Online Encyclopedia

KONKAN, or CONCAN

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 897 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KONKAN, or CONCAN, a maritime tract of Western India, situated within the limits of the Presidency of Bombay, and extending from the Portuguese settlement of Goa on the S. to the territory of Daman, belonging to the same nation, on the N. On the E. it is bounded by the Western Ghats, and on the W. by the Indian Ocean. This tract comprises the three British districts of Thana, Ratnagiri and Kolaba, and the native states of Janjira and Sawantwari. It may be estimated at 300 M. in length, with an average breadth of about 40. From the mountains on its eastern frontier, which in one place attain a height of 4700 ft., the surface, marked by a succession of irregular hilly spurs from the Ghats, slopes• to the westward, where the mean elevation of the coast is not more than loo ft.. above the level of the sea. Several mountain streams, but none of any magnitude, traverse the country in the same direction. One of the most striking characteristics of the climate is the violence of the monsoon rains—the mean annual fall at Mahabaleshwar amounting to 239 in. The coast has a straight general outline, but is much broken into small bays and harbours. This, with the uninterrupted view along the shore, and the land and sea breezes, which force vessels steering along the coast to be always within sight of it, rendered this country from time immemorial the seat of piracy; and so formidable Jiad the pirates become in the 18th century, that all ships suffered which did not receive a pass from their chiefs. The Great Mogul maintained a fleet for the express purpose of checking them, and they were frequently attacked by the Portuguese. British commerce was protected by occasional expeditions from Bombay; but the piratical system was not finally extinguished until 1812. The southern Konkan has given its name to a dialect of Marathi, which is the vernacular of the Roman Catholics of Goa.
End of Article: KONKAN, or CONCAN
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