The Portugese Catholic Inquisition in Sindabur (Goa): 1550-1892. The Goa Inquisition was the office of the Inquisition acting in the Indian state of Goa and the rest of the Portuguese empire in Asia. It was established in 1560, briefly suppressed from 1774-1778, and finally abolished in 1812.

The Inquisition was established to punish relapsed New Christians – Jews and Muslims who converted to Catholicism, as well as their descendants – who were now suspected of practicing their ancestral religion in secret. In Goa, the Inquisition also turned its attention to Indian converts from Hinduism or Islam who were thought to have returned to their original ways. In addition, the Inquisition prosecuted non-converts who broke prohibitions against the observance of Hindu or Muslim rites or interfered with Portuguese attempts
to convert non-Christians to Catholicism.[2] While its ostensible aim was to preserve the Catholic faith, the Inquisition was used against Indian Catholics and Hindus as an instrument of social control, as well as a method of confiscating victims’ property and enriching the Inquisitors.[3]

Most of the Goa Inquisition’s records were destroyed after its abolition in 1812, and it is thus impossible to know the exact number of the Inquisition’s victims. Based on the records that survive, H. P. Salomon and I. S. D. Sassoon state that between the Inquisition’s beginning in 1561 and its temporary abolition in 1774, some 16,202 persons were brought to trial by the Inquisition. Of this number, it is known that 57 were sentenced to death and executed in person; another 64 were burned in effigy. Others were subjected to lesser punishments or penanced, but the fate of many of the Inquisition’s victims is unknown.


In Europe, the Goa Inquisition became notorious for its cruelty and use of torture, and the French philosopher Voltaire wrote “Goa is sadly famous for its inquisition, which is contrary to humanity as much as to commerce. The Portuguese monks deluded us into believing that the Indian populace was worshiping The Devil, while it is they who served him.”


The first inquisitors, Aleixo Dias Falcão and Francisco Marques, established themselves in the palace once occupied by Goa’s Islamic sultan, forcing the Portuguese viceroy to relocate to a smaller residence. The inquisitor’s first act was to forbid any open practice of the Hindu faith on pain of death. Sephardic Jews living in Goa, many of whom had fled the Iberian Peninsula to escape the excesses of the Spanish Inquisition to begin with, were also persecuted. The narrative of Da Fonseca describes the violence and brutality of the
inquisition. The records speak of the necessity for hundreds of prison cells to accommodate fresh victims. Seventy-one “autos da fe” were recorded. In the first few years alone, over 4000 people were arrested, with 121 people burnt alive at the stake.

At least from 1540 onwards, and in the island of Goa before that year, all the Hindu idols had been annihilated or had disappeared, all the temples had been destroyed and their sites and building material was in most cases utilized to erect new Christian Churches and chapels. Various viceregal and Church council decrees banished the Hindu priests from the Portuguese territories; the public practices of Hindu rites including marriage rites, were banned; the state took upon itself the task of bringing up Hindu orphan children; the Hindus were denied certain employments, while the Christians were preferred; it was ensured that the Hindus would not harass those who became Christians, and on the contrary, the Hindus were obliged to assemble periodically in Churches to listen to preaching or to the refutation of their religion.”
Christian historian: Dr. T. R. de Souza

“A particularly grave abuse was practiced in Goa in the form of ‘mass baptism’ and what went before it. The practice was begun by the Jesuits and was alter initiated by the Franciscans also. The Jesuits staged an annual mass baptism on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25), and in order to secure as many neophytes as possible, a few days before the ceremony the Jesuits would go through the streets of the Hindu quarter in pairs, accompanied by their Negro slaves, whom they would urge to seize the Hindus. When the blacks caught up a fugitive, they would smear his lips with a piece of beef, making him an ‘untouchable’ among his people. Conversion to Christianity was then his only option.”

