Diu is a town in Diu district in the union territory of Daman and Diu, India.
In 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, concluded a defensive alliance with the Portuguese against the Mughal emperor Humayun, and allowed the Portuguese to construct the Diu Fort and maintain a garrison on the island. The alliance quickly unraveled, and attempts by the Sultans to oust the Portuguese from Diu between 1537 and 1546 failed. The Siege of Diu by the Ottoman Empire in 1538 was unsuccessful at repelling the Portuguese. The fortress, completed by Dom João de Castro after the siege of 1545, still stands. The island was occupied by the Indian military on 19 December 1961.
Diu was a city of great commercial activity when the Portuguese arrived in India. In 1513, the Portuguese tried to establish an outpost there, but negotiations were unsuccessful. In 1531 the conquest attempted by D. Nuno da Cunha was also not successful. However, Diu was offered to the Portuguese in 1535 as a reward for military aid they gave to the Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, against the Great Mogul of Delhi. So coveted since the times of Tristão da Cunha and Albuquerque, and after failed attempts of Diogo Lopes de Sequeira in 1521, Nuno da Cunha in 1523, Diu was offered to the Portuguese, who soon fortified it.
Having repented of his generosity, Bahadur Shah sought to recover Diu, but was defeated and killed by the Portuguese, followed by a period of war between them and the people of Gujarat. In 1538, Coja Sofar, lord of Cambay, together with the Turkish Suleiman Pasha, came to lay siege to Diu, and were defeated by Portuguese resistance led by Anthony Silveira. A second siege was imposed by the same Coja Sofar, in 1546, and repelled by the Portuguese conquerors, led on land by D. John Mascarenhas, and at sea, by D. João de Castro. Coja Sofar and D. Fernando de Castro, son of the Portuguese viceroy, perished in the struggle.
After this second siege, Diu was so fortified that it could withstand later attacks of the Arabs of Muscat and the Dutch (in the late 17th century). From the 18th century, Diu declined in strategic importance, and came to be reduced to a museum or historical landmark as commercial and strategic bulwark in the struggle between the forces of the Islamic East and Christian West.
Diu remained in the possession of the Portuguese from 1535 until 1961, when it fell in the possession of the troops of the Indian Union, which invaded all of former Portuguese India at the time of Nehru. The Battle of Diu involved overwhelming land, sea and air strikes on the enclave for 48 hours until the Portuguese garrison there surrendered. The action sustained the presence of the Portuguese in Diu.
Geography and climate
Diu is located at 20.71°N 70.98°E. The island is at sea level and covers an area of 38.8 km². The climate is extremely warm and humid, with an average annual rainfall of 1500 mm.
Old Diu is known for its Portuguese architecture. Diu Fort was built in 1535 and maintained an active garrison until 1960. There are three Portuguese Baroque churches, with St. Paul’s Church, completed in 1610, being the only one still in use for its original purpose. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the first church built in Diu, in 1593, is now used as a hospital. St. Thomas Church is currently used as a museum. With no tall buildings except the fort, Diu has a characteristically low skyline. A very ancient Lord Shiva's Temple is located on the "Gangeswar" coast.
Local transport is available from Una (Gujarat). Jet Airways services the island from the mainland, landing at Diu Airport. The nearby Nagoa beach and offshore lighthouse are popular tourist destinations, and the coast is a popular recreational area for parasailing, boating, and jet skiing. There are several hotels and resorts and there is a growing hotel and leisure industry. Diu and Daman are the only places in Gujarat where alcohol is legal.
Many people confuse Diu with Daman. Although people refer to them together, they are different places (approximately 650 km from each other).
The languages spoken in Diu include Gujarati, Portuguese, English and Hindi.
As of 2001 India census, Diu had a population of 21,576. Males constitute 46% of the population and females 54%. Diu has an average literacy rate of 71%, falling below the 2011 national average of 74.04%. Male literacy is 81% and female literacy is 69%. In Diu, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.