The Portuguese were in life and death struggle for their survival.
They realised that they could not remain in the soil of Kerala for long. Not only had the stiff opposition of the kings but the advent of the Dutch and the English had created fright among them. Even though the British did not land in Kerala till that date, attempts had already been made to locate trade centres in different parts of India. As an envoy of the British East India Company, founded on 31 December 1600, Captain Hawkins visited the palace of the Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1609 and prayed for sanction to erect a factory. Though the emperor agreed to allow them to establish a factory at Surat, later he backtracked from it owing to the opposition of the Portuguese .But the English persisted in their attempts while the fleets from England came one after another with war equipment to fight off the Portuguese, if needed.
Map of Asia and Far East 1610
After the Dutch navigator Admiral Van der Haghen entered in to trade agreement with the Zamorin, ships from the Netherlands came to the coasts of Kerala. Of these, the Dutch fleet with Admiral Verhoff being head was the most important. The Dutch group landed on the seashore on 9 October 1608 with valuable gifts for the Zamorin consisting of beautiful red clothes, corals, six big mirrors, two small guns seized from the Portuguese, two silver-hilted swords and Spain-made mats.
Ships from the Netherlands came to the coasts of Kerala.
When he set his foot on ashore, in honour of Zamorin cannon fire opened was echoed from the fleets. The Admiral reached the palace of Zamorin escorted by a thousand soldiers. The Dutch bore the gifts of the Zamorin kept safe in boxes and brought to the palace while the pachyderms hauled heavy gifts - metal guns -to the palace. After a royal reception to the Admiral, the Zamorin closeted with him on ways to drive out the Portuguese not only from Kerala but from the whole of India. In the meanwhile the way to capture Goa cropped up when the Zamorin assured that for this venture there would be the help of the Sultan of Bijapur. They also promised the help in selling off the merchandise brought by the Dutch and in purchasing goods from Malabar.
High expectations were created in the mind of the Zamorin by the visit of the admiral and the agreement he signed with him. He dreamt of a huge fleet of the Dutch landing on the shores of Kerala driving out the Portuguese. But the events that staged later bedimmed his dreams.
No Dutch fleet has arrived to defeat the Portuguese. But the Zamorin has not set aside expectations. He continued waiting with expectation.
NB: This chapter is mainly based on the book ‘Lanthakkar Keralathil’ a vernacular one authored by Dr.Punnen T.T. who made it clear in the preface of the book that it was based on the book ‘De Vertiging De Nederlanders Ter Kuste Malabar’ sent to him by an official in the Netherland Archives. He also authored a book named ‘Dutch hegemony in Malabar and its Collapse’ for University of Kerala.