NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Goa, a former Portuguese colony, became India's 25th state today when the upper house of Parliament approved a statehood bill.

The legislation was passed Monday in the lower house.

Goa, a popular resort area on the western coast, was a union territory under federal administration. As a state, it will have an elected assembly.

The area, famous for its churches and Arabian Sea beaches, was colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century and served as the capital for their oriental spice trade. Many residents, who number less than a million, are Christian.

The territory, slightly larger than Rhode Island, was absorbed into India 1961. Goa was the third territory given statehood in recent months.

Mizoram became a state late last year and Arunachal Pradesh earlier this year. Both are in the far northeast.