The Portuguese began their 500-year presence in the East with the arrival of Vasco da Gama's fleet on the shores of Calecut, India in 1498. Portugal quickly set about spreading its dominion and influence to other parts of India and the Orient, including the Arabian Peninsula, Malaysia, Malacca, Singapore, the Moluccas, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, China, and Japan.
The Asian enclaves held by Portugal the longest, and that were still under its control in the twentieth century, were East Timor in Indonesia, Macao on the China coast, and three principle regions of India: Goa, Daman, and Diu. Since these areas were kept within the Portuguese sphere of influence, poets wrote in Portuguese and often had their works published in Lisbon and reviewed in the mainstream press. Distinctive regional literary traditions developed which were at once closely aligned with the prevailing movements in Portugal, while at the same time, strongly influenced by the respective Asian cultures.
Goa, Daman, and Diu became part of the Indian Union on December 19, 1961. Macao was returned to Chinese sovereignty on December 20, 1999. East Timor became an independent nation on May 20, 2002. There are 155 poems written by forty-three poets in this bilingual anthology. Goa is represented by sixteen poets and 45 poems; Macao, by nineteen poets and 78 poems, and East Timor, by eight poets and 32 poems.