Battle Of Diu: Background, Event, Outcome & More

3 minute read
battle of diu

The Battle of Diu can be traced back to the early 16th century when Portuguese explorers set out to establish trade routes to India. Diu was a strategic port on the western coast of India and became a focal point for Portuguese expansion in the sub-continent. The Portuguese were keen on monopolizing the lucrative spice trade and sought to assert their dominance in the routes leading to India. Thus, the battle of Diu broke out for over four months in 1509. Let us read more about the Battle of Diu in detail.

Battle of Diu Overview
Battle Took Place On3 February 1509
PlaceDiu (modern-day Daman and Diu)
Fough Between Portuguese Vs Ottoman Emipire, Sultan of Gujarat and Egyptian Mamluk
Won ByPortuguese
Casualties32 dead and more than 300 injured

Background Of The Battle Of Diu

The Battle of Diu was a naval battle that took place on February 3-4, 1509, off the coast of Diu which was a fortified island in the Arabian Sea. This significant conflict unfolded during the Age of Exploration when European powers were jostling for control of lucrative trade routes to the East. The Portuguese, under the leadership of Viceroy Dom Francisco de Almeida, sought to establish their supremacy in the Indian Ocean by challenging the combined forces of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan of Gujarat and Egyptian Mamluks. 

Also Read – Kalinga War Notes: Origin, Causes and Significance

People Involved In The Battle

  1. Portuguese Forces: Leading the Portuguese force was Viceroy Dom Francisco de Almeida, a seasoned commander. The Portuguese fleet consisted of powerful warships armed with cannons, superior in technology and firepower compared to their adversaries.
  2. Ottoman-Egyptian-Gujarati Alliance: On the opposing side, the Ottoman Empire, the Egyptian Mamluks, and the Sultan of Gujarat joined forces to confront the Portuguese incursion. The Ottoman navy, commanded by Admiral Selman Reis, was renowned for its skill in naval warfare and posed a formidable challenge to the Portuguese dominance in the region.
  3. Gujarati Sultanate: The Gujarati Sultanate, ruled by Sultan Mahmud Begada, allied with the Ottomans to counter the Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean. 

Also Read – Battle of Plassey: History, Context, and Legacy

Events of the Battle

The Battle of Diu was a naval conflict that started to establish European naval supremacy in the Asian seas. 

  • The Portuguese had been trying to gain control of the spice trade, which was traditionally in the hands of the Arab and Muslim merchants of Malabar.
  • After failed attempts to enter into a treaty with the Zamorin of Calicut, the Portuguese allied with the Raja of Cochin and devastated Calicut in 1504. 
  • The Portuguese appointed Dom Francisco de Almeida as the viceroy of India to safeguard their interests and limit Muslim merchant and ship power. 
  • This move threatened Venetian interests as the Republic of Venice had been supplying Europe with spices from the East. 
  • The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghauri, the main middlemen between Venice and Arab merchants, also became involved. The Sultan of Gujarat supported the campaign against the Portuguese, and Malik Ayyaz was appointed Governor of Diu by the Sultan.

Outcome Of The Battle

The Battle of Dabul fought in 1508, saw the Portuguese being attacked first and the city of Dabul being destroyed. In another battle at Chaul, the Portuguese were defeated and Francisco de Almeida’s son was killed. However, in the Battle of Diu in February 1509, the Portuguese emerged victorious, despite being outnumbered. 

  • After the battle, the Portuguese did not take over Diu immediately, as they felt it would be too costly to maintain. 
  • However, they eventually took over Diu in 1537 and ruled over it for 424 years until the Indian government liberated it in 1961. 
  • Notably, the Portuguese were accused of brutally killing Indian and Mamluk prisoners, while Portuguese prisoners were treated well by the Mamluk-Gujarat-Calicut fleet under Malik Ayyaz.

Relevant Blogs

Carnatic War ChroniclesAfghanistan War
First Carnatic WarThird Anglo-Maratha War
Second Anglo-Maratha WarWhy Did the Indian Mutiny Happen?
The Treaty of Purandar Between Maratha and British30 Interesting Facts about Indian Army 
Battle of PanipatBattle of Saraighat
What Were The Causes of the Battle of Buxar?The Battle Of Buxar Fought Between Whom?

This was all about the Battle of Diu. For more content related to the different states of India, visit our articles like this, you can get Study notes on the Modern History of India here. Also, you can visit our general knowledge page on Indian History!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *