoramento em Arquitetura, especialidade em História e Teoria da Arquitetura. Orientador: Prof. Dr. Walter Rossa e Prof. Dr. Paulo Varela Gomes, 670 p., il. color
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Updated at 09/06/2020 by the tutor Projeto Fortalezas Multimídia (Jéssica Pedrini).