The Portuguese in India

The Portuguese were in power in India from 1498 and onward. Before this time the Jews from the South of India, called the Cochini Jews, were highly respected and were advisers to the Maharajas. They also controlled the pepper trade. The Portugese systematically eliminated several of the Jews and tried to take over the spice trade with the the help of the Moors. They also attacked the synagogues. A beautiful synagogue built in 1568, called the Pardesi synagogue, was also partially destroyed by the Portugese in 1661. Fortunately the Dutch came into power after 1663 and the dignity and authority of the South Indian Jews was restored. The synagogue was restored and is today one of the finest memories of the Jews in India. The Indian jews otherwise have never been discriminated against in their more than 2000 year history in India except during the Portuguese domination in India.