Cuncolim Revolt !!


Goa’s First Revolt against the Portuguese Rule

The Portuguese first conquered Goa in 1510 and Cuncolim was the first uprising that the Portuguese had to face in Goa apart from the organized armies and rulers who fought different wars with them over a period of time. The villagers of Cuncolim, comprised mostly of Khastriyas (a warrior caste) who rendered services for different armies of different rulers, were fighting to protect their land and religion. The core of villagers from the warrior Khastriya caste raised the banner of protest against the desecration and also destruction of temples. The villagers who are known as Gaoncars - originally inhabitants of the place - were fed with the constant defiling of places of worship. The patience reached a flashpoint with death of the priests and the layman accompanying the Jesuits priests who were on a mission of conversion to the village. Five Jesuits who lost their lives along with five laymen and their bodies were dumped in a well.

A "martyrs' chapel" was erected, dedicated to the priests and layman killed in 1583. Another chapel, near Cuncolim Municipal Market , which is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa, was the site where the bodies of the murdered priests were dumped in a well. The well still stands today inside the chapel and is opened for people to view once a year during the feast of St. Xavier, celebrated in the first week of December. The Cuncolim villagers had to face the fury of the Portuguese for having killed the five priests and five laymen. The Portuguese destroyed orchards in the village and unleashed many atrocities on the local population.. The villagers elders suffered at the hands of the Portuguese authorities who ruled Goa at that time. The leaders of the Gaoncar clan were invited for talks at the Assolna fort situated on the banks of River Sal where the present day Assolna church stands and in an act of treachery sixteen of them were killed by the Portuguese authorities. One of them escaped from clutches jumped into the Assolna River (River Sal) and saw across to safety and fled to neigbouring Karwar in the present day Karwar in the Southern state of Karnataka.

As part of the memory of the murdered village chieftains, Cuncolim as recently as five years ago erected a "chieftains' memorial". The chieftains' memorial stands close to the martyrs' chapel. After the Khastriyas of Cuncolim failed to match the superior armed forces of the colonial rulers, who destroyed their orchards and unleashed other atrocities, the villagers continued the struggle through a non-cooperation movement of not paying taxes to the Portuguese. The villages of Cuncolim, Velim, Assolna, Ambleim and Veroda refused to pay taxes on the produce generated from their fields and orchards. As a result, their lands were confiscated and entrusted to the Condado of the Marquis of Fronteira. This revolt of the ''Gaoncars'' was much before the first officially recognized War of Independence, namely, the Revolt of 1857.