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Vasco da Gama, 1st
Count of Vidigueira Count of Vidigueira (in Portuguese ''Conde da Vidigueira'') was a Portuguese comital title of nobility awarded by King Manuel I of Portugal to Don (honorific), Dom Vasco da Gama, who discovered the maritime route from Europe to India. The title was ...
(, ; ; c. 1460s – 24 December 1524), was a
Portuguese explorer Portuguese discoveries (Portuguese language, Portuguese: ''Descobrimentos portugueses'') are the numerous territories and maritime routes recorded by the Portugal, Portuguese as a result of their intensive maritime exploration during the 15th and ...
and the first European to reach
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
by sea. His initial voyage to India by way of
Cape of Good Hope A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and connects at the neck. History Capes were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a Hood (headgear), hood in the Chaperon (headgear), ...

Cape of Good Hope
(1497–1499) was the first to link
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
and
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
by an ocean route, connecting the
Atlantic
Atlantic
and the
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...

Indian
oceans and therefore, the
West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A co ...

West
and the
Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world Eastern world, also known as the East or the Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belong ...

Orient
. This is widely considered a milestone in world history, as it marked the beginning of a sea-based phase of global
multiculturalism The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social ...

multiculturalism
. Da Gama's
discovery of the sea route to India The Portuguese discovery of the sea route to India was the first recorded trip directly from Europe to India, via the Cape of Good Hope. Under the command of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, it was undertaken during the reign of King Manuel I i ...
opened the way for an age of global
imperialism Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending rule over peoples and other countries, for extending political and economic access, power and control, often through employing hard power Hard power is the use of military and economics, economi ...

imperialism
and enabled the Portuguese to establish a long-lasting
colonial empire A colonial empire is a collective of territories (often called colony, colonies), either contiguous with the imperial center or located overseas territory, overseas, Plantation (settlement or colony), settled by the population of a certain Sovereig ...
along the way from Africa to Asia. The violence and hostage taking employed by da Gama and those who followed also assigned a brutal reputation to the Portuguese among India's indigenous kingdoms that would set the pattern for western colonialism in the
Age of Exploration The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period The early modern period of modern history ...
. Traveling the ocean route allowed the Portuguese to avoid sailing across the highly disputed
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
and traversing the dangerous
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
. The sum of the distances covered in the outward and return voyages made this expedition the longest ocean voyage ever made until then. After decades of sailors trying to reach the Indies, with thousands of lives and dozens of vessels lost in shipwrecks and attacks, da Gama landed in
Calicut Kozhikode (), also known as Calicut, is an Indian city, second-largest urban agglomeration in the State of Kerala in India and 19th largest in the country with a population of two million according to 2011 census. Kozhikode is classified as ...

Calicut
on 20 May 1498. Unopposed access to the Indian spice routes boosted the economy of the
Portuguese Empire The Portuguese Empire ( pt, Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas (''Ultramar Português'') or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (''Império Colonial Português''), was composed of the overseas colonies In political scie ...
, which was previously based along northern and coastal West Africa. The main spices at first obtained from Southeast Asia were
pepper Pepper or peppers may refer to: Food and spice * Piperaceae or the pepper family, a large family of flowering plant ** Black pepper * ''Capsicum'' or pepper, a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family Solanaceae ** Bell pepper ** Chili p ...

pepper
and
cinnamon Cinnamon is a spice A spice is a seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first do ...

cinnamon
, but soon included other products, all new to Europe. Portugal maintained a commercial monopoly of these commodities for several decades. It was not until a century later that other European powers, first the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
and
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
, later
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
, were able to challenge Portugal's monopoly and naval supremacy in the
Cape Route File:Battle of Japan Sea (Route of Baltic Fleet) NT.PNG, Since the Suez Canal opened, the Cape Route has been used when passage through Suez is refused, or by Capesize ships. In the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War, the Dogger Bank incident forced the ...
. Da Gama led two of the
Portuguese India Armadas The Portuguese Indian Armadas (''Armadas da Índia'' in Indo-Portuguese) were the fleets of ships funded by the Crown of Portugal, and dispatched on an annual basis from Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, Rep ...
, the first and the fourth. The latter was the largest and departed for India four years after his return from the first one. For his contributions, in 1524 da Gama was appointed Governor of India, with the title of
Viceroy A viceroy () is an official who runs a polity in the name of and as the representative of the monarch of the territory. The term derives from the Latin prefix ''vice-'', meaning "in the place of" and the French word ''roy'', meaning "king". A ...

Viceroy
, and was ennobled as
Count of Vidigueira Count of Vidigueira (in Portuguese ''Conde da Vidigueira'') was a Portuguese comital title of nobility awarded by King Manuel I of Portugal to Don (honorific), Dom Vasco da Gama, who discovered the maritime route from Europe to India. The title was ...
in 1519. He remains a leading figure in the history of exploration, and homages worldwide have celebrated his explorations and accomplishments. The Portuguese national epic poem, ''
Os Lusíadas ''Os Lusíadas'' (), usually translated as ''The Lusiads'', is a Portuguese epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordina ...

Os Lusíadas
'', was written in his honour by
Luís de Camões Luís Vaz de Camões (; sometimes rendered in English language, English as Camoens or Camoëns, e.g. by Lord Byron, Byron in ''English Bards and Scotch Reviewers'', ; c. 1524 or 1525 – ) is considered Portugal's and the Portuguese language's g ...
. In March 2016 thousands of artifacts and nautical remains were recovered from the wreck of the ship '' Esmeralda'', one of da Gama's armada, found off the coast of
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
.


Early life

Vasco da Gama was born in 1460 in the town of
Sines Sines () is a city and a municipality in Portugal. The municipality, divided into two parishes, has around 14,214 inhabitants (2021) in an area of . Sines holds an important oil refinery An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial pr ...
, one of the few seaports on the
Alentejo The Alentejo ( , ) is a geographical, historical and cultural region of south central and southern Portugal. In Portuguese, its name means "beyond () the Tagus river" (''Tejo''). The Alentejo includes the regions of Alto Alentejo Province, Alto ...

