Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

HOLY ROSARY CHURCH, KUNDAPURA:HISTORY

 

After joining the Society of Jesus in 1971, I came in contact with Goa and its History. To my great surprise I came to know through my readings that Konkani speaking Catholics of Karnataka except the local converts of 19th and 20th Centuries were originally from Goa.

Abu Abdullah Mohammed (1304-1358) known by his family name Ibn Bututta set out from his home town of Tangier in Morocco in 1325 on pilgrimage to Mecca. He visited Canara on his way from Hanavar to Malabar. In his travel account says, "The first town in the land of Mulaybar (Malabara) that we entered as the towm of Abu-Sarur (Barcelor), a small place on a large inlet and abounding in coco palms" (Gibb, 1986:233).

The Portuguese official Duarte Barbosa was in India from about 1500 till about 1517. He visited Barcelor. In his account he says ". The other Bracalor which pertain to the Kingdom of Naryngua (i.e. Vijayanagara). Here is much good rice, which grows in the lands there by, and many shios from abroad, and many as well of Malabar, take in cargoes there of, and take it away. Great store thereof they carry hence to Ormus (Hormuz in Saudi Arabia), Aden (South Yemen), Xaer, Cananor and Calecut, and they barter it for copper, coconuts (and the oil thereof), and molasses" (dames, 1918:193-194).

Pietro Della valle an Italian traveler who traveled India visited Barcellor on November 26, 1623 on his way from Keladi to Mangalore. He writes in his diary, " Thence we came by a short cut to Barcelore, called the Higher i.e. within land, belonging to the Indian and subject to Venk-tapa Naieka (Venkatappa Nayaka), to distinguish it from the lower barcellor on the Seacoast belonging to the Portugal's. For in almost all Territories of Indian near the sea coast there happen to be two places same place of, one called the Higher, or In-land, belonging to the natives, the other the Lower, near the sea, to the Portugal's, where they have footing. Having dined and rested a good while in higher Barcelor, I took boat and rowed down the more Southern stream; for a little below the said Town it is divided into many branches and forms divers little fruitful islands. About an hour and half before night I arrived at the Lower Barselor of the Portugals, which also stands on the Southern bank of the River, distant two good Cannon-shot from its mouth;.The Fort of the Portugals is very small, built almost in form of a Star, having not bad walls, but wanting ditches, in a Plain and much exposed to all sorts of assaults. Such Portugals as are married have Houses without the Fort in the Town, which is pretty large and hath good buildings" (Grey, 1892:296-297). Pietro then describes how he enjoyed the hospitality of Atonio Borges and how his ship met with an accident near the river mouth of Barcelor.

" I have not seen a more beautiful country than this, and an old fort, situated a little higher up than the town commands one of the finest prospects that I ever held. The people here seem to have no knowledge of anything that happened before the conquest by Sivuppa Nayaka" These were the comments written by Dr. Francis Buchanan in his diary on February 15, 1801, when he visited Kundapura in his journey from Madras through the countries of Mysore, Canara, and Malabar (Buchana, 1807:105).

In the Imperial Gazetteer of India Volume 11 (new edition) published in 1908 in pages 1-3 we read that in 1901 the population of Kundapura was 3984. On the sand-spit to the west of Kundapura town lies a small fresh water reservoir containing a variety of fish locally know as the hu-mi-nu (flower fish) running upto to three feet in length, which were especially reserved for Tippu's table during Mysore rule.

All these accounts and facts made me curious to discover further the history of Kundapura and its church where I was born and baptized. I was also equally keen to locate in Goa the ancestral village of our Carvalho Family. Thus my historical search began to discover my roots. Since of the old records relating to the history of Canara and the Canara Christians are in Portuguese, to do the serious research, the knowledge of old Portuguese is really essential. Since I do not know Portuguese, I have relied on English records and translations. I hope that some day a competent person will do research on Kundapura and the history of Christianity in Kundapura. One can excellent Ph. D. research on Kundapura and its history.

Including the Mangalore diocesan authorities many others believe that Kundapura Church was built at present site by Venerable Fr. Joseph Vaz in 1681 when he was in Canara during the period 1681-1685 as Vicar Forance of Canara. This belief is due to ignorance. I have found out from the historical documents available in Goa archives and from the other historical sources the following things of which some important points I have communicated to the Mangalore Bishop.

In Portuguese records Kundapura is know as Barcelor (pronounced as Barselor) and Basrur is called Barcelor de sima (upper Barcelor). Fr. Henry Heras, the well known Jesuit Historian of Bombay came to Kundapura 1928 summer and studied Kundapura and Basrur. Since Basrur has Maintained a number of old Hindu temples and a number of stone inscriptions Fr. Heras came to the definite conclusion that Basrus was never under the Portuguese, otherwise all these temples and antiquities would have perished at their hands. Hence he concluded that Barcelor of 16th Century is Modern Kundapura and Upper Basrur (Heras, 1930:182-184).

