Earthly Mission

Goa on Ancient Maps and Illustrations


Probably the earliest depiction of Goa, from 1572: ‘Goa fortissima India urbs in Christianorum potestatem anno salutis 1509 deuenit. From Braun and Hogenberg, Civitates Orbis Terrarum.’

Discover what Goa looked like under the Portuguese via these amazingly visual and informative maps and illustrations. The Portuguese set foot in Goa in 1510, after they defeated the ruling Bijapur sultan Yousuf Adil Shah with the help of a local ally, Timayya. They set up a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa). This was the beginning of Portuguese rule in Goa that would last for four and a half centuries, until 1961. (Click images to enlarge.)


Father Philippus Baldaeus was a Dutch minister and explorer, who spent many years in South India and Sri Lanka (then Dutch Ceylon). This map of his appeared when Goa was the capital of Portuguese India. The map consists of a city view and a plan; and although it was influenced by Linschoten’s A Ilha e Cidade de Goa Metropolitana da India (1596), Baldaeus’ work clearly stands on its own. Meticulously designed, engraved and colored, this striking city plan is annotated with a key to 43 locations contained in a florid and prominently placed cartouche.


‘Vicerex Classem ex Goa ad edomandos Piratas quosdam amandat’. Frankfurt, Theodor de Bry, 1595. Early scene of a meeting of Spanish conquerors with inhabitants in India.


Jan Huygen Van Linschoten: A Ilha e Cidade de Goa Metropolitana da India E Partes Orientais que esta en 15 Graos da Banda da Norte (Goa, India, Malabar Coast, 1596)


Goa, India, 1665, Vingboons. A watercolor view of the island and city of Goa, the capital of Portuguese India, by notable 17th-century Dutch naval cartographer and mapmaker Johannes Vingboons (sometimes referred to as Vinckeboons or Vinckboons), who was also a skilled painter and talented watercolorist. Vingboons, who had access to numerous sources from the VOC (The Dutch East India Company), based the cartography of his map largely on Linschoten’s 1596, ‘A Ilha e Cidade de Goa’.


‘Goa ostio Gacis Fluvü incumbens, magni nominis oppidum.’ Amsterdam, Petrus Schenk ca. 1700.


Mallet, Allain Manesson: Die Stadt Goa – Goa. Frankfurt, 1719.


Map of Goa, in Histoire générale des Voyages, de la Harpe, 1750

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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