|Battle of Diu|
|Conflict: Portuguese-Mamluk War|
|Date: February 3, 1509|
|Place: Diu, India|
|Outcome: Portuguese victory|
|Kingdom of Portugal|| Mamlûk Sultanate|
Sultan of Gujarat
|Viceroy Dom Francisco de Almeida||Amir Husain Al-KurdiMalik El IsaZamorin of Calicut|
|18 ships, 12 major vessels||12 ships, 4 major vessels|
The naval Battle of Diu was a critical sea battle that took place on 2–February 3, 1509 near the port town of Diu, India , between Portugal and a joint fleet of the Mamlûk Burji Sultanate of Egypt, the Zamorin of Calicut and the Sultan of Gujarat, with only technical maritime support from the Republic of Venice and the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik). It is also referred to sometimes as the Second Battle of Chaul (Refer section below on precursor to battle).
This battle is critical from a strategic perspective since it marks the beginning of the dominance of the Europeans in the Asian naval theater. It also marks the spillover of the Christian-Islamic power struggle in Europe and the Middle East, into the Indian Ocean which was a dominant arena of international trade at that time. The battle set the stage for domination of trade in the Indian Ocean by the Portuguese for the next century, and thus greatly assisted the growth of the Portuguese Empire.
The Samoothiri Raja (anglicised to Zamorin), was incensed at the Portuguese because of their conduct since Vasco da Gama had landed in his kingdom in 1498, and hence had joined forces with the Sultan of Gujarat.
The new Mamluk fleet set out for India in 1507, first fortifying Jeddah against a possible Portuguese attack. It then passed through Aden at the tip of the Red Sea, where it received support from the Tahirid sultan, and then, in 1508, crossed the Indian Ocean to the port of Diu.
In addition to enforcing Portuguese rule, the battle was undertaken to also avenge the defeat at the first Battle of Chaul in March 1508, where Dom Lourenço de Almeida, son of the Viceroy was killed. The Viceroy was so enraged at this death that he is supposed to have said, "He who ate the chick has also to eat the rooster, or pay for it".
At that battle the recently arrived Egyptian fleet, along with the fleet from the Sultan of Gujarat, had surprised the Portuguese fleet over three days of combat. The Egyptian fleet isolated his ship, but let the others escape, taking nine captives back to Diu. The Mirat Sikandari, a Persian account of the Kingdom of Gujarat details this battle as a minor infraction.
The Viceroy was forced to chase the Egyptian fleet to avenge his son's death, because soon on December 6,1508 his replacement, the next Viceroy, Afonso de Albuquerque, arrived with orders from the King of Portugal to replace him.
The Portuguese had eighteen ships commanded by the Viceroy, with about 1,500 Portuguese soldiers and 400 natives from Cochin. The Allied side had one hundred ships, but only twelve were major vessels; the rest were small shallow-draught craft.After detecting the Portuguese, who approached from Cochin to the south, and fearing their technical superiority, the Egyptians decided to take advantage of the port of Diu and its fort, which had its own artillery. It was therefore decided to stay anchored at this port and await an attack from the Portuguese. This may also have been due to the training of the Egyptians, who were used to the more sheltered bays in the Mediterranean. There they also relied upon land-based artillery reinforcements to defeat the enemy.The Portuguese started the battle with a massive naval bombardment using their on board artillery, followed by hand-to-hand combat in the harbor of Diu.
These Portuguese ships had guns of greater caliber, better artillery crews, and were better manned and better built. The Portuguese naval infantry also had an advantage over the Egyptians, not only because they were heavily armed and equipped (armor, arquebuses and a type of grenade made of clay with gunpowder inside), but also because they were seasoned professional seamen.
The tough state-of-the art multi-rigged Portuguese carracks and the fast caravels were built to weather the storms of the Atlantic Ocean, had a stern rudder, compass, and were bristling with cannon to port and starboard as well as fore and aft. The Indian Ocean dhows and Mediterranean-type galleys launched by the coalition of the Samoothiri Raja, Gujarat and Egypt were inadequate. The Portuguese ships were able to shoot their cannons and thus dissuade the smaller craft from coming near them. Even when they did come near, the smaller craft would have been low in the water, and so unable to board the Portuguese ships while being sprayed with small arms and cannon.