The Portughues discovered the sea route to India at the end of 15th Century. Vasco Da Gama reached Calicut by ship on may 20, 1498 (Costa, 1982:132). In 1510 they conquered Goa from the Bijapur Sultan Adil Shah. Gradually the Portuguese extended their activities along the Canara coast to control the trade. They were keen to conquer Onor (Honavar), Batecala or Baticala (Bhatkal), and Manglor (Mangalore).

They captured Bhatkal in 1542, Mangalore in January 20, 1568 (built a fort and named it as St, Sebestian's fort because the foundation stone was laid on 20th January the feast of St. Sebestian), and Honavar on November 25, 1569 (Meersaan, 1962:299). The excisting small fort was named Santa Catharina (Sumrahmanyam, 1984:445). To escape from the harassment of the Portuguese the local merchants of Cambolim (Ganguli) and Barcelore began to pay annual tribute to Portuguese. This custom of an annul tribute went back to 1542, when Martim Affonso de Souza began his punitive expedition to the Canara coast in 1542. At that time, to avoid further clashes, the merchants of Barcelor had agreed to make a voluntary annual payment of 700 bales of rice (one bale weight 33 kgs). The bale was known as mud in Kannada. This agreement was subsequently renegotiated in 1549, and the tribute was redured in 500 bales (Subramayam, 1984:445). In exchange, the Portuguese promised to protect shipping from the port and to grant cartazes (sailing permit). These negotiations shed light on the internal administration of Barcelor Port. The merchants of the port are referred to by the Portuguese collectively as the "chatins de Barcelor' (Shetty of Barcelor). The chronicler Diogo do Couto states specifically that unlike other regions along the coast, the settlers of Barcelor "governed themselves like a Republics, and paid some tributes to the King" (i.e. Vijaynagara). The power in the city is described as being in the hands of a collective of 'governadores' (governors) or ' ragedores' (administrators), who on specific occasions such as the treaty of 1549 appointed agents from the merchant community to prosecute negotiations. This version of the administration of the port is confirmed by a Portuguese description from 1580, which states that the port was "terra franca (Independent land) governed like a Republic , without having any other subjection or recognizing any form of over lordship except for a small tribute that is paid to the kings of Nasin(i.e. Vijayanagar) (Subrahmanyam, 1984-446).

Dom Luiz de Ataide, the Portuguese Viceroy to India sent Pedro da Silva e Menwith thirteen sail to Barcelore (Danvers, 1894a:545). The Portuguese landed at Barcelore in 1569 with large army and occupied the fort (which was a mud for close to Basrur) at nigh through the traitorous conduct of the Killedar (captain) of the fort. Those days the depth of the river was on the side of Kundapura and the river mouth was at the present Havealive village (hale allive, which means old river mouth). The Portuguese army plundered the town. The Tolar, the native ruler summoned Honnaya Kambli, the chief of Hosangadi. Perduru chief joined them with a large army . A fierce battle was fought between the native rulers and the portughese. Both sides lost heavily. Kambli was killed. The Portuguese were forced to retire to Goa leaving back their guns and ammunition. But in November 1569, the Viceroy came to Barcelore with his army. The Tolar and the Kambli kings went with any army of 11000 men but were defeated . They lost 200 soldiers. The Portuguese captured some of their works. The native rulers and their army abandoned the fort and left it in the land of Portuguese. Tolar and Kambli Kings attacked the fortress once again on a very dark night, but found its commander, Pedro Lopes Rebello with his 200 men, quite ready for them. The enemy, having lost 300 men, agreed to pay subsidy to the Portuguese to buld a fort of their own at Kundapura. More than a month was spent in building a new fortress in a more convenient place, between the city and the mouth of the river. Antonio Botelho was appointed a captain of the fort (Danvers,. 1894a:547). It was called fort of Sancta Luzia (now it is in ruin and still known as Kote Bagilu i.e. the entrance of the Port).

The location of this fort was good. The viceroy, before leaving had an interview with Tolar and Kambli princes and with the queen of Cambolim (Ganguli). Fresh treaties concerning tribute payments were signed, involving the delivery of not only rice, but of pepper, at a certain fixed price. Together with this, two customs-houses were also set up, one in Mangalore and other in Barcelor. While the customs-house in Mangalore continued to be existence until the 1650s, that at Barcelor had a relatively short life. In 1570, the Barcelor customs-house amounted to some 5000 pardaus (an Indo-Portughuese gold coin) annually, mainly on import duties on horses from Hormuz (in Saudi Arabia). Beside a sum of 1000 tangas (an indo-Portuguese silver coin) was collected annually on exports, mainly rice (Subrahmanyam, 1984:446).

