The Case of Goa: History, Rhetoric and Nationalism

Philip Bravo


The Indian armed forces "liberation" of the small Portuguese colony of Goa in 1961 put an end to a fruitless diplomatic contest between New Delhi and Lisbon. The arguments used by each government to defend its right to Goa provide an interesting case study of how history can be used in an attempt to define a "people." Since few Goans were persuaded to make a stand on either side of this debate, this case indicates the limited power of nationalist rhetoric, and therefore the need for historians to look beyond such rhetoric to understand the formation of national identity.

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