Alentejo
coast, southwest Portugal, probably in a house near the church of Nossa Senhora das Salas. Vasco da Gama's father was Estêvão da Gama, who had served in the 1460s as a knight of the household of
Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu and Beja (or ''Fernando,'' , 17 November 1433 – 18 September 1470) was the third son of Edward, King of Portugal and his wife Eleanor of Aragon. Biography Ferdinand was born in Almeirim on 17 November 14 ...
.. He rose in the ranks of the military
Order of Santiago The Order of Santiago (; es, Orden de Santiago ), is a Military order (religious society), religious and military order founded in the 12th century. It owes its name to the Patron Saint of Spain, "Santiago" (St. James the Greater). Its initial ob ...
. Estêvão da Gama was appointed ''alcaide-mór'' (civil governor) of Sines in the 1460s, a post he held until 1478; after that he continued as a receiver of taxes and holder of the Order's commendas in the region. Estêvão da Gama married Isabel Sodré, a daughter of João Sodré (also known as João de Resende), scion of a well-connected family of English origin. Her father and her brothers, Vicente Sodré and Brás Sodré, had links to the household of Infante Diogo, Duke of Viseu, and were prominent figures in the military Order of Christ. Vasco da Gama was the third of five sons of Estêvão da Gama and Isabel Sodré – in (probable) order of age: Paulo da Gama, João Sodré, Vasco da Gama, Pedro da Gama and Aires da Gama. Vasco also had one known sister, Teresa da Gama (who married Lopo Mendes de Vasconcelos). Little is known of da Gama's early life. The Portuguese historian Teixeira de Aragão suggests that he studied at the inland town of
Évora Évora ( , ; cel-x-proto, Ebora) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edi ...

Évora
, which is where he may have learned mathematics and navigation. It has been claimed that he studied under
Abraham Zacuto Abraham Zacuto ( he, , translit=Avraham ben Shmuel Zacut, pt, Abraão ben Samuel Zacuto; 12 August 1452 – ) was a Spanish astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or ...

Abraham Zacuto
, an astrologer and astronomer, but da Gama's biographer Subrahmanyam thinks this dubious. Around 1480, da Gama followed his father (rather than the Sodrés) and joined the
Order of Santiago The Order of Santiago (; es, Orden de Santiago ), is a Military order (religious society), religious and military order founded in the 12th century. It owes its name to the Patron Saint of Spain, "Santiago" (St. James the Greater). Its initial ob ...
. The master of Santiago was Prince John, who ascended to the throne in 1481 as King
John II of Portugal John II ( pt, João II; ; 3 March 1455 – 25 October 1495), called the Perfect Prince ( pt, o Príncipe Perfeito, link=no), was King of Portugal from 1481 until his death in 1495, and also for a brief time in 1477. He is known for re-establishi ...

John II of Portugal
. John II doted on the Order, and the da Gamas' prospects rose accordingly. In 1492, John II dispatched da Gama on a mission to the port of
Setúbal Setúbal (, also , ; cel-x-proto, Caetobrix) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. ...

Setúbal
and to the
Algarve The Algarve (, , , ) is the southernmost region of continental Portugal Continental Portugal ( pt, Portugal continental; ) or mainland Portugal comprises the bulk of the Portuguese Republic, namely that part on the Iberian Peninsula and so ...

Algarve
to seize French ships in retaliation for peacetime depredations against Portuguese shipping – a task that da Gama rapidly and effectively performed.


Exploration before da Gama

From the earlier part of the 15th century, Portuguese expeditions organized by Prince
Henry the Navigator Dom Henrique of Portugal, Duke of Viseu (4 March 1394 – 13 November 1460), better known as Prince Henry the Navigator ( pt, Infante Dom Henrique, o Navegador), was a central figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire The Portuguese E ...

Henry the Navigator
had been reaching down the African coastline, principally in search of west African riches (notably, gold and slaves). They had greatly extended Portuguese maritime knowledge, but had little profit to show for the effort. After Henry's death in 1460, the Portuguese Crown showed little interest in continuing this effort and, in 1469, licensed the neglected African enterprise to a private Lisbon merchant consortium led by Fernão Gomes. Within a few years, Gomes' captains expanded Portuguese knowledge across the
Gulf of Guinea pt, Golfo da Guiné , native_name_lang= , image= Gulf of Guinea (English).jpg , caption = Gulf of Guinea map showing the chain of islands formed by the Cameroon line The Cameroon line (, ) is a chain of volcanoes. It includes islands in the G ...
, doing business in gold dust,
melegueta pepper ''Aframomum melegueta'' is a species in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, and closely related to cardamom. Its seeds are used as a spice (ground or whole); it imparts a Pungency, pungent, Black pepper, black-pepper-like flavor with hints of cit ...
, ivory and sub-Saharan slaves. When Gomes' charter came up for renewal in 1474, Prince John (future John II), asked his father
Afonso V of Portugal Afonso VRendered as Affonso in Archaic Portuguese () (15 January 1432 – 28 August 1481), known by the sobriquet the African (), was a King of Portugal. His sobriquet refers to his military conquests in Northern Africa. As of 1471, Afonso V was ...
to pass the African charter to him. Upon becoming king in 1481,
John II of Portugal John II ( pt, João II; ; 3 March 1455 – 25 October 1495), called the Perfect Prince ( pt, o Príncipe Perfeito, link=no), was King of Portugal from 1481 until his death in 1495, and also for a brief time in 1477. He is known for re-establishi ...

John II of Portugal
set out on many long reforms. To break the monarch's dependence on the feudal nobility, John II needed to build up the royal treasury; he considered royal commerce to be the key to achieving that. Under John II's watch, the gold and slave trade in west Africa was greatly expanded. He was eager to break into the highly profitable
spice trade The spice trade involved historical civilizations in Asia Asia () is a landmass variously described as part of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified b ...
between Europe and Asia, which was conducted chiefly by land. At the time, this was virtually monopolized by the
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( it, Repubblica di Venezia; vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( it, Repubblica Veneta; vec, Repùblega Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic Most Serene Republic ( ...
, who operated overland routes via
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
ine and
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
ian ports, through the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a North ...

Red Sea
across to the spice markets of India. John II set a new objective for his captains: to find a sea route to Asia by sailing around the African continent.Scammell, 1981, p. 232 By the time Vasco da Gama was in his 20s, the king's plans were coming to fruition. In 1487, John II dispatched two spies, Pero da Covilhã and Afonso de Paiva, overland via Egypt to East Africa and India, to scout the details of the spice markets and trade routes. The breakthrough came soon after, when John II's captain
Bartolomeu Dias Bartolomeu Dias (; ; Anglicized: Bartholomew Diaz; c. 1450 – 29 May 1500), a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European to do so, s ...

Bartolomeu Dias
returned from rounding the
Cape of Good Hope A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and connects at the neck. History Capes were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a Hood (headgear), hood in the Chaperon (headgear), ...

Cape of Good Hope
in 1488, having explored as far as the Fish River (''Rio do Infante'') in modern-day South Africa and having verified that the unknown coast stretched away to the northeast. An explorer was needed who could prove the link between the findings of Dias and those of da Covilhã and de Paiva, and connect these separate segments into a potentially lucrative trade route across the Indian Ocean.


First voyage

On 8 July 1497 Vasco da Gama led a fleet of four ships with a crew of 170 men from
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's admin ...

Lisbon
. The distance traveled in the journey around Africa to India and back was greater than the length of the equator. The navigators included Portugal's most experienced, Pero de Alenquer,
Pedro Escobar Pedro (alternate archaic spelling Pêro) is a masculine given name. Pedro is the Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de Espa ...
, João de Coimbra, and Afonso Gonçalves. It is not known for certain how many people were in each ship's crew but approximately 55 returned, and two ships were lost. Two of the vessels were
carrack 300px, The large carrack, thought to be the '' Santa Catarina do Monte Sinai'', and other Portuguese carracks of various sizes. From painting, attributed to either Gregório Lopes or Cornelis Antoniszoon, showing voyage of the marriage party of ...
s, newly built for the voyage; the others were a
caravel The caravel (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the ...
and a supply boat. The four ships were: * '' São Gabriel'', commanded by Vasco da Gama; a
carrack 300px, The large carrack, thought to be the '' Santa Catarina do Monte Sinai'', and other Portuguese carracks of various sizes. From painting, attributed to either Gregório Lopes or Cornelis Antoniszoon, showing voyage of the marriage party of ...
of 178 tons, length 27 m, width 8.5 m,
draft Draft, The Draft, or Draught may refer to: Watercraft dimensions * Draft (hull), the distance from waterline to keel of a vessel * Draft (sail), degree of curvature in a sail * Air draft, distance from waterline to the highest point on a vessel ...
2.3 m, sails of 372 m2 * ''São Rafael'', commanded by his brother Paulo da Gama; similar dimensions to the ''São Gabriel'' * ''Berrio'' (nickname, officially called ''São Miguel''), a caravel, slightly smaller than the former two, commanded by
Nicolau Coelho Nicolau Coelho (c.1460, in Felgueiras – 1502, off the coast of Mozambique) was an expert Portuguese navigator and explorer during the age of discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, ...
* A storage ship of unknown name, commanded by Gonçalo Nunes, destined to be scuttled in
Mossel Bay Mossel Bay ( af, Mosselbaai) is a harbour town of about 99,319 people on the Southern Cape (or Garden Route) of South Africa. It is an important tourism and farming region of the Western Cape Province. Mossel Bay lies 400 kilometres east of the ...

Mossel Bay
(São Brás) in South Africa


Journey to the Cape

The expedition set sail from Lisbon on 8 July 1497. It followed the route pioneered by earlier explorers along the coast of Africa via
Tenerife Tenerife (; ; formerly spelled ''Teneriffe'') is the largest and most populous island of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Canarias, ), also known informally as the Canaries, are a Spanish archipelago An archipelago ( ) ...

Tenerife
and the
Cape Verde , national_anthem = () , official_languages = Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** P ...

Cape Verde
Islands. After reaching the coast of present-day
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone (, also , ), officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 co ...

Sierra Leone
, da Gama took a course south into the open ocean, crossing the
Equator The Equator is a circle of latitude, about in circumference, that divides Earth into the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Southern Hemisphere, Southern hemispheres. It is an imaginary line located at 0 degrees latitude, halfway between the N ...

Equator
and seeking the South Atlantic
westerlies The westerlies, anti-trades, or prevailing westerlies, are prevailing winds from the west toward the east in the middle latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees latitude. They originate from the high-pressure areas in the horse latitudes and trend tow ...
that
Bartolomeu Dias Bartolomeu Dias (; ; Anglicized: Bartholomew Diaz; c. 1450 – 29 May 1500), a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European to do so, s ...

Bartolomeu Dias
had discovered in 1487. This course proved successful and on 4 November 1497, the expedition made landfall on the African coast. For over three months the ships had sailed more than of open ocean, by far the longest journey out of sight of land made by that time. By 16 December, the fleet had passed the
Great Fish River The Great Fish River (called ''great'' to distinguish it from the Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or co ...
(
Eastern Cape The Eastern Cape ( xh, eMpuma-Kapa, af, Oos-Kaap, st, Kapa Botjhabela) is one of the provinces of South Africa. Its capital is Bisho, but its two largest cities are East London, Eastern Cape, East London and Gqeberha. The second largest provinc ...
, South Africa) – where Dias had anchored – and sailed into waters previously unknown to Europeans. With Christmas pending, da Gama and his crew gave the coast they were passing the name
Natal NATAL or Natal may refer to: Places * Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, a city in Brazil * Natal, South Africa (disambiguation), a region in South Africa ** Natalia Republic, a former country (1839–1843) ** Colony of Natal, a former British colony (18 ...
, which carried the connotation of "birth of Christ" in Portuguese.


Mozambique

Vasco da Gama spent 2 to 29 March 1498 in the vicinity of
Mozambique Island The Island of Mozambique ( pt, Ilha de Moçambique) lies off northern Mozambique Mozambique (), officially the Republic of Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique or , ; ny, Mozambiki; sw, Msumbiji; ts, Muzambhiki), is a country located in Southeas ...
.
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
-controlled territory on the East African coast was an integral part of the network of trade in the Indian Ocean. Fearing the local population would be hostile to Christians, da Gama impersonated a
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
and gained audience with the Sultan of
Mozambique Mozambique (), officially the Republic of Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique or , ; ny, Mozambiki; sw, Msumbiji; ts, Muzambhiki), is a country located in Southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-lar ...

Mozambique
. With the paltry trade goods he had to offer, the explorer was unable to provide a suitable gift to the ruler. Soon the local populace became suspicious of da Gama and his men. Forced by a hostile crowd to flee Mozambique, da Gama departed the harbor, firing his cannons into the city in retaliation.


Mombasa

In the vicinity of modern
Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (, ) is the national anthem of Kenya. History "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"'s lyrics were originally written in Swahili language, Kiswahili, the national language of Kenya ...

Kenya
, the expedition resorted to
piracy Piracy is an act of robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publi ...

piracy
, looting Arab merchant ships that were generally unarmed trading vessels without heavy cannons. The Portuguese became the first known Europeans to visit the port of
Mombasa Mombasa ( , also ) is a coastal city in southeastern Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (, ) is the national anthem of Kenya. History "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"'s lyrics were originally writ ...

Mombasa
from 7 to 13 April 1498, but were met with hostility and soon departed.


Malindi

Vasco da Gama continued north, arriving on 14 April 1498 at the friendlier port of
Malindi Malindi (known as Melinde in antiquity) is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Galana River The Athi-Galana-Sabaki River is the second longest river in Kenya (after the Tana River (Kenya), Tana River). It has a total length of , and drain ...

Malindi
, whose leaders were having a conflict with those of
Mombasa Mombasa ( , also ) is a coastal city in southeastern Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (, ) is the national anthem of Kenya. History "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"'s lyrics were originally writ ...

Mombasa
. There the expedition first noted evidence of Indian traders. Da Gama and his crew contracted the services of a pilot who used his knowledge of the
monsoon A monsoon () is traditionally a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology ...

monsoon
winds to guide the expedition the rest of the way to
Calicut Kozhikode (), also known as Calicut, is an Indian city, second-largest urban agglomeration in the State of Kerala in India and 19th largest in the country with a population of two million according to 2011 census. Kozhikode is classified as ...

Calicut
, located on the southwest coast of India. Sources differ over the identity of the pilot, calling him variously a Christian, a Muslim, and a Gujarati. One traditional story describes the pilot as the famous Arab navigator Ibn Majid, but other contemporaneous accounts place Majid elsewhere, and he could not have been near the vicinity at the time. None of the Portuguese historians of the time mentions Ibn Majid. Vasco da Gama left Malindi for India on 24 April 1498.


Calicut, India

The fleet arrived in
Kappad Kappad, or Kappakadavu locally, is a beach near Koyilandy, in the district Kozhikode, Kerala, India. A stone monument installed by government commemorates the "landing" by Vasco da Gama with the inscription, Vasco da Gama landed here, Kappakad ...
u near Kozhikode (Calicut), in
Malabar Coast The Malabar Coast is a region of the southwestern shoreline of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of South India, southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, e ...

Malabar Coast
(present day
Kerala Kerala ( ; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Kerala
state of India), on 20 May 1498. The King of Calicut, the Samudiri (Zamorin), who was at that time staying in his second capital at
Ponnani Ponnani () is a Nagar Palika (Municipality), municipality in Ponnani Taluk, Malappuram District, in the state of Kerala, India. It serves as the administrative center of the Taluk and Block Panchayat of the same name. It is situated at the estu ...

Ponnani
, returned to Calicut on hearing the news of the foreign fleet's arrival. The navigator was received with traditional hospitality, including a grand procession of at least 3,000 armed
Nair The Nair , also known as Nayar, are a group of Indian Hindu castes, described by anthropologist Kathleen Gough as "not a unitary group but a named category of castes". The Nair include several castes and many subdivisions, not all of whom histori ...

Nair
s, but an interview with the Zamorin failed to produce any concrete results. When local authorities asked da Gama's fleet, "What brought you hither?", they replied that they had come "in search of Christians and spices." The presents that da Gama sent to the Zamorin as gifts from Dom Manuel – four cloaks of scarlet cloth, six hats, four branches of corals, twelve , a box with seven brass vessels, a chest of sugar, two barrels of oil and a cask of honey – were trivial, and failed to impress. While Zamorin's officials wondered at why there was no gold or silver, the Muslim merchants who considered da Gama their rival suggested that the latter was only an ordinary pirate and not a royal ambassador. Vasco da Gama's request for permission to leave a factor behind him in charge of the merchandise he could not sell was turned down by the King, who insisted that da Gama pay customs duty – preferably in gold – like any other trader, which strained the relation between the two. Annoyed by this, da Gama carried a few Nairs and sixteen fishermen (mukkuva) off with him by force.


Return

Vasco da Gama left Calicut on 29 August 1498. Eager to set sail for home, he ignored the local knowledge of monsoon wind patterns that were still blowing onshore. The fleet initially inched north along the Indian coast, and then anchored in at
Anjediva Anjediva Island (also Anjadip Island) (Konkani language, Konkani: Anjadiv; Portuguese language, Portuguese: ''Ilha de Angediva'') is an Indian island in the Arabian Sea. It sits off the coast of Canacona. It is part of Goa, although the nearest la ...
island for a spell. They finally struck out for their Indian Ocean crossing on 3 October 1498. But with the winter monsoon yet to set in, it was a harrowing journey. On the outgoing journey, sailing with the summer monsoon wind, da Gama's fleet crossed the Indian Ocean in only 23 days; now, on the return trip, sailing against the wind, it took 132 days. Da Gama saw land again only on 2 January 1499, passing before the coastal
Somali Somali refers to an East African tribe (ethnic group) native to Somalia Somalia,; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, D ...
city of
Mogadishu Mogadishu (, also ; so, Muqdisho or Xamar ; ar, مقديشو, Muqadīshū ; it, Mogadiscio ), locally known as Xamar or Hamar, is the capital city and most populous city The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city ...

Mogadishu
, then under the influence of the
Ajuran Empire The Ajuran Empire ( so, Saldanadda Ajuuraan, ar, سلطنة الأجورانية), also spelled Ajuuraan Empire, and often simply as Ajuran, was a Somalis, Somali empire in the medieval times in the Horn of Africa that dominated the trade in no ...
in the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula of East Africa.Robert Stock, ''Africa South of the Sahara, Second Edition: A Geographical Interpretation'', (The Guilford Press; 2004), p. 26 Located on the ea ...

Horn of Africa
. The fleet did not make a stop, but passing before Mogadishu, the anonymous diarist of the expedition noted that it was a large city with houses of four or five storeys high and big palaces in its center and many mosques with cylindrical minarets. Da Gama's fleet finally arrived in Malindi on 7 January 1499, in a terrible state – approximately half of the crew had died during the crossing, and many of the rest were afflicted with
scurvy Scurvy is a disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Int ...
. Not having enough crewmen left standing to manage three ships, da Gama ordered the ''São Rafael'' scuttled off the East African coast, and the crew re-distributed to the remaining two ships, the ''São Gabriel'' and the ''Berrio''. Thereafter, the sailing was smoother. By early March, they had arrived in Mossel Bay, and crossed the Cape of Good Hope in the opposite direction on 20 March, reaching the west African coast by 25 April. The diary record of the expedition ends abruptly here. Reconstructing from other sources, it seems they continued to Cape Verde, where Nicolau Coelho's ''Berrio'' separated from Vasco da Gama's ''São Gabriel'' and sailed on by itself. The ''Berrio'' arrived in Lisbon on 10 July 1499 and
Nicolau Coelho Nicolau Coelho (c.1460, in Felgueiras – 1502, off the coast of Mozambique) was an expert Portuguese navigator and explorer during the age of discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, ...
personally delivered the news to King Manuel I and the royal court, then assembled in
Sintra Sintra (, ) is a town and municipality in the Greater Lisbon Grande Lisboa (; en, Greater Lisbon) is a former Portuguese NUTS III subregion integrated in the Lisboa Region. It was abolished at the January 2015 NUTS 3 revision. It is part of ...

Sintra
. In the meantime, back in Cape Verde, da Gama's brother, Paulo da Gama, had fallen grievously ill. Da Gama elected to stay by his side on
Santiago Santiago (, ; ), also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more fo ...
island and handed the ''São Gabriel'' over to his clerk, João de Sá, to take home. The ''São Gabriel'' under Sá arrived in Lisbon sometime in late July or early August. Da Gama and his sickly brother eventually hitched a ride with a Guinea caravel returning to Portugal, but Paulo da Gama died en route. Da Gama disembarked at the
Azores The Azores ( , also ; pt, Açores ), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (), is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal The two Autonomous Regions of Portugal ( pt, Regiões Autónomas de Portugal) are the Azores (''Região ...

Azores
to bury his brother at the monastery of São Francisco in Angra do Heroismo, and lingered there for a little while in mourning. He eventually took passage on an Azorean caravel and finally arrived in Lisbon on 29 August 1499 (according to Barros), or early September (8th or 18th, according to other sources). Despite his melancholic mood, da Gama was given a hero's welcome and showered with honors, including a triumphal procession and public festivities. King Manuel wrote two letters in which he described da Gama's first voyage, in July and August 1499, soon after the return of the ships. Girolamo Sernigi also wrote three letters describing da Gama's first voyage soon after the return of the expedition. The expedition had exacted a large cost – two ships and over half the men had been lost. It had also failed in its principal mission of securing a commercial treaty with Calicut. Nonetheless, the small quantities of spices and other trade goods brought back on the remaining two ships demonstrated the potential of great profit for future trade. Vasco da Gama was justly celebrated for opening a direct sea route to Asia. His path would be followed up thereafter by yearly
Portuguese India Armadas The Portuguese Indian Armadas (''Armadas da Índia'' in Indo-Portuguese) were the fleets of ships funded by the Crown of Portugal, and dispatched on an annual basis from Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, Rep ...
. The spice trade would prove to be a major asset to the Portuguese royal treasury, and other consequences soon followed. For example, da Gama's voyage had made it clear that the east coast of Africa, the ''Contra Costa'', was essential to Portuguese interests; its ports provided fresh water, provisions, timber, and harbors for repairs, and served as a refuge where ships could wait out unfavorable weather. One significant result was the colonization of
Mozambique Mozambique (), officially the Republic of Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique or , ; ny, Mozambiki; sw, Msumbiji; ts, Muzambhiki), is a country located in Southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-lar ...

Mozambique
by the Portuguese Crown.


Rewards

In December 1499, King
Manuel I of Portugal Manuel I (; 31 May 146913 December 1521), known as the Fortunate ( pt, O Venturoso), was King of Portugal This is a list of Portuguese monarchs who ruled from the establishment of the Kingdom of Portugal, in 1139, to the deposition of the Por ...

Manuel I of Portugal
rewarded Vasco da Gama with the town of
Sines Sines () is a city and a municipality in Portugal. The municipality, divided into two parishes, has around 14,214 inhabitants (2021) in an area of . Sines holds an important oil refinery An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial pr ...
as a hereditary fief (the town his father, Estêvão, had once held as a ''commenda''). This turned out to be a complicated affair, for Sines still belonged to the
Order of Santiago The Order of Santiago (; es, Orden de Santiago ), is a Military order (religious society), religious and military order founded in the 12th century. It owes its name to the Patron Saint of Spain, "Santiago" (St. James the Greater). Its initial ob ...
. The master of the Order,
Jorge de Lencastre Jorge is a Spanish Language, Spanish and Portuguese Language, Portuguese given name. It is derived from the Greek name Γεώργιος (''Georgios'') via Latin ''Georgius''; the former is derived from (''georgos''), meaning "farmer" or "earth- ...
, might have endorsed the reward – after all, da Gama was a Santiago knight, one of their own, and a close associate of Lencastre himself. But the fact that Sines was awarded by the king provoked Lencastre to refuse out of principle, lest it encourage the king to make other donations of the Order's properties. Da Gama would spend the next few years attempting to take hold of Sines, an effort that would estrange him from Lencastre and eventually prompt da Gama to abandon his beloved Order of Santiago, switching over to the rival Order of Christ in 1507. In the meantime, da Gama made do with a substantial hereditary royal pension of 300,000 ''Portuguese real, reis''. He was awarded the noble title of ''Dom'' (lord) in perpetuity for himself, his siblings and their descendants. On 30 January 1502, da Gama was awarded the title of ''Almirante dos mares de Arabia, Persia, India e de todo o Oriente'' ("Admiral of the Seas of Arabia, Persia, India and all the Orient") – an overwrought title reminiscent of the ornate Castilian title borne by Christopher Columbus (evidently, Manuel must have reckoned that if Crown of Castile, Castile had an 'Admiral of the Ocean Seas', then surely Portugal should have one too). Another royal letter, dated October 1501, gave da Gama the personal right to intervene and exercise a determining role on ''any'' future India-bound fleet. Around 1501, Vasco da Gama married Catarina de Ataíde, daughter of Álvaro de Ataíde, the ''alcaide, alcaide-mór'' of Alvor Parish, Alvor (
Algarve The Algarve (, , , ) is the southernmost region of continental Portugal Continental Portugal ( pt, Portugal continental; ) or mainland Portugal comprises the bulk of the Portuguese Republic, namely that part on the Iberian Peninsula and so ...

