Arrival of printing press in Goa is a classic example of good things resulting from an unfortunate circumstance. It was also the first printing press to arrive in Asia. Originally intended to be used in Abyssinia (Ethiopia), how did it end up in Goa?
The Abyssinian Emperor had requested the King of Portugal for a ‘Printing press’. The request was granted at a much later date. One of the reasons for granting the request was for the press to be used in missionary work in the Abyssinian Empire (in Africa).
St. Francis Xavier had made a request for printing press to be made available in India, Japan and Ethiopia. Primarily to be used for missionary purposes in these places. The press wasn’t sought out after in Goa due to its small size (Old Conquest did not comprise entire Goa, but, Talukas of Bardez, Tiswadi, Margao).
Finally the press was dispatched. Non- existence of Suez Canal meant the ship travelling from Portugal would have to go around the Cape of Good Hope, make a pit stop at Goa before leaving for Ethiopia (in Africa).
But by the time the press(Gutenberg) arrived in Goa on 6th September 1556, relations with the Abyssinian Emperor had strained. Hence the press was deposited in Goa at Saint Paul’s College in Old Goa. Printing operations began soon, making it the first printing press not only in Goa but also Asia!