In 1571 Portuguese fortified the fort and entered into treaty with the Tolar chieftain. During the battle of Kundapura Jesuit priests Sebestia`o Gonzales, S. J. and Martin Silva S.J. set up a hospital in a tent and ministered the wounded Fr. Martin died in Kundapura. The Jesuits came to Kundapura in 1570, by the order of the Provincial of Goa. They built a church and dedicated it to Our Lady of Holy Rosary. The Jesuit, however did not establish a residence there. According to Regimento que o Viceroy Dom Luis detaide fez pere a fortaleza de Barcelore dated March 30, 1570 the Viceroy Luize de Athaide, enacted for Kundapura that a vicar would appointed to serve the garrison and any Christian who might settle in the neighbourhood. This document gives clear instructions regarding the administration of the fort and the church. From the document it is certain that Kundapura Church was built at Kote Bagillu in 1570 by the Jesuits. Kundapura Church was the second church built by the Portuguese in 16th Century. The first church was Our Lady of Holy Rosary at St. Sebestian's port at Mangalore build by the Dominicans during the period 1568-1569. Adil Khan of Bijapur attacked Goa on December 12, 1570 with a large army (Costa, J. 1982:182-183). Goa inquistion was established in 1560 (Priolkar, 1961:ix). Due to this in 1574, many Christian families from Goa settled in Kundapura (Silve, 1958:45).

Antonio Bocarro the Portuguese chief record keeper of the Goa Archives writing in 1635 mentions the existence of two churches at Barcelor (Shastry, 1981:233). The first one was named the See (main church) inside the fortress meant for captians, soldiers, and other within the fort. The second church was named Mia (Mother) just outside the fortress and it was meant for casados (married people of Portuguese orgin).

The Portuguese came to India primarily for trade and commerce. Their commercial activities in Canara from 1500 AD to 1750 AD form an interesting study. Pepper and rice were the two important articles of trade which attracted them to the region. The Portuguese depended heavily upon the rice supplies from Canara. They secured much of the commodity by way of tributes from local chiefs. The rest they bought. By 1554 the chief of Barcelore was bound to pay annual rice tribute of 500 bags (Shastry 1981:203). Ample references can be found in Portuguese chronicles and documents regarding the Portuguese buying rice from Kanara. In 1525 Simao de Menezes was sent to Barcelore for provision and he actually secured rice (Shastry, 1981:203). The

central Canara ports such as Bhatkal, Barcelor, and Barkur were exporters of fine white rice. The rice was carried in both in Malabar as well as to the north Konkan, and to the Persian Gulf and even the Red Sea ports (Subramanyam 1984:442) Besides rice, pepper, coconuts, sugar, choir wood, timber and other products were carried in open craft. In exchange of the commodities which they purchased in Kanara the Portuguese sold there several things which they brought with them from Portugal and other countries. Horses for use in the cavalry, silk, aromatics, gold, copper, coral, lead, vermilion, salt were the important articles sold in the region. It is difficult to have a clear picture of statistics regarding the quantity of goods exchanged between the Portuguese and the Canara year by year. By 1554 the farmer obtained 6500 bags of rice annually from Honavar, Bhatkal, Gersoppa and Basrur. By mean of agreements. The Portuguese secured by means of treaties the monopoly of pepper supplies from Gersoppa and Basur. Merchants of Barcelor were paying to Portuguese their annual due of rice faithfully in contrast to the rulers of Mirjan, Batkal and Gerosoppa. By the 1580's the customs-house at Barcelor had been removed, and this can be seen as part of the attempt to centralize the import of horses from Persia to Goa (Subrahmanyam, 1984:447). The accquisition of Canara forts also proved crucial for the Portughuese to procure pepper. Honavar the main source for pepper trade. Barcelore, however, was scarcely of importance in the pepper network of the Portuguese; for them it was the rice port par excellence. In the year 1620 the Ganguli Barcelor region alone exported annually 1500 Khandis (One khandi is equal to 220.32 kgs) of pepper (Shastry, 1981:207).

The Portuguese were notorious for their malpractice's and ill-treatment of the Canara merchants and their ships. Francisco de Mello Sampalo, who become captain of Barcelore in 1583, damaged the trade of port so much by forcibly taking goods at a low price that the local merchants attempted to drive the Portuguese away from there. But thy did not succeed. There were also instances of captains who levied and collected illegal imports from merchants at Barcelor, contrary to Viceroy's orders. A document dated October 13, 1591 informs us that 5 larins (they were silver coins originally minted at La-r on the Persian mainland, not far from Hormuz) were collected illegally from the Muslim merchants for every korji (a measure meant for rice which is equal to 1640-52 kgs) of rice purchased by them at Barcelore (Shastry 1981:214).

