The arrival of Vasco da Gama’s armada to India in 1498 opened the Asian markets to European forces and accelerated the development of artillery in this region of the world. Equipped with superior technology, the Portuguese imposed their presence, combining trade and warfare. Most studies on the Military Revolution assess Portuguese forces in Asia to have been superior, usually focusing on naval warfare and the efficient use of broadside gunnery, which ignores or devalues land-based warfare.

This chapter therefore aims to reassess and debate the existence of a Portuguese superiority regarding land warfare in the Estado da Índia (the name formally given to the Portuguese Empire in Asia). This assessment is conducted in the context of the European force’s having to resist several military land operations, starting as far back as their settlement in the region, because the use of gunpowder was not limited exclusively to the Portuguese and guns were used similarly by both sides. This chapter therefore broadly evaluates the impact of Portuguese warfare in Asia. It argues that both Portuguese and local landlords adapted to new ways of waging war and that the Europeans experienced a partial loss of superiority after the first decades of the sixteenth century. To reach this conclusion, first the idea of Portuguese military superiority is challenged, and then a number of battles and sieges are analysed by using both Portuguese and Asian sources, emphasizing the context of India.