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More than 200 years after they were taken away, India got back 62 volumes of documents from Lisbon chronicling the nature of the textiles industry during Portugese India. These volumes will help join the missing dots of documented history of the period.
The return has been facilitated thanks to a Protocol of Cooperation signed between the National Archives of India and the Ministry of Culture of the Portuguese Republic in the field of archives on 17th May in Lisbon, Portugal.
As a first step under the agreement, the Torre do Tombo (National Archives of Portugal) handed over to the National Archives of India the digital copies of 62 volumes of the collection known as ‘Moncoes do Reino’ (Monsoon correspondence).
These volumes were originally part of over 456 volumes that cover the period from 1568 to 1914 and form the largest of all record collections in the Goa State Archives.
The collection consists of direct correspondence from Lisbon to Goa and is primary source for the study of the Portuguese expansion in Asia, their trade rivalries with the Arabs and European powers and relations with neighbouring Kings in the South and the East Asia.
In 1777, these 62 volumes, consisting of over 12,000 documents pertaining to the period from 1605 to 1651, were shifted from Goa to Lisbon.
There they were printed under the title ‘Documentos Remetidos da India’ (Documents sent from India) by the Academy of Science at Lisbon between 1880 and 1893.
The original volumes had remained in Lisbon ever since.
The signing of the agreement has filled the gap in the recorded series in the collection of the Goa State Archives after 240 years.
Since the successful visit of the Portuguese PM to India in January, there is a lot of synergy between the two countries in diverse fields ranging from technology to education and from civil aviation to football, said K Nandini Single, India’s Ambassador to Portugal.
“Cultural is an important area where cooperation in the areas of shared heritage and legacy is greatly cherished by one and all,” the Ambassador said.