Algarve
), and a prominent nobleman connected by kinship with the powerful Count of Abrantes, Almeida family (Catarina was a first cousin of Don (honorific), Dom Francisco de Almeida).


Second voyage

The follow-up expedition, the 2nd Portuguese India Armada (Cabral, 1500), Second India Armada, launched in 1500 under the command of Pedro Álvares Cabral with the mission of making a treaty with the Zamorin of Calicut and setting up a Portuguese Factory (trading post), factory in the city. However, Pedro Cabral entered into a conflict with the local Arab merchant guilds, with the result that the Portuguese factory was overrun in a riot and up to 70 Portuguese were killed. Cabral blamed the Zamorin for the incident and bombarded the city. Thus war broke out between Portugal and Calicut. Vasco da Gama invoked his royal letter to take command of the 4th Portuguese India Armada (Gama, 1502), 4th India Armada, scheduled to set out in 1502, with the explicit aim of taking revenge upon the Zamorin and force him to submit to Portuguese terms. The heavily armed fleet of fifteen ships and eight hundred men left Lisbon on 12 February 1502. It was followed in April by another squadron of five ships led by his cousin, Estêvão da Gama (c.1470), Estêvão da Gama (the son of Aires da Gama), which caught up to them in the Indian Ocean. The 4th Armada was a veritable da Gama family affair. Two of his maternal uncles, Vicente Sodré and Brás Sodré, were pre-designated to command an Indian Ocean naval patrol, while brothers-in-law Álvaro de Ataíde (brother of Vasco's wife Catarina) and Lopo Mendes de Vasconcelos (betrothed to Teresa da Gama, Vasco's sister) captained ships in the main fleet. On the outgoing voyage, da Gama's fleet opened contact with the East African gold trading port of Sofala and reduced the sultanate of Kilwa to tribute, extracting a substantial sum of gold.


Pilgrim ship incident

On reaching India in October 1502, da Gama's fleet intercepted a ship of Muslim pilgrims at Madayi travelling from Calicut to Mecca. Described in detail by eyewitness Thomé Lopes and chronicler Gaspar Correia, da Gama looted the ship with over 400 pilgrims on board including 50 women, locked in the passengers, the owner and an ambassador from Egypt and burned them to death. They offered their wealth, which "could ransom all the Christian slaves in the Kingdom of Fez and much more" but were not spared. Da Gama looked on through the porthole and saw the women bringing up their gold and jewels and holding up their babies to beg for mercy.


Calicut

After stopping at Cannanore, Gama drove his fleet before Calicut, demanding redress for the treatment of Cabral. Having known of the fate of the pilgrims' ship, the Zamorin adopted a conciliatory attitude towards the Portuguese and expressed willingness to sign a new treaty but da Gama made a call to the Hindu king to expel all Muslims from Calicut before beginning negotiations, which was turned down. At the same time however, the Zamorin sent a message to his rebellious vassal, the Raja of Cochin urging cooperation and obedience to counter the Portuguese threat; the ruler of Cochin forwarded this message to Gama, which reinforced his opinion of the Indians as duplicitous. After demanding the expulsion of Muslims from Calicut to the Hindu Zamorin, the latter sent the high priest Talappana Namboothiri (the very same person who conducted da Gama to the Zamorin's chamber during his much celebrated first visit to Calicut in May 1498) for talks. Da Gama called him a spy, ordered the priests' lips and ears to be cut off and after sewing a pair of dog's ears to his head, sent him away.M. G. S. Narayanan, Calicut: The City of Truth (2006) Calicut University Publications. The Portuguese fleet then bombarded the unfortified city for nearly two days from the sea, severely damaging it. He also captured several rice vessels and cut off the crew's hands, ears and noses, dispatching them with a note to the Zamorin, in which Gama declared that he would be open to friendly relations once the Zamorin had paid for the items plundered from the feitoria as well as the gunpowder and cannonballs.


Seabattle

The violent treatment meted out by da Gama quickly brought trade along the
Malabar Coast The Malabar Coast is a region of the southwestern shoreline of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of South India, southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, e ...

Malabar Coast
of India, upon which Calicut depended, to a standstill. The Zamorin ventured to dispatch a fleet of strong warships to challenge da Gama's armada, but which Gama managed to defeat Battle of Calicut (1503), in a naval battle before Calicut harbor.


Cochin

Da Gama loaded up with spices at Cochin and Cannanore, small nearby kingdoms at war with the Zamorin, whose alliances had been secured by prior Portuguese fleets. The 4th armada left India in early 1503. Da Gama left behind a small squadron of caravels under the command of his uncle, Vicente Sodré, to patrol the Indian coast, to continue harassing Calicut shipping, and to protect the Portuguese factories at Cochin and Cannanore from the Zamorin's inevitable reprisals. Vasco da Gama arrived back in Portugal in September 1503, effectively having failed in his mission to bring the Zamorin to submission. This failure, and the subsequent more galling failure of his uncle Vicente Sodré to protect the Portuguese factory in Cochin, probably counted against any further rewards. When the Portuguese king
Manuel I of Portugal Manuel I (; 31 May 146913 December 1521), known as the Fortunate ( pt, O Venturoso), was King of Portugal This is a list of Portuguese monarchs who ruled from the establishment of the Kingdom of Portugal, in 1139, to the deposition of the Por ...

Manuel I of Portugal
decided to appoint the first List of governors of Portuguese India, governor and viceroy of Portuguese India in 1505, da Gama was conspicuously overlooked, and the post given to Francisco de Almeida.


