The Vijaynagara and the Bahmani kingdoms dominated the South India for more than 200 years. They are best remembered for their beautiful cities and magnificent buildings, their patronage to the arts and the stability they gave amid turmoil in the North.
THE VIJAYNAGARA EMPIRE
The Vijayanagara Empire was founded by Harihar and Bukka. Harihar’s coronation is placed in 1336. Bukka succeeded him to the throne in 1356 and ruled till 1377. It rising power brought it in conflict with the sultans of Madurai. The struggle between them continued for four decades, after which the Sultanate of Madurai was wiped out. The Vijaynagara kingdom then consisted of the entire south India upto Rameshwaram, including the Tamil and the Kerala areas.
Dev Raya II (1422-1446) is considered to be the greatest ruler of the Vijayanagara kingdom. Nuniz, the Portuguese traveller and Nicolo Conti, the Italian traveller who visited the kingdom, tell us a lot about the Vijayanagara times. Apart from these two, Abdur Razzaq, also visited Dev Raya II and provides us a valuable account. Under Krishna Deva, Dev Raya’s successor, Vijayangara emerged as the strongest military power in the south. Krishna Dev was a great builder and a gifted scholar of Telugu and Sanskrit. Foreign travellers like Barbosa, Paes and Nuniz speak of his efficient administration and the prosperity. After his death, Sadashiv Raya rose to the throne. At last, the rivals of the Vijayanagara kingdom combined to give a crushing defeat to it at Bannihati near Talikota in 1565. Vijayanagara was thoroughly looted and left in ruins. The battle of Banihati is thought to mark the end of this glorious dynasty. Several remains of the dynasty can be found today in Hampi, Karnataka.
THE ADVENT OF THE PORTUGUESE
The landing of Vasco da Gama at Calicut in 1498 is has often considered to be the beginning of a new phase during which the control of the Ocean went to Europeans. The strong colony of the Arab merchants settled there was hostile to them, but the Zamorin of Calicut welcomed the Portuguese and allowed them to take pepper, drugs etc. on board. In Portugal, all the goods were sold at sixty times the cost of the entire expedition. Soon, the Portuguese develope political ambitions in India. Albuquerque became the governor of the Portuguese possessions in India in 1510 AD. He captured Goa from Bijapur in 1510 AD. The defeat of Vijayanagara kingdom in 1565 emcouraged the Deccani states to try to dislodge the Portuguese from the Deccan coast. But the attack, led by Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur, was repelled by the Portuguese. Thus, the Portuguese remained masters of the Indian seas and of the Deccan coast.