You heard about Vasco-da-Gama: Have you heard about Rani Abbakka Chowta?It was 1555. The Portuguese colonial power was flexing its muscles. They defeated Zamorin of Calicut – they defeated Sultan of Bijapur, they annexed Daman from the Sultan of Gujarat, captured Bombay and made Goa their headquarters. They destroyed ancient Kapaleeshwar Temple and built a church over it. Now, they were targetting the profitable port of Mangalore. But the only resistance was at Ullal: 14 km south of Mangalore. The small settlement of Ullal was being ruled by a 30 year old woman named Abbakka Chowta.
The Portuguese sent few boats and handful of soldiers to win Ullal. But the boats never came back. The next time they sent a huge fleet under the celebrated Admiral Dom-Alvero-da-Silveira. But astonishingly, the celebrated Admiral returned badly injured. Another Portuguese fleet was sent. This time also, very few managed to come back. Ultimately, Portuguese captured Mangalore port avoiding Ullal, taking a round-about way.
From the Mangalore port, they sent a huge army under General Joao Peixoto to destroy Ullal. Portuguese Army reached Ullal, but found it deserted. Rani Abbakka was not there. The army started moving relaxed. Suddenly Rani Abbakka attacked Portuguese soldiers with 200 of her soldiers. General Joao Peixoto was assassinated, seventy Portuguese soldiers were captured and the rest fled to Mangalore. But the Rani did not stop. She followed them and attacked Mangalore the same night. She entered the fort and killed Admiral Mascarenhas, the Portuguese Chief of Mangalore. Not only that, she immediately attacked Portuguese settlement at Kundapara, located hundred kilometer north of Mangalore.
Ultimately, Portuguese managed to capture Rani Abbakka by getting help from her estranged husband. She was killed while trying to escape from Portugese prison.
Thanks to our distorted history books, we read about Vasco-da-Gama and the Portuguese rulers who subjugated people of Konkan coast after terrible and unspeakable torture. But our history books are totally silent about the Great Rani, Abbakka Chowta, who taught Portugese a lesson on warfare.