Sunday, July 26, 2020

Vasco da Gama: Portuguese explorer

Vasco da Gama was born about 1460 at Sines, on the south west coast of Portugal. Both Prince John and Prince Manuel continued the efforts of Prince Henry to find a sea route to India, and in 1497 Manuel of Portugal chose Vasco da Gama, who was already an expert navigator, to open up the sea route to the east to India, just as Columbus had opened up the sea route to the west a few years earlier.

In 1497 Vasco da Gama set off for India with a fleet of ships including the São Gabriel, the São Rafael, and the Bérrio, on what was to become one of the greatest voyages of all time.

They set sail July 8, 1497, and after rounding the Cape, they visited various Arab and Swahili ports and with the help of a famous Arab pilot, reached Calicut in India. The mission was to discover a route to India and tap into the spice markets of Asia and reached Calicut May 20, 1498.

The discovery of an ocean route to India irreversibly changed the course of human history by bringing about new and far closer relationships between East and West. Its other consequences were hardly less momentous. It was the first of three voyages to India that Vasco da Gama was to make, establishing Vasco da Gama's place in history for ever more.

Da Gama succeeded in his mission and thus began an era of eventual European domination through sea power and commerce, and 450 years of Portuguese colonialism that brought wealth and power to the Portuguese crown.

In 1519, King Manuel I give Vasco da Gama a feudal title, appointing him the first Count of Vidigueira. Vasco da Gama died on 24 December 1524 in Cochin, India.
Vasco da Gama: Portuguese explorer

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