No, Mughals Weren't in India When Portuguese Took Control of Goa

The Portuguese took control of Goa in 1510 while the Mughal empire was established in India in 1526.

3 min read
Hindi Female

Addressing an event to celebrate Goa Liberation Day, on Sunday, 19 December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while talking about the history of Goa, said that a major part of India was under the Mughal rule when the Portuguese took over Goa.

"Goa came under the Portuguese rule at a time when other major parts of the country were ruled by the Mughals. After that, India saw several political storms and changes in power but despite all the changes in time and politics, neither did Goa forget its Indianness, nor did India forget Goa," he said.

(Prime Minister's statement can be heard around 9:05 minutes)

However, the prime minister's reference to Mughals being in India at the time when Portuguese came is incorrect. Goa went under the Portuguese rule in 1510, while the Mughal empire was established in India in 1526, leaving a 16-year gap between the two.



In the book 'Portuguese Rule in Goa, 1510–1961', published in 1963, historian RP Rao notes that it was Afonso de Albuquerque who conquered Goa in 1510 after a brief resistance from Yusuf Adil Shah of Bijapur.

Rao writes that some Hindu chiefs invited Albuquerque to conquer Goa and free the Hindu population from "oppression" of Shah's governors.

Albuquerque took advantage of the invitation and conquered Goa in the absence of Shah in March 1510. However, two months later, Shah drove away the Portuguese back to the sea.

In November 1510, Albuquerque returned with reinforcements and conquered Goa once again despite some fierce fighting, Rao writes.

The sequence of events were the same in books written by other historians and authors like KM Mathew in 'History of Portuguese Navigation in India', Anant Kakba Priolkar in 'Goa Inquisition' and Bhagamandala Seetharama Shastry's 'Goa-Kanara Portuguese Relations, 1498-1763'.

Valmiki Falero, an author and a keen student of Goan history, said that the statement made by the prime minister was not correct.

"The Portuguese touched the shores of India in 1498 and Babur established the Mughal empire in India much later in 1520s. Vasco De Gama touched the shores near Calicut in 1498 and in 1505, the first governor was appointed by the Portuguese King. From 1505, they had a territorial ambition in the sub-continent and in 1509, Albuquerque was appointed the governor," said Falero.

Falero reiterated that it was at the request of the Hindus of Goa that Albuquerque took over Goa in November 1510.


Speaking to The Quint, Pushkar Sohoni, Associate Professor and Chair, Humanities and Social Sciences at IISER Pune said that the Portuguese took over from Adil Shah in 1510.

Sohoni also mentioned that the Adil Shah palace, which still stands in Panaji, was used as the secretariat even after Goa became a part of India.


The Mughals were descendants of Mongol ruler Genghis Khan and Timur, the ruler of Iran, Iraq and modern-day Turkey, according to the NCERT history books from Class VII, The Mughal Empire.

The book goes on to say that the Mughal empire in India was established in 1526 by Babur – after defeating the Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi, at Panipat.

Syed Irfan Habib, historian of science and modern political history, concurs with the timeline mentioned in the NCERT books.

"There was no trace of Mughals in India in 1510. That was the time when the Lodis were ruling over India who were defeated when the Mughals came, he told us.

Therefore, it is incorrect to say that the Mughals were ruling over India while the Portuguese took over Goa.

The Quint has contacted the prime minister's office seeking clarifications on PM Modi's statements and is awaiting a response. This article will be updated as and when a response is received.


(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and webqoof

Topics:  PM Narendra Modi   Goa   Portugal 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More