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Is there a fort in Miramar?

Much like many traces of history are wiped out or lost over time, Gaspar Dias fort too has not left any traces of it ever being in existence. Kept alive by historians, history buffs and Goan enthusiast its memory fades with every generation. Only remnant of this military structure seems to be the cannon at Miramar circle.

The origins of the now non-existent fort can be traced to the reign of Viceroy Dom Francisco de Gama, Count of Vidigueira (Who also happens to be the great grandson of Vasco da Gama, conqueror of Goa) in 1598. The name is said to have been inspired due to its location. ‘Miramar’ was earlier known as Gaspar Dias, named after the Fidalgo who owned much of the land in the surrounding area.

Main reason that compelled the Portuguese to build this fort was to face the Dutch threat if there was any. It was also occupied by the British soldiers during their stay in Goa (From 1797-1798 and again 1802-1814).

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Eventually with the Geo political situation changed in Asia in the coming centuries. This had Portuguese concentrate on the mainland areas in order to defend the territory from the growing threat of Sambhaji. In fact the Portuguese even ordered fort Gaspar Dias be demolished. For some unknown reason the order wasn’t followed through.

In 1835, the army regiment posted in Panjim rebelled against the Portuguese authorities in Goa. The rebellion was soon crushed but almost dealt a death blow to the Gaspar Dias fort, as it was put to flame in retaliation and laid there neglected for almost seven years. In 1842, new ray of hope emerged for the fort as it was restored.

Later assessment by a committee in 1869, suggested that the fort could be used by injured soldiers during their period of recovery. Since the committee also suggested that Gaspar Dias fort was of no battle use. It began to be used for the suggested purposes by recovering soldiers in 1878.

After that not much is known about the fort, which may have been neglected and eventually razed in order to embrace change. Today so much has changed that Panjim is no more a cluster of islands it used to be, the mouth of the river isn’t as narrow as it used to be and the fort is no more visible as it used to be, just two centuries ago.

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