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Goa City

Estado da India

Goa State

Goa Police

Daman & Diu

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THE ANCIENT HINDU CITY OF GOA WAS BUILT AT  THE SOUTHERNMOST POINT OF THE ISLAND. The medieval Arabian geographers knew it as Sindabur or Sandabur and the Portuguese as Goa Velha. It was ruled by the Kadamba dynasty from the 2nd century a.d. to 1312 and by Muslim invaders of the Deccan from 1312 to 1367. It was annexed by the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar and later conquered by the Bahmani dynasty, who founded Old Goa in 1440.

With the subdivisions of the Bahmani kingdom after 1482, Goa passed into the power of Yusuf Adil Shah, the Muslim king of Bijapur, who was its ruler when the Portuguese first reached India.

It was attacked and conquered in March 1510 by the Portuguese under Albuquerque.

Goa was the first territorial possession of the Portuguese in Asia and became the capital of the whole Portuguese empire in the east. It was granted the same civic privileges as Lisbon.


The appearance of the Dutch in Indian waters was followed by a gradual decline of Goa.

The attacks of the Dutch on the Portuguese possessions started in the time that Portugal was a part of the Spanish monarchy The attacks nevertherless continued after Portuguese independence was restored in 1640. In 1683 only the timely appearance of a Mogul army saved Goa from capture by Maratha raiders, and in 1739 the whole territory was attacked and only saved by the unexpected arrival of a new viceroy with a fleet. The seat of the government was moved then to Mormugã and in 1759 to Pangim.

In the 19th century it was temporarily occupied by the British in 1809 as a result of Napoleon´s invasion of Portugal.

After Indian claims on Goa in 1948 and 1949, Portugal came under increasing pressure to cede Goa, with its other posessions in the subcontinent, to India. In 1951 the Estado da India was granted autonomy which was confirmed by the constitution of 1955. A crisis was reached in the same year when satyagrahis (nonviolent resistants) attempted to penetrate the territory of Goa. This led to the severance of diplomatic relations between Portugal and India on Aug. 18, 1955.


On Dec. 18, 1961, Indian troops invaded and occupied Goa, Damão and Diu. Portuguese India was, by constitutional amendment incorporated into the Indian Union in 1962.


The annexation of Goa was not recognized by the Salazar regime and Goa continued to have a representation in the Portuguese parliament until 1974. After the Carnation revolution Portugal and India came to terms about the status of Goa with the treaty of 31st of December 1974. 




From the beginning of the 16th century the Portuguese posessions in the far east can be considered as a vice-kingdom, the governors bearing the title of vice-rei alternating with the title of Governador or, from 1768 when the colonies were named Índia,  Governador e Capitão-Geral da Índia. In 1821 the denomination  was changed into Estado da India (State of India), and this name was continued after the Republic of Portugal was proclaimed in 1912.


Most of the few hundred of viceroys and governors of India bore a coat of arms.  Some families are represented with more than a single viceroy or governor like the family of the first viceroy Francisco d’Almeida (8), of Vasco da Gama (5) and of Afonso de Albuquerque (12). Some of these coats of arms are in the armorial of Antonio Godinho (1541). [1])



Arms of Francisco de Almeida, first viceroy of  India, 1505-‘09

Arms of  Afonso de Albuquerque, first governor of  India, 1509-’15.

Later versions show the arms quar-tered with Portugal (without the bordure Gules)

Arms of “Duque de don Vaso da Gama, primeum almirante da India”.(Admiral of the Indian Ocean, Viceroy of India, 1524.)


