They built the Church of Nostra Senhora do Rosary (Our Lady of the Rosary) at Bandel, about 40 kilometres from Calcutta, India.
It is one of the few churches built during the seventeenth century by the Portuguese Augustinians in the Asian area that is still in use.
It is the oldest Catholic church in Bengal.
The Vatican issued a decree on on 25th November 1988 that granted the status of Minor Basilica to this church.
From 1517 onwards, Portuguese merchants from Goa used the sea route to Bengal but, because of the power of the local rulers, had not yet been able to establish trading posts in this part of India.
For Augnet pages about the invitation of the Augustinians from the king of Portugal to go to the Near East, click here
Map. View a map of eastern India and Bangladesh at:
West Bengal. For a closer map of the State of West Bengal in India, go to:
Map. Click below for a general map of India that includes places of Augustinian involvement (i.e., from left to right:Mumbai/Bombay, Goa, Kerala/Cochin and Calcutta):
These Portuguese traders did not live in Bengal, but held their ships there with the arrival of the monsoon at the end of May, and then in October sailed back to Cochin on the western coast of India.
Most historians agree that in 1537 Admiral Sampayo entered the Hoogly River in Bengal with nine Portuguese vessels to support Mahmud Shah, the Pathan Nawab of Gaur.
Being hard pressed by the famous Sher Khan, Mahmud Shah had asked the Portuguese representative in Goa for assistance.
As a reward for their efforts the Nawab allowed the Portuguese to set up a factory and a customs house at Satgaon, (near the Hugli, or Hooghly, in the State of West Bengal, India) and a second customs post at Chittagong (in present-day Bangladesh).
During the 1570s a certain Captain Pedro Tavares was a favourite of Akbar, the great Mogul emperor then residing in Agra. Tavares obtained from the Mogul some very important concessions for the Portuguese.