The Goan inquisition is regarded by all contemporary portrayals as the most violent inquisition ever executed by the Portuguese Catholic Church. It lasted from 1560 to 1812. The inquisition was set as a tribunal, headed by a judge, sent to Goa from Portugal and was assisted by two judicial henchmen. The judge was answerable to no one except to Lisbon and handed down punishments as he saw fit. The Inquisition Laws filled 230 pages and the palace where the Inquisition was conducted was known as the Big House and the Inquisition proceedings were always conducted behind closed shutters and closed doors. The screams of agony of the culprits (men, women, and children) could be heard in the streets, in the stillness of the night, as they were brutally interrogated, flogged, and slowly dismembered in front of their relatives. Eyelids were sliced off and extremities were amputated carefully, a person could remain conscious even though the only thing that remained was his torso and a head. Diago de Boarda, a priest and his advisor Vicar General, Miguel Vazz had made a 41 point plan for torturing Hindus. Under this plan Viceroy Antano de Noronha issued in 1566, an order applicable to the entire area
under Portuguese rule :


“I hereby order that in any area owned by my master, the king, nobody should construct a Hindu temple and such temples already constructed should not be repaired without my permission. If this order is transgressed, such temples shall be, destroyed and the goods in them shall be used to meet expenses of holy deeds, as punishment of such transgression.”

In 1567 the campaign of destroying temples in Bardez met with success. At the end of it 300 Hindu temples were destroyed. Enacting laws, prohibition was laid from December 4, 1567 on rituals of Hindu marriages, sacred thread wearing and cremation. All the persons above 15 years of age were compelled to listen to Christian preaching, failing which they were punished.

A religious fatva was issued on the basis of the findings of Goa Inquiry Commission. It stated,”…Hereby we declare the decision that the conventions mentioned in the preamble of the fatva as stated below are permanently declared as useless, and therefore prohibited”.

Prohibitions Regarding Marriages

-The instruments for Hindu songs shall not be played.
-While giving dowry the relatives of the bride and groom must not be invited.
-At the time of marriage, betel leaf packages (pan) must not be distributed either publicly or in private
to the persons present.
-Flowers, or fried puris, betel nuts and leaves must not be sent to the heads of the houses of the bride or
-Gotraj ceremony of family God must not be performed.
-On the day prior to a wedding, rice must not be husked, spices must not be pounded, grains must not
be ground and other recipes for marriage feast must not be cooked.
-Pandals and festoons must not be used.
-Pithi should not be applied.
-The bride must not be accorded ceremonial welcome. The bride and groom must not -be made to sit under pandal to convey blessings and best wishes to them.

Prohibitions Regarding Fasts, Post-death Rituals

-The poor must not be fed or ceremonial meals must not be served for the peace of the souls of the dead.
-There should be no fasting on ekadashi day.
-Fasting can be done according to the Christian principles.
-No rituals should be performed on the twelfth day after death, on moonless and full moon dates.
-No fasting should be done during lunar eclipse.
-Hindu men should not wear dhoti either in public or in their houses. Women should not wear cholis .
-They should not plant Tulsi in their houses, compounds, gardens or any other place.
-Following the law of 1567, orphans were kidnapped for converting them to Christianity.
On September 22, 1570 an order was issued that :
-The Hindus embracing Christianity will be exempted from land taxes for a period of 15 years.
-Nobody shall bear Hindu names or surnames.

In 1583 Hindu temples at Esolna and Kankolim were destroyed through army action.


“The fathers of the Church forbade the Hindus under terrible penalties the use of their own sacred books, and prevented them from all exercise of their religion. They destroyed their temples, and so harassed and interfered with the people that they abandoned the city in large numbers, refusing to remain any longer in a place where they had no liberty, and were liable to imprisonment, torture and death if they worshipped after their own fashion the gods of their fathers.” wrote Sasetti, who was in India from 1578 to 1588.

An order was issued in June 1684 eliminating Konkani language and making it compulsory to speak Portuguese language. The law provided for dealing toughly with anyone using the local language. Following that law all the symbols of non-Christian sects were destroyed and the books written in local languages were burnt.

The Archbishop living on the banks of the Ethora had said during one of his lecture series, “The post of Inquiry Commission in Goa is regarded as holy.” The women who opposed the assistants of the commission were put behind the bars and were used by them to satisfy their animal instincts. Then they were burnt alive as opponents of the established tenets of the Catholic church.


The victims of such inhuman laws of the Inquiry Commission included a French traveller named Delone. He was an eye witness to the atrocities, cruelty and reign of terror unleashed by priests. He published a book in 1687 describing the lot of helpless victims. While he was in jail he had heard the cries of tortured people beaten with instruments having sharp teeth. All these details are noted in Delone’s book.