Between 1600 and 1620, Venkatappa, the ruler of Ikkeri acquired control over large portion of the coast and hinterland, defeating and reducing many of the petty coastal rulers in the process, and together with Wodeyar ruler of Mysore, becoming the de facto ruler of the western potion of what in 1500 had been under Vijayanagara empire. Having achieved major gains on the cost, Venkatappa made an offer to the Portuguese Governor of Goa in 1608, suggesting that the Portuguese once aset up a customs-house at Barcelor (Subrahmanyam, 1984:448). The offer was accepted and a code formulated regulating duties, and other details of the fuctioning of customs-house.

The Portuguese become week when the Dutch challenged them in India in the 17th century. Their colonial rivalry had commended in 1568-69 and it endED IN 1669 in Dutch favour. Shivappa Nayaka of Keladi, ecouraged by the Dutch, fully exploited their week and losing position. He attacked their forts in Kanara and tool tehm one by one. Kundapura fell to him in

August 1652, Ganguli in January 1653, Managlore in August 1653 (Shastry, 1981:59). The Portuguese reoccupied the Barcelo fort in October 1664 according to the promise of Mallappa the minister (Shejwalkar,1943:143). On September 21, 1712 Vasco Fernandes Cesar de Menezes became the 38th Viceroy of Goa. Shortly afterwards he fell out with the king of Kanara, whereupon he proceeded with a small squadron to Barcelo and having dismntled the fortress at the place, he burnt all the village along the river banks, and killed all who attempted to offer any opposition (Danvers, 1894b:376).

 

The Portuguese and Gangulli

Around the end of sixteenth and early of seventieth century, due to a storm, the entrance to the Barcelor harbour was shifted and the original channel partially silted up, making it impossible, except with extremely high tides, for ships to reach the old landing places. Moreover a new channel appeared the other side at Ganguli (in Portuguese documents it is called Cambolim becasuse of Kambli Native chiefs).Henceforth many Malabarian ships made use of it and the new docking facilities to avoid Portuguese control, as the artillery of the old fort which so long had served to deter them, could no longer reach them. It was for this reason, to regain control of the shipping, that the Viceroy, Dom Miguel de Noronha (1629-1635) decided to execute the plan which had already been approved and recommended by the King and build new fort at Gangulli (Meersman, 1971:252-253). Beside, Venkatappa Nayaka, the powerful king of Keladi, to whom Ganguli belonged, died on November 10, 1629. His successor Virabhadra Nayaka, was attacked by the Adil Shah of Bijapur and other neighbouring kings. What is more , feudatory of Keladi raised the banner of revolt everywhere and a relative of Virabhadra claimed the throne of Keladi, thus launching upon a civil war (Shastry, 1982:55). The Portughuese fully exploited the situation to conquer Ganguli. The local Chettis (Shetty, merchant caste) approved the plan under condition that the Portuguese would defend them against Virabhadra Nayaka. Early 1630 Portuguese took possession of Ganguli and began to erect fort. When Virabhadra heard this he moved Gangulli but when he realized how little he gained, he relented and allowed the Portuguese to complete the construction of the fort and factory (Meersman 1971:253). The fort was completed in 1633 (Shastry, 1981:56). It was built along the coast, outside present Ganguli village. At present this fort is known as Tippu gudde (Tippu's hillrock). By conquering Gangulli the Portuguese expected to benefit by 20,000 bags of exportable rice from Canara (Shastry, 1891:207).

Shivaji and Barcelor:

On the land Shivaji was a robber; one the sea and sea cost he was a pirate (Douglas, 1893a:113). He raided Barcelor on 13th or 15th of 1655 (Shejwalkar, 1943:142). He came with his 85 frigates and 3 gret ships (masted vessels). Shivaji reached Barcelor early in the morining and began his attack before the population knew what had happened. The raid was well planned and calculated. There is no mention of any hindrance from anybody. It is not known the value of the booty which Shivaji took. According to Sabha'sad Bakhar the booty was beyond count, the whole booty was of value of two crore Hons (eight crore rupees). The amount of two crore Hons is a fross exaggeration. The Dutch estimate of three hundred thousand guilders seems to correpond very nearly to the value of the booty (Pagadi, 1974:135). When Shivaji raided Barcelor Bhadrappanayaka of Keladi must be the ruler. One thing is certain that Shivaji never led any expeditions unless he was sure of collecting good booty I a short time without loss. He sent the main part of his fleet back to his dominions and broke his journey at Gokarna with only 12 frigates and 4000 foot soldiers. At Gokarna he performed the worship.