Mangalorean Catholics

W.J.Pais Food for Thought - The Konkan Coast

Mangalorean Catholics (Konkani: Kodialche Katholik) are Roman Catholics from Mangalore and the former South Canara district on the southwestern coast of India. They are Konkani people and speak the Konkani language. Portuguese shipping arrived in Mangalore in 1526, and Catholic missionary activities began around 1534, when Canara was placed under the ecclesiastic jurisdiction of the Bishop of Goa.

Most of the ancestors of Mangalorean Catholics were Goan Catholics, who had migrated to South Canara from Goa, a state north of Canara, between 1560 and 1763 during the Goa Inquisition and the Portuguese-Maratha wars.[5] Gradually they learned the languages of South Canara but retained Konkani as their mother tongue. In time, they referred to themselves as Mangalorean Catholics to distinguish themselves from their ancestors from Goa. The most disconsolate memory in the community's history was a 15-year captivity imposed by Tipu Sultan, the de facto ruler of Mysore, from 24 February 1784 to 4 May 1799 at Seringapatam.[6] After the defeat of Tipu Sultan, the community resettled in South Canara, and gradually prospered under the British.[7][8]

The culture of Mangalorean Catholics is a blend of Mangalorean and Goan cultures. After migration, they adopted the local Mangalorean culture but retained many of their Goan customs and traditions. The Mangalorean Catholic diaspora is scattered across the globe, with emigrant communities in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and the Anglosphere.

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