MATERIAL: Hand-Written/Painted
TYPE: Documents (Loose)
DIMENSIONS: 12 x 8.25 inches
ITEM ID: 5205
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Portuguese Document from Daman, India

Year: 1708
Decade: 1700s
Century: 18th (1701-1800)
Notes: March 24, 1708

A Portuguese document.

According to scholar Francisco Santos Silva, “This letter is from Daman in India, so these were Portuguese in Portuguese India, they mention that they can only send Bento’s affairs after the next monsoon. They mention that because they are waiting for a reply they can’t send the stuff they are holding in this Armada and so will have to wait for the next one, after the next monsoon, in next October or at best September.

The letter is dated 24th of March 1708, the monsoon would be the whole of the spring/summer.

The document deals with the affairs of Bento Cordeiro, a man from Abrantes, in central Portugal, who died in 1703. Basically it’s about putting his affairs in order after his death and what goes to whom. This comes about because his widow is now deceased and therefore they have to see who inherits the widow’s inheritance. The document is from 1708, which means Bento’s widow survived him by 5 years between 1703 and 1708.”

The Portuguese Diogo de Melo arrived at the spot by chance in 1523, when heading towards Ormuz. He was caught in a violent storm and had his boat blown towards the coast of Daman. Soon after, it was settled as a Portuguese colony which lasted for over 400 years. A larger fort was built in Moti Daman in the 16th century to guard against the Mughals who ruled the area until the Portuguese arrived. It stands today, most of it preserved in its original form. Today the majority of the municipal government offices are inside the fort.

Daman was incorporated into the Republic of India in December 1961 after a battle between the Portuguese and the Indians. The battle left four Indians dead and 14 wounded; Portuguese casualties were 10 dead and two wounded.