Naval Battle of Diu- 16th Century
A major naval battle fought around Diu, in the Arabian sea, that changed the course of world history is least publicised in our history books. It was massive in terms of the participating stakeholders, a combined fleet of Egyptians, Gujaratis, Calicutians, Venetians, Arabs etc on the one side and the Portuguese on the other. The defeat of the combined fleet ended the old world power equation and the beginning of a new order.
Thereafter no fleet in the Indian Ocean could even challenge the formidable firepower of Portuguese naval artillery until the arrival of Dutch and English explorers.
The battle of Diu and its significance can be gauged only after understanding the dynamics of the spices trade between India and Europe, before the arrival of the Portuguese to the shores of Kerala.
The Bania merchants from Gujarat and the Marakkar merchants from Kerala dominated the spices and textile trade for several centuries. Yemeni merchants bought from them and sold these goods to Egyptians and from there, it was sold to the Venetians. Finally, a major quantity of these products were sold out in Europe.