NEW DELHI: Unique collection of documents consisting of direct correspondence from Lisbon to Goa and which is an important primary source for the study of the Portuguese expansion in Asia and their trade rivalries with the Arabs have become part of National Archives of India. This has become possible as National Archives of Portugal has handed over to its Indian counterpart digital copies of 62 volumes of the collection known as ‘Moncoes do Reino’ (Monsoon correspondence).
Officials said that a protocol of cooperation was signed between the National Archives of India and the Minister of Culture of the Portuguese Republic in the field of archives on 17th May, 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal. As a first step under this agreement, the Torre do Tombo (National Archives of Portugal) handed over to the National Archives of India 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 important primary source for the study of the Portuguese expansion in Asia, their trade rivalries with the Arabs and European powers and their relations with neighbouring Kings in South Asia and East Asia,” said a senior official of the Ministry of Culture.
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 where these were subsequently printed in under the title ‘Documentos Remetidos da India’(Documents sent from India) by the Academy of Science at Lisbon. The original volumes had remained in Lisbon ever since.
After 240 years, this gap in the record series in the collection of the Goa State Archives was filled when on 17 May 2017, Raghvendra Singh, Director General of Archives got the collection. Singh expressed his desire to work in close cooperation with the archival fraternity in Portugal and in India to make the centuries-old relations between the two countries, more vibrant and meaningful.