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The Zoroastrian fire temple in the ex-Portuguese colony of Diu, India

  • Mehrdad Shokoohy

Abstract

The ex-Portuguese town of Diu on the island with the same name off the south coast of Saurashtra, Gujarat, is one of the best-preserved and yet least-studied Portuguese colonial towns. Diu was the last of the Portuguese strongholds in India, the control of which was finally achieved in 1539 after many years of futile struggle and frustrating negotiations with the sultanate of Gujarat. During the late sixteenth and seventeenth century Diu remained a main staging post for Portuguese trade in the Indian Ocean, but with the appearance of the Dutch, and later the French and British, on the scene the island gradually lost its strategic importance. The town was subjected to little renovation during the nineteenth century while in the twentieth century Diu was no more than an isolated Portuguese outpost with meagre trade until it was taken over by India in 1961. As a result, unlike the other former Portuguese colonies in India – Daman and Goa – Diu has preserved most of its original characteristics: a Portuguese colonial town plan, a sixteenth-century fort and a number of old churches, as well as many of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century houses.

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The Zoroastrian fire temple in the ex-Portuguese colony of Diu, India

  • Mehrdad Shokoohy

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