So harsh and notorious was the inquisition in Goa, that word of its brutality and horrors reached Lisbon but nothing was done to stop this notoriety and escalating barbarity and it continued for two hundred more years. No body knows the exact number of Goans subjected to these diabolical tortures, but perhaps it runs into hundreds of thousands, may be even more. The abominations of inquisitions continued until a brief respite was given in 1774 but four years later, the inquisition was introduced again and it continued un-interruptedly until 1812. At that point in time, in the year of 1812, the British put pressure on the Portuguese to put an end to the terror of Inquisition and the presence of British troops in Goa enforced the British desire. Also the Portuguese power at this time was declining and they could not fight the British.1486867_1406713296237077_1431789973_n

The palace of the Grand Inquisitor, the Big House, was demolished and no trace of it remains today, which might remind someone of inquisitions and the horrors inside this Big House that their great saint Francis Xavier had commenced.

Dr. Trasta Breganka Kunha, a Catholic citizen of Goa writes, “Inspite of all the mutilations and concealment of history, it remains an undoubted fact that religious conversion of Goans is due to methods of force adopted by the Portuguese to establish their rule. As a result of this violence the character of our people was destroyed. The propagation of Christian sect in Goa came about not by religious preaching but through the methods of violence and pressure. If any evidence is needed for this fact, we can obtain it through law books, orders and reports of the local rulers of that time and also from the most dependable documents of the Christian sect.


On the topic of “whitewashing history”, there is much to be learnt from the way no mention is made in our history book of the Portuguese Inquisition in Goa. Three hundred years, from the mid-1500s, were spent on torturing Hindus and Muslims selected by the Grand Inquisitor. The methods of torture were inhuman, and designed to inflict the maximal pain.

By Rayvi Kumar

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  1. john @ oxord
    john @ oxord 27 December, 2015, 02:26

    Can you please provide your source or bibliography so thar we can validate your writings for further research. Thank you.

    Reply this comment
    • Ravi
      Ravi 29 December, 2015, 09:30

      Use common sense you dim wit. If you travel along the coast from Maharashtra to Karnataha you see temples every KM ex except within the boundaries of Goa. Who destroyed the temples, the Hindus? Your religion is no better than fanatic Islam with respect to atrocities against other faiths.
      Be grateful that majority of the Hindus adhere to Hinduism which is a multi faith religion does not retribution.

      Reply this comment
      • john @ oxord
        john @ oxord 19 January, 2016, 02:25

        Ravi.. ” Dim wit” !!! Oh What a language!!! Do you use social media just to hurl insults at others? Are you easily offend by someone who simply asks question about the source of the artitcle? Infact, the absence of temples within the boundaries does not provide any legitimate evidence unless there is a written document or eye witness contemporary to the time. It is for research purpose that i am raising such question hoping that someone might be able to enlighten me more on the subject matter. Dont be too quick at passing judgement , learn to be decent.

        Reply this comment
        • Shrikant Barve
          Shrikant Barve 2 July, 2016, 10:46

          You may read books by 1. Delio de Mendoca ‘Conversion and Citizenry Goa under Portugal 1510 to 1961.
          2. Many books and research papers by Teotonio r de Souza
          3. Inquisition bu A. K. Priolkar

          Reply this comment
          • Shrikant Barve
            Shrikant Barve 2 July, 2016, 10:54

            If you can locate “Goa :Hindu Temple and Deities” by Rui Gomes Periera very old publication. It has mention regarding Temples existed in each village in Goa and few of them which where shifted to nearby places not in control of Portuguese in 16th century.

      • Shiva Mendes
        Shiva Mendes 5 July, 2016, 18:34

        Why is 2014 Image collated in so called texts of the Inquisition????? Probably the author of this inquisition story has no source and is is figment of Imagination,
        Even if my fore fathers were of other Faiths and I believe we were Hindus in Goa and have been converted I care less today in 2016 I would not want to revert to the original faith of 1815,the same faith that practiced Sathi”!! And continues till today it’s called Rape !!!90% of The Rapists are from this faith(Which existed pre inquisition!!!- look at the length and Breadth of India from Nirbhaya to the techie murder in Madras what has been the Faith of the Perpertrators!!! No answers needed!!! Get your mental frame in order Nobody cares of your religion you profess in 2016 except for a few who strive to agitate passions In our Nation
        Coming back to the intellect of Mr Ravi who has travelled the cost of Karnataka where no churches are Built ,would like to draw your attention that

        Reply this comment
  2. SHREE
    SHREE 27 December, 2015, 21:13

    Do Goans know this fact? How their ancestors were treated, killed, converted by missionaries.
    Still they are following this stupid religion, they have nothing to offer except hatred towards other religions and cultures. It is better to be atheist than following this disgusting religion.

