Goa Liberation Day: Know History, Significance and Portuguese Settlement

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jan 24, 2022, 7:13

India celebrates Goa Liberation Day every year on 19th December. On this day in 1961, Indian military forces liberated Goa after 450 long years of Portuguese domination. Goa will celebrate 61 years of independence in 2022. 

Goa's Liberation Day is a state-wide regional public holiday. It is celebrated with a plethora of events and festivities, albeit due to the pandemic, celebrations are expected to be limited this year. A torchlight procession begins in three different locations across the state and finally culminates in the Azad Maidan.

Significance of Goa Liberation Day

The Indian Naval Ship Gomantak has a War Memorial dedicated to the seven sailors and other staff who passed away on 19th December 1961 fighting for the liberation of Goa. The officers of the Indian Navy pay honour to these warriors on Goa Liberation Day every year. At the war memorial, a guard parades and lays wreaths on this occasion.

Portuguese Settlement in Goa

Goa is the smallest state in India, located on the west coast. Portuguese explorers like Vasco da Gama discovered a new sea route to India by the end of the 15th century, making Goa an attractive location for trade.

With the support of a local ally, the Portuguese defeated the governing Bijapur monarch Yusuf Adil Shah in 1510, establishing a permanent presence in Goa. This marked the start of the Portuguese occupation of Goa, which would remain for nearly 450 years before the liberation of Goa on 19th December 1961.

History of Goa's Liberation Day

  • By the end of the nineteenth century, Portuguese colonies in India shrunk to Goa, Dadra, Daman, Diu, Anjediva Island, and Nagar Haveli. 
  • Small-scale revolts began during the Goa freedom movement, which sought to end Portuguese colonial control in Goa. 
  • Goa was still under Portuguese rule on 15th August 1947, when India attained independence. 
  • The Portuguese refused to relinquish control of Goa and other Indian colonies. After a series of failed negotiations and diplomatic efforts with the Portuguese, Jawaharlal Nehru, India's former prime minister, decided that military intervention was the only option.
  • The military action, code-named Operation Victory or Operation Vijay, began on 18th December 1961. 
  • The next day, after various operations throughout Goa, Indian forces arrived in Panjim and flew the Indian flag, having successfully reached Betim the day before. Major General KP Candeth raised the Indian national flag, declaring the liberation of Goa. This is why Goa Liberation Day is celebrated on 19th December every year.

On 19th December 1961 at 6 pm, all operations in Goa came to a halt. At 7.30 pm, the surrender agreement was signed between General Salo E Silva, the Portuguese governor, and Major General K P Candeth, who led Operation Vijay. The latter was appointed as the military Governor of Goa.

Thus, Operation Vijay was effectively carried out by the Indian Army within 36 to 40 hours after it began, putting an end to centuries of foreign dominance in Goa and resulting in a happy Goa Liberation Day.

More Current Affair Topics:
Hornbill FestivalIndian Postal Day
National Reading DayNCC Day
White Label ATMCoal Miner's Day
Ease of Living IndexGoldman Environmental Prize
CRI IndexAdidas Brand Ambassador India

FAQS about Goa Liberation Day

  • When is Goa Liberation Day observed?

Ans. Goa Liberation Day is celebrated on 19th December every year. 

  • Why is Goa Liberation Day celebrated?

Ans. Goa Liberation Day commemorates the liberation of Goa by Indian military forces in 1961, after 450 years of Portuguese domination.

  • Is Goa Liberation Day a national holiday?

Ans. No, Goa Liberation Day is a state-wide regional public holiday.