From: Godinho, Antonio: Livro da Nobreza Perfeição das Armas dos Reis Cristaos e Nobres Linhagens dos Reinos e Senhorios de Portugal, 1541. Fols. 11, 18.  (Archivo  da Torre do Tombo. Lisboa)


The last governors general (governadores geral [2]) of the Estado da India bore a distinctive flag consisting of a white field with a green fesse, charged in the middle with the achievement of Portugal, like this [3]:



The arms of the City of Goa


A coat of arms for the city of Goa, until 1759 the residence of the viceroy, occurs on a map of Goa by Jan Huygen van Linschoten, issued in 1596. It shows a Catharine-wheel, an allusion to the Portuguese infante Catarina de Guimarães (1540-1614), claimant to the Portuguese throne after the death of king Henry I. It is also said that the arms were adopted because Afonso de Albuquerque conquered the city on St. Catherine’s day, 1510.


St Catherine is said to have succeeded in converting the wife of Emperor Maximian (r. 286-305), and many pagan wise men whom the Emperor sent to dispute with her. All men were subsequently martyred. Upon the failure of the Emperor to win Catherine over, he ordered her to be put in prison; and when the people who visited her converted, she was condemned to death on the breaking wheel.  According to legend, the wheel itself broke when she touched it, so she was beheaded.


The female crowned figure with book and sword, the symbols of Justice, which supports the shield,  may be the infante herself.


Arms of Goa in Jan Huygen van Linschoten’s, “Itinerario” 1596. [4]


An augmented coat of arms of Goa was published by Francisco Coelho in his “Tesouro da Nobreza”, (1675). It shows the wheel of St. Catherine, crowned with wat may be a mitre, and the castle of Castile and consequently may have been designed in the time of Spanish rule (1583-1640).


Armas da Cidade de GOA.

From: Tesouro da Nobreza, fol. 10. (Instituto dos Archivos Nacionais)



Coat of arms of Goa City, 19th century

From: Colecção Brasões Cidades e Vilas


See also: “Archivo Historico de Portugal: narrativa da fundação das cidades e villas do reino, seus brazões d´armas, etc” , 1890 pp.90-94 Goa Nova  [5]


In the meantime the symbols of the Portuguese Seaborne Empire, which consisted of the Portuguese royal arms and the cross of the Order of Christ, were also used in Goa.


Estado da India


In the colony the royal arms of Portugal were valid as can be seen on this 1 rupia coin from 1882



A different emblem, just for use in the Estado da India was only designed in the first half of the 20th century

Arms of the State of India, 1933 [6]


Arms: Argent, a ¾ portrait of Vasco da Gama keeping a shield of the quinas proper, within a bordure Or, set with five escutcheons of the quinas alternating with five crosses of the Order of Christ.

Crown: A mural crown of five towers charged with armillary spheres, the walls charged with shields of the cross of the  Order of Christ.

Motto: ÍNDIA


A provisional coat of arms occurs on Goan tanga- and rupia coins struck in 1934-‘35, showing  a coat of arms:

Provisional arms of the Estado da India


Arms: Tierced per point arched, the first Argent, five escutcheons Azure, five balls Argent in saltire, per cross; the second Argent Vasco da Gama keeping a shield Azure, five balls Argent in saltire; the third barry wavy of seven pieces Argent and Vert.


A year later new arms were adopted by portaria nº. 8098 of 1935.05.06. On this occasion the second quarter was changed by the (modified) arms of the city of Goa. It shows: Or, a water wheel (also: chakra) Sable in chief and a tower Gules in base.

The shield is supported by the crowned armillary-sphere common for all the achievements of the Portuguese colonies designed in 1935. The arms were maintained after Goa had become a Portuguese Overseas Province in 1951.


The flag of the commander in chief  of Goa was of the common design adopted by portaria nº. 8098 of 1935.05.06. It shows the cross of the Order of Christ on a golden edged, green field and a white listel with the motto A LEI DA VIDA ETERNA DILATANDO in black lettering. In dexter chief there is a black canton charged with the arms of Goa.

The flag of the commander in chief of Goa was captured by Indian troops in 1961 and this was the end of Portuguese presence in Goa. (See illustration below)



Goa State


The website of Goa State reports about the emblem of the Government of Goa:


“The emblem of Goa State has been designed taking into consideration all the varied and rich facets of Goa’s rich cultural heritage rooted in the national ethos. Its abundant scenic loveliness, the bounties conferred on it by nature and the significant progress achieved by its diligent and amiable people in the post-liberation era under a democratic, popularly elected regime.

