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Baloch Resistance against Portuguese Invaders

Updated: May 16, 2023

Baloch Resistance against Portuguese Invaders

Baloch's resistance against European invaders is well documented in Balochi oral literature. Historical evidence also has plenty to say on this matter.

The Baloch were mentioned in Portuguese documents as Nautaques, which means "pirates" - this was the name given to the Baloch from Jask to Gwadar.

The Portuguese historian and former soldier The Portuguese historian and former soldier wrote in his accounts which date back to the 16th century:

An ambassador was sent to the Portuguese captain, mór Dela. They defeated his forces to fight the Nautaques (Baloch) and beheaded the Portuguese.

It was also mentioned by William Floor p. 44, quoting the Portuguese captain Manoel de Lima in 1547AD; the Nautaques owned about 50-60 ships and attacked the Portuguese ships. He added details of an incident where the Baloch captured an invading Portuguese ship, set it on fire, and killed everyone.

Because of the dominance of the Baloch over the waters of the Persian Gulf. After 1568AD, the Portuguese authorities paid 326 xerafins to the King of Makran.

There are also records of Nantaques and their activities before Portuguese presence in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea waters.

There is also a record of a Portuguese alliance with Shah Ismail I to eliminate the Nautaques on the coast of Gwadar, but they failed.

A map by Pieter van der Aa. Note that the Makran region is marked with "Nautaques" - Circa 1707.

Circa 1540 - a Portuguese illustration depicting the Baloch. The inscription reads: "Nautaques are thieves who go robbing over the sea."

As we pen this, we cannot help but wonder; it is certainly bold of the colonizers to be audacious enough to describe the locals as thieves, is it not?


This blog has been contributed by Mr. Ahmad Al-Balushi.

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