The Portuguese presence in India

19th Century Spanish all-round-the-box label

Exhibitor : Joel Viana de Lemos

Click here for Portuguese language version


On July 8th, 1497, a fleet of three sailing ships left Lisbon – the S. Gabriel, the S. Rafael and the Bérrio – and a small ship with supplies. The fleet was commanded by the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama and aimed to discover the maritime route from Europe to India.

Map showing the outward and return routes taken by Vasco de Gama on the very first sea voyage between Europe and India


On May 17th, 1498, the fleet reached Kappakadavu, near Calicut, in the present Indian state of Kerala.


A model of the sailing ship S. Gabriel made from matchsticks


In addition to the important trade relationships it established, Portugal maintained a permanent presence in the state of Goa for around 450 years, until 1961.



Match industry in Goa

A postcard showing the COMPANHIA FOSFOREIRA DE GOA , LTDA (Ponda – Goa)


The most important match factory in Goa was the Companhia Fosforeira de Goa, LDA




Some of the matchboxes produced by this factory can be seen below.

Note: On each label and matchbox are indicated the references of the “Catálogo das etiquetas de caixas de fósforos – Portugal / Catalogue of Portuguese Matchbox labels” published in 1996 and 2013 and on the last four labels the references of the Swedish catalogue “Katalog över Svenska Tändsticksetiketter” published by Arne Tejder in 1963. Measurements refer to the printed area and are in millimetres.

A few labels are also known from other factories in Goa.

  1. Goa Match Works
  2. B&C Industrial Factory – St Cruz, Goa
  3. Bragança Y Ca – Nova Goa

The Gallery below shows all the known matchbox labels produced in Goa. Click on an image to enlarge it.

The following packet labels are from Companhia Fosforeira de Goa:

The Gallery below shows two matchbox labels and their respective packet labels, made for matchboxes which were exported to Goa by the Swedish factory Jönköpings Westra Tändstickfabrik.

Click here to return to the Gallery.

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