On 11th August 1961 the former Portuguese territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli were merged to create the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Historically, the Indian sub continent was controlled by many European countries through trade and in some cases even through acquisition. The first European ruler to arrive in India was Alexander the Great in 327-326 BC. Subsequently, trade was carried out between Indian and Rome by Roman Soldiers who tavelled to India via the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. It was the spice trade between India and Europe which was one of the first and main trades which took place in the world economy and was also what initiated the period of European exploration.
Initially, it was competition in trade which brought European powers to India. Countries which had established trading posts in India were the Netherlands, England, France, Portugal and Denmark. By the 18th Century, the Mughal Empire was fading after the Third Battle of Panipat and hence Indian states were vulnerable and easy targets for European powers.
The earliest inhabitants of Dadra and Nagar Haveli were the Kohli chieftains, who were defeated by Rajput invaders. Later in the 18th century the Marathas got back the region from the Rajputs and in 1779 the Maratha Peshwa signed an agreement with the Portuguese, giving them the authority to collect revenue from the 79 villages in Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The Portuguese continued ruling the region right till 2nd August 1954, when it gained independence and was ultimately merged with the Union of India in 1961.
The Portuguese took over control of Dadra and Nagar Haveli on 10th June 1783 on the basis of a Friendship Treaty administered on 17th December 1779 as a compensation towards damage to a Portuguese warship by the Maratha navy. Later in 1785, the Portuguese purchased Dadra.
Under Portuguese administration, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were part of the Daman District of the Portuguese state of India. The two territories were part of a single municipality called Nagar Haveli, with its headquarters in Dadra until 1885, after which the headquarters shifted to Silvassa. Local affairs of the area were managed by an elected municipal council. Higher level affairs were the responsibility of the District Governor of Daman who was represented in Nagar Haveli by an administrator. Nagar Haveli was further divided into the civil parishes of; Silvassa, Noroli, Dadra, Quelalunim, Randa, Darara, Cadoli, Conoel, Carchonde and Sindonim. Portuguese rule in Dadra and Nagar Haveli lasted till 1954, after which the area was occupied by the Indian Union supporters.
After Indian Independence in 1947, inhabitants of Dadra and Nagar Haveli sought the help of organizations like the United Front of Goa, The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, National Movement Liberation Organisation and the Azad Gomantak Dal and released the territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portuguese India in 1954.
Even though Dadra and Nagar Haveli possessed de facto independence, it was still regarded as a Portuguese territory by the International Court of Justice. The residents of Dadra and Nagar Haveli appealed for help from the Indian Government and K.G Badlani and Indian Administrative Service officer was sent to the area as an administrator. Dadra and Nagar Haveli was administered by the Varishta Panchayat of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli from 1954 to 1961.
In 1961, Indian forces took over the area and for one day the Prime Minister of India was made the Head of State of Dadra and Nagar Haveli so that he could sign an agreement. Finally, on 11th August August 1961, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, formally included Dadra and Nagar Haveli into the Republic of India as a Union Territory.
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