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Goa

Goa (gōˈə) [key], state (2001 provisional pop. 1,343,998), c.1,430 sq mi (3,700 sq km), W India, on the Malabar coast. A former Portuguese colony and Indian union territory, Goa became a state in 1987. The capital is Panaji (Panjim). The chief products are rice, cashew nuts, and coconuts. There is a growing manufacturing sector and tourism (including casino gambling) is also important to the economy. The languages spoken there are Portuguese, English, Marathi, and Konkani, a dialect. About 35% of the region's population is Roman Catholic; the rest are mostly Hindu.

Long a famous port, Goa was known to Arab seafarers. It had been ruled by Kandamba dynasty for more than a millennium when it was conquered by Muslim forces in 1312. Goa became part of the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar in 1370 but was recaptured by Muslims 100 years later. The Portuguese under Afonso de Albuquerque annexed it in 1510 from territory belonging to the sultan of Bijapur. Goa was invaded by Indian troops in 1961 and incorporated into India in 1962.

Old Goa, the original capital, was a prosperous port city in the late 16th cent. A cathedral, churches, and several palaces survive from this period. The most notable structure is the Church of Bom Jesus, with its tomb of St. Francis Xavier, who did missionary work in the region (1542–52). In 1842, Panjim was built to replace Old Goa as capital.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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