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Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is its largest city.
The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants and conquered it soon thereafter.
Most of Goa's soil cover is made up of laterites rich in ferric-aluminium oxides and reddish in colour.
Further inland and along the riverbanks, the soil is mostly alluvial and loamy.
By the mid-18th century, Portuguese Goa had expanded to most of the present-day state limits.
Simultaneously the Portuguese lost other possessions in India until their borders stabilised and formed the Estado da Índia Portuguesa or State of Portuguese India, of which Goa was the largest territory.
Buddhist monks laid the foundation of Buddhism in Goa.The Vijayanagara monarchs held on to the territory until 1469, when it was appropriated by the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga.After that dynasty crumbled, the area fell into the hands of the Adil Shahis of Bijapur, who established as their auxiliary capital the city known under the Portuguese as Velha Goa (or Old Goa).The highest point is the Sonsogor, with an altitude of 1,167 metres (3,829 ft). Goa's seven major rivers are the Zuari, Mandovi, Terekhol, Chapora, Galgibag, Kumbarjua canal, Talpona and the Sal. Goa has more than 40 estuarine, eight marine, and about 90 riverine islands.The total navigable length of Goa's rivers is 253 km (157 mi).