Interlude

For the next two decades, Vasco da Gama lived out a quiet life, unwelcome in the royal court and sidelined from Indian affairs. His attempts to return to the favor of Manuel I (including switching over to the Order of Christ in 1507), yielded little. Francisco de Almeida, Almeida, the larger-than-life Afonso de Albuquerque and, later on, Lopo Soares de Albergaria, Albergaria and Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, Sequeira, were the king's preferred point men for India. After Ferdinand Magellan defected to the Crown of Castile in 1518, Vasco da Gama threatened to do the same, prompting the king to undertake steps to retain him in Portugal and avoid the embarrassment of losing his own "Admiral of the Indies" to Spain. In 1519, after years of ignoring his petitions, King Manuel I finally hurried to give Vasco da Gama a feudal title, appointing him the first
Count of Vidigueira Count of Vidigueira (in Portuguese ''Conde da Vidigueira'') was a Portuguese comital title of nobility awarded by King Manuel I of Portugal to Don (honorific), Dom Vasco da Gama, who discovered the maritime route from Europe to India. The title was ...
, a count title of nobility, title created by a royal decree issued in Évora on 29 December, after a complicated agreement with Dom Jaime, Duke of Braganza, who ceded him on payment the towns of Vidigueira and Vila dos Frades. The decree granted Vasco da Gama and his heirs all the revenues and privileges related, thus establishing da Gama as the first Portuguese count who was not born with royal blood.


Third voyage and death

After the death of King Manuel I in late 1521, his son and successor, King John III of Portugal set about reviewing the Portuguese government overseas. Turning away from the old Albuquerque clique (now represented by Diogo Lopes de Sequeira), John III looked for a fresh start. Vasco da Gama re-emerged from his political wilderness as an important adviser to the new king's appointments and strategy. Seeing the new Spanish threat to the Maluku Islands as the priority, Vasco da Gama advised against the obsession with Arabia that had pervaded much of the Manueline period, and continued to be the dominant concern of Duarte de Menezes, then-List of governors of Portuguese India, governor of Portuguese India. Menezes also turned out to be incompetent and corrupt, subject to numerous complaints. As a result, John III decided to appoint Vasco da Gama himself to replace Menezes, confident that the magic of his name and memory of his deeds might better impress his authority on Portuguese India, and manage the transition to a new government and new strategy. By his appointment letter of February 1524, John III granted Vasco da Gama the privileged title of "Viceroy#Portuguese Empire, Viceroy", being only the second Portuguese governor to enjoy that title (the first was Francisco de Almeida in 1505). His second son, Estêvão da Gama (16th century), Estêvão da Gama was simultaneously appointed ''Capitão-mor do Mar da Índia'' ('Captain-major of the Indian Sea', commander of the Indian Ocean naval patrol fleet), to replace Duarte's brother, Luís de Menezes. As a final condition, Gama secured from John III of Portugal the commitment to appoint all his sons successively as Portuguese captains of Malacca. Setting out in April 1524, with a fleet of fourteen ships, Vasco da Gama took as his flagship the famous large carrack ''Santa Catarina do Monte Sinai'' on her last journey to India, along with two of his sons, Estêvão and Paulo. After a troubled journey (four or five of the ships were lost en route), he arrived in India in September. Vasco da Gama immediately invoked his high viceregent powers to impose a new order in Portuguese India, replacing all the old officials with his own appointments. But Gama contracted malaria not long after arriving, and died in the city of Cochin on Christmas Eve in 1524, three months after his arrival. As per royal instructions, da Gama was succeeded as governor of India by one of the captains who had come with him, Henrique de Menezes (no relation to Duarte). Da Gama's sons Estêvão and Paulo immediately lost their posts and joined the returning fleet of early 1525 (along with the dismissed Duarte de Menezes and Luís de Menezes). Vasco da Gama's body was first buried at St. Francis Church, Cochin, St. Francis Church, which was located at Fort Kochi in the city of Kochi (India), Kochi, but his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539. The body of Vasco da Gama was re-interred in Vidigueira in a casket decorated with gold and jewels. The Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, Monastery of the Hieronymites, in Belém, Lisbon, Belém, which would become the necropolis of the Portuguese royal dynasty of House of Aviz, Aviz, was erected in the early 1500s near the launch point of Vasco da Gama's first journey, and its construction funded by a tax on the profits of the yearly Portuguese India Armadas. In 1880, da Gama's remains and those of the poet
Luís de Camões Luís Vaz de Camões (; sometimes rendered in English language, English as Camoens or Camoëns, e.g. by Lord Byron, Byron in ''English Bards and Scotch Reviewers'', ; c. 1524 or 1525 – ) is considered Portugal's and the Portuguese language's g ...
(who celebrated da Gama's first voyage in his 1572 epic poem, ''The Lusiad''), were moved to new carved tombs in the nave of the monastery's church, only a few meters away from the tombs of the kings Manuel I of Portugal, Manuel I and John III of Portugal, John III, whom da Gama had served.


Marriage and descendants

Vasco da Gama and his wife, Catarina de Ataíde, had six sons and one daughter: # Dom Francisco da Gama, who inherited his father's titles as 2nd
Count of Vidigueira Count of Vidigueira (in Portuguese ''Conde da Vidigueira'') was a Portuguese comital title of nobility awarded by King Manuel I of Portugal to Don (honorific), Dom Vasco da Gama, who discovered the maritime route from Europe to India. The title was ...
and the 2nd "Admiral of the Seas of India, Arabia and Persia". He remained in Portugal. # Dom Estêvão da Gama (16th century), Estevão da Gama, after his abortive 1524 term as Indian patrol captain, he was appointed for a three-year term as Portuguese Malacca#Portuguese administration of Malacca, ''captain of Malacca'', serving from 1534 to 1539 (includes the last two years of his younger brother Paulo's term). He was subsequently appointed as the 11th List of governors of Portuguese India, governor of India from 1540 to 1542. # Dom Paulo da Gama (having the same name as his uncle :pt:Paulo da Gama, Paulo), captain of Malacca from 1533 to 1534, killed in a naval action off Malacca. # Dom Cristovão da Gama, captain of Malacca from 1538 to 1540; nominated to succeed in Malacca, but executed by Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim during the Ethiopian-Adal war in 1542. # Dom Pedro da Silva da Gama, appointed captain of Malacca from 1548 to 1552. # Dom Álvaro d'Ataide da Gama, appointed captain of Malacca fleet in the 1540s, captain of Malacca itself from 1552 to 1554. # Dona Isabel d'Ataide da Gama, only daughter, married Ignacio de Noronha, son of the first Count of Linhares. His male-line issue became extinct in 1747, though the title continued through the female-line.


