"Diu" Union Territory of Daman and Diu by avijitb

Nagoya Beach

The Parsee community that fled religious persecution in Iran in the 7th century landed here before moving to the southern coast of Gujarat. Diu is a tiny little island in the Arabian Sea, comfortably and easily accessible on the sea route from West Asia to India and the Far East. The Sultans of Oman controlled the entire region during the 14th and 16th centuries and Diu became a flourishing trading post and naval base from where the shipping routes of the Arabian Sea could easily be controlled. Little wonder then that the Portuguese doggedly tried to gain control of this strategically placed enclave before finally succeeding in 1539, after almost twenty years. For the Portuguese, Diu and its counterpart across the Gulf of Cambay, Daman served as base for the lucrative opium trade with the east. Diu remained under Portuguese control till its independence in 1961, even though the mighty naval empire of Portugal had declined long ago.

The documented history of the District of Diu begins with the Maurya rule (c. 322-220 B.C.). Emperor Chandragupta Maurya had extended his supremacy over Saurashtra and had appointed Pushagupta as Governor of the province of Saurashtra with the Head-quarters in village Girnar near Junagadh. Yavanraj Tushappa ruled over Saurashtra as Governer of Emperor Ashoka (c.273-237 B.C.). Emperor Ashoka had sent Yavana Thero named Dhammarakhito as evangelist to the western sea board including Diu. His grandson Samprati (c. 229-220 B.C.) seems to have ruled over Saurashtra from Ujjain. He propagated Jainism and erected many Jain Temples. The Jain traditions from Diu seems to belong to this period.

The District seems to be under the rule of Indo-Greek kings Eukratides (c. 171-150 B.C.), Meanandar (C. 115-90 B.C.) and Appollodotes II of the 1st Century B.C. to about A.D. 50. During 1st Century, the district seems to have been ruled by Kshaharatas who had established their rule over western part of India including Saurashtra. For more than the next thousand years, Diu formed part of the kingdoms of dynasties that ruled over the westrn India including Gujarat. The last king of the Vaja dynasty ruler of Somnath Patan ruled over Diu in the first decade of the fifteenth century. Thereafter, Diu came under the control of the Muslims Sultans of Gujarat who seen to have ruled Diu for the next one and a half centuries.

Early in 1535, the Portuguese Governor De Cunha had led his expedition for the capture of the town in Diu, but was defeated by the Sultan. However, around that period, the Gujarat Sultan Bahadur Shah's kingdom was overwhelmed by Mughal invasion. Pressed by Mughal king Humayun on one side and the Portuguese at the gates of Diu, Bahadur Shah entered into a treaty with Nuno da Cunha on October 25, 1535 who agreed to assist Bahadur Shah against his enemy by land and sea. In turn he received permission to construct a fortress at Diu and a site was granted for this purpose in the harbour. After the Mughal danger was receded, te Shah of Gujarat realised his mistake in allowing the Portuguese to construct the fort. Finally Diu was conquered by the Portuguese in 1546 who ruled there till 1961.

The Union Territory was liberated along with Goa on 19th December, 1961 after five centuries Portuguese Colonial Rule. On 30th May, 1987, Daman and Diu were de-lined from Goa which attained statehood there by forming these land blocks into a separate Union Territory under the Govt. of India.

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  • Last visit to Union Territory of Daman and Diu: Jul 2004
  • Intro Updated Sep 2, 2007
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