The Central symbolic design depicts a “Vriksha Deep” the unique and world famed Goan traditional lamp which signified enlightenment through knowledge.

A circular stylized design of coconut leaves symbolizing the bountiful and beautiful Goan nature at the same time suggesting the radiation of sunrays - the source of light and energy - surrounds the inset in a halo of suggestive glory. The outer circle is formed partly by a Sanskrit “Subhashita” (an auspicious saying) on the top of the inset and the wording “Government of Goa” at the base. The auspicious saying “Subhashita” means : “Let everyone enjoy prosperity. Let none suffer any pain”.

The global circle which suggests land or the earth, is supported by two semi-cupped hands symbolizing the sustaining constructive and protective activity of the people striving together for the progress of the state. The lion headed national emblem is incorporated on the top.”


Æ  See illustration in the head of this essay.


The emblems of the different services of Goa State are somewhat at variance with this emblem. The symbol of the Legislative Assembly for example shows the chakra from the Indian flag, surrounded by the legend goa legislative assembly in english and hindi. It is crested by the emblem of India and supported by two green palm leaves.


Goa Police


The Goa Police as an independent organisation was born in April 1946 with the establishment of Policia do Estado da India (PEI) Police of India, through a decree of the Portuguese regime. Until 1961, all policing functions including the maintenance of law and order were being carried out by the Portuguese military.



The emblem of Goa Police is a coat of arms:

Arms: Argent the letters GP, Or, and a bordure Or with the legend Goa police in english and hindi.

Crest: The Asoka capital being the emblem of India, Gules.

Garland: Branches of laurel, Vert.

Motto: Satyameva Jayate in devanagiri, being the motto of India, in black lettering on a ribbon Vert.


Daman & Diu



Daman and Diu (Damão e Diu) is a union territory in Western India. It is the smallest federal division of India on the mainland. The territory comprises two distinct regions - Daman and Diu - that are geographically separated by the Gulf of Khambhat. The territory is borderd by the state of Gujarat and the Arabian Sea. A Portuguese colony since the 1500s, the territory was annexed by India in 1961.


Reliefs on the Moti Gate of Daman


Above the entrance is a royal achievement of Portugal, crowned and supported by two lions. On de central inscription  King Sebastian (1557-1578) is mentioned. On the left is de date 1829: D. Manuel Francisco Zacarias de Portugal e Castro (Vice-roy and Governor General of India (1826-1835) and on the right the date 1797: Francisco António da Veiga Cabral da Câmara, Viscount of Mirandela (Governor and Captain-General of India(1794-1806).)

Portuguese coat of arms of Daman






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© Hubert de Vries 2009-10-06. Updated 2016-01-30; 2019-01-22; 2019-03-05




[1]  The coats of arms of the first eight viceroys and governors are on a series of stamps of the Estado da India, issued in 1957 and published in Archivum Heraldicum, 1962, pp. 58-60.

[2]  Their official denomination  1910-1961

[3]  Later the distinctive flag of the  Governors General showed  two green horizontal stripes on a white field, charged with the cross of the Order of the Empire (1932). The use of such a flag by the Governor General of the Estado da India is uncertain.

[4]  Itinerario, voyage ofte schipvaert, van Ian Huygen van Linschoten naer de Oost ofte Portugaels Indien, inhoudende een corte beschrijvinghe der selver landen ende zeecusten... (Amsterdam 1595-96)

[5] http://hemerotecadigital.cm-lisboa.pt/Periodicos/ArchivoHistorico/IISerie/IISerie_master/ArchivoHistoricodePortugal_SerieII.pdf

[6] http://hemerotecadigital.cm-lisboa.pt/Periodicos/BoletimdaSociedadeLusoAfricana/BoletimdaSociedadeLusoAfricana.htm


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