Intergenerations

* Dom :pt:Vasco da Gama, 3.º Conde da Vidigueira, Vasco da Gama, 3rd Count of Vidigueira, the nobility and military personnel, son of Francisco (2nd Count) and grandson of Vasco da Gama. * Dom :pt: Francisco da Gama, 4.º Conde da Vidigueira, Francisco da Gama, 4th Count of Vidigueira, the viceroy (1597–1600) and governor (1622–1628) of India, son of Vasco (3rd Count) and great-grandson of Vasco da Gama.


Legacy

Vasco da Gama is one of the most famous and celebrated explorers from the Age of Discovery. As much as anyone after
Henry the Navigator Dom Henrique of Portugal, Duke of Viseu (4 March 1394 – 13 November 1460), better known as Prince Henry the Navigator ( pt, Infante Dom Henrique, o Navegador), was a central figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire The Portuguese E ...

Henry the Navigator
, he was responsible for Portugal's success as an early colonising power. Beside the fact of the first voyage itself, it was his astute mix of politics and war on the other side of the world that placed Portugal in a prominent position in Indian Ocean trade. Following da Gama's initial voyage, the Portuguese crown realized that securing outposts on the eastern coast of Africa would prove vital to maintaining national trade routes to the Far East. However, his fame is tempered by such incidents and attitudes as displayed in the notorious Pilgrim Ship Incident previously discussed. The Portuguese national epic, the ''Lusíadas'' of Luís de Camões, Luís Vaz de Camões, largely concerns Vasco da Gama's voyages.. The 1865 grand opera ''L'Africaine: Opéra en Cinq Actes'', composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer from a libretto by Eugène Scribe, prominently includes the character of Vasco da Gama. The events depicted, however, are fictitious. Meyerbeer's working title for the opera was ''Vasco da Gama''. A 1989 production of the opera by the San Francisco Opera featured noted tenor Plácido Domingo in the role of da Gama. The 19th-century composer Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray composed an eponymous 1872 opera based on da Gama's life and exploits at sea. The port city of Vasco da Gama, Goa, Vasco da Gama in Goa is named after him, as is the crater Vasco da Gama (crater), Vasco da Gama on the Moon. There are three football clubs in Brazil (including Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama) and Vasco Sports Club in Goa that were also named after him. There exists a church in Kochi (India), Kochi, Kerala called Vasco da Gama Church, and a private residence on the island of Saint Helena. The suburb of Vasco in Cape Town also honours him. A few places in Lisbon's Parque das Nações are named after the explorer, such as the Vasco da Gama Bridge, Vasco da Gama Tower and the ''Centro Comercial Vasco da Gama'' shopping centre. The Lisbon Oceanarium, Oceanário in the Parque das Nações has a mascot of a cartoon diver with the name of "Vasco", who is named after the explorer. Vasco da Gama was the only explorer on the final pool of Os Grandes Portugueses. Although the final shortlist featured other Age of Discovery related people, they were not actually explorers nor navigators for any matter. The Portuguese Navy has a Vasco da Gama class frigate, class of frigates named after him. There are three ''Vasco da Gama'' class frigates in total, of which the first one also NRP Vasco da Gama (F330), bears his name. The Portuguese government erected two navigational beacons, Dias Cross and da Gama Cross, to commemorate da Gama and
Bartolomeu Dias Bartolomeu Dias (; ; Anglicized: Bartholomew Diaz; c. 1450 – 29 May 1500), a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European to do so, s ...

Bartolomeu Dias
who were the first modern European explorers to reach the Cape of Good Hope. When lined up, these crosses point to Whittle Rock, a large, permanently submerged shipping hazard in False Bay. South African musician Hugh Masekela recorded an anti-colonialist song entitled "Colonial Man", which contains the lyrics "Vasco da Gama was no friend of mine", and another song entitled "Vasco da Gama (The Sailor Man)". Both songs were included in his 1976 album ''Colonial Man''. Vasco da Gama appears as an antagonist in the Indian film ''Urumi (film), Urumi''. The film, directed by Santosh Sivan, depicts atrocities and progression to establish the Portuguese empire by da Gama in India. In March 2016, archaeologists working off the coast of
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
identified a shipwreck believed to be that of the ''Esmeralda'' from da Gama's 1502–1503 fleet. The wreck was initially discovered in 1998. Later underwater excavations took place between 2013 and 2015 through a partnership between the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture and Blue Water Recoveries Ltd., a shipwreck recovery company. The vessel was identified through such artifacts as a "Portuguese coin minted for trade with India (one of only two coins of this type known to exist) and stone cannonballs engraved with what appear to be the initials of Vincente Sodré, da Gama's maternal uncle and the commander of the ''Esmeralda''."


See also

* Chronology of European exploration of Asia


References


Citations


Bibliography

* * * Castanhoso, M. de (1898) ''Dos feitos de D. Christovam da Gama em Ethiopia'' Lisbon: Imprensa nacional
online
* Facsimile reprint of an 1869 edition by the Hakluyt Society, London. * * * * * * * * (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2010. ) * * * * Teixeira de Aragão, A.C. (1887) ''Vasco da Gama e a Vidigueira: um estudo historico''. Lisbon: Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa
online
*


Further reading

* Vasco da Gama (Ernst Georg Ravenstein, Gaspar Corrêa, Alvaro Velho) [2011] Viartis * Vasco da Gama: Renaissance Crusader (Glen J.Ames) [2004] Longman * The Career and Legend of Vasco da Gama (Sanjay Subrahmanyam) [1997] Cambridge University Press *


External links


Vasco da Gama's ''Round Africa to India''
fordham.edu

University of Calgary, ucalgary.ca
A Portuguese East Indiaman from the 1502–1503 Fleet of Vasco da Gama off Al Hallaniyah Island, Oman: an interim report
IJNA {{DEFAULTSORT:Gama, Vasco da Portuguese explorers Portuguese colonial governors and administrators Maritime history of Portugal Explorers of Asia Explorers of India Explorers of Africa Viceroys of Portuguese India Da Gama family, Vasco 1460s births 1524 deaths Deaths from malaria Infectious disease deaths in India Maritime history of South Africa Colonial Goa Colonial Kerala History of Goa People from Sines People of Portuguese India People from Vidigueira Portuguese Roman Catholics 15th-century explorers 15th-century Portuguese people 15th-century Roman Catholics