    Reply this comment
    • john @ oxord
      john @ oxord 19 January, 2016, 02:38

      I thought Hinduism is a tolerant religion. ” Stupid religion”, disgusting religion !!!!!! i thought Gandhi strongly taught us
      that all religions are like different branches of one single tree. Stupid religion, disgusting religion !!!!!! i dnt think hinduism teaches hatred but respect of religion.

      Reply this comment
  3. George
    George 29 December, 2015, 19:10

    It is very easy for one to blame a particular religion. Yes there were probably allot of atrocities committed which shouldn’t have. As a Goan who at the present day has the choice to choose his own faith, I to am disheartened to know what all happened to our ancestors. It is very wrong to title this article Happy Christmas and blame this entire Portuguese nightmare on St. Frances Xavier. There is an entire scientific process for one to become a Christian Saint. Not everybody can become one. You sound like you are clearly stirring up hatred. Blame the Portugues regime and not religion. They used religion as an excuse. The Church may not be perfect. But God certainly is.

    Reply this comment
  4. balaji rajendran
    balaji rajendran 31 December, 2015, 00:24

    George , it shows how much stupid you are, more than they wanted goans to be portugese, they wanted them to be christians!!!

    nothing to blame a religion, which blames other religions in its holy book , the bible!!

    how much stupid,superstitious you are, brain washed totally!!

    every blessing you are Getting is not because you are a christian, or you pray!!

    its because, true lord, true god, blesses their children, inspite of different faiths,

    you know a lot about, christianity, you love your god , very good!!

    but what do you know about hinduism??

    dont listen to what your church says!!

    jusy, you make a check,
    to challenge your faith, i want you to read all four vedas of hinduism!!
    you will know, from where the bible is stolen, and It is manipulated in such a way to show, how christianity is the only true faith!!

    and,how much, evil, and demonic it is!!

    a open challenge to you george and all christians!!

    Reply this comment
  5. john @ oxord
    john @ oxord 19 January, 2016, 02:08

    Reading through the comments show that some of you are not very polite in your language. Are you guys simply scribbling down to hurl harsh language, hatred and anger. Is it so difficult to communicate with others and have a healthy discussion. As they say ” dont throw mud at others otherwise you are losing your ground”. By the way, generalizing things base on isolated case lacks profundity, erudition and scholarly touch. If one is going to blame all the adherents of Christian faith, other religions could also point their fingers on Hindus. Gujarat and Orissa arr some of the few examples.

    Reply this comment
  6. Octavio Po
    Octavio Po 2 July, 2016, 05:05

    By the way, the Bible and Jesus are a great great frauds! Who wrote the Bible? Who was Jesus? All serious investigators know that this is a great liar. Inquisition and christianity were devices of evil forces. Here in Europe who believ in priests and nuns? All that I know only want good food, luxury, women and most of them are pedophyles! And goans… lost their carachter. Their blood are full of fear since today.

    Reply this comment
    • Shiva Mendes
      Shiva Mendes 5 July, 2016, 19:23

      Octavio Po? What the Hell are you doing in Europe ? You should profess and save your faith and spread hatred in your country rather than being a key board crusader

      Reply this comment
      • Octavio Po
        Octavio Po 6 July, 2016, 23:54

        Shiva Mendes: all the great major wars were provoked or by christians or by muslims. Today yet. Hinduism with Sanatana Dharma accept all people, but christianism and islamism only accept their “one” God. Freedom don´t exist for them. Mendes see: Jesus, Mary and saints are almost all whites. Why? And sins? And hell? What is this? A joke? But if you want, you must investigate and begin to read more Books about History, that during many time were hidden of Mankind. I am a peaceful man, but nor stupid nor chiken. I don´t hate anybody. Impossible. I Love all. The True sometimes is acidic. Om Shanti

        Reply this comment
  7. sachin
    sachin 5 July, 2016, 13:59

    hitler was a catholic christian and he could not have killed 13 million jews in 12 countries alone all the christian combined to make holoucast possible to loot rape murder and dacoit the jews women and property..

    Reply this comment
  8. Srinivasan S
    Srinivasan S 5 July, 2016, 19:23

    John @ Oxford is a very decent man and is relevant questions remain unanswered , but for one gentleman who gave some reference books
    The gentleman who wants the Christians to read or study through Four Vedas , am sure wouldn’t have done it himself. As observed by Mr John it always better to maintain decency in a public forum and have healthy meaningful discussion


    Reply this comment

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