The story

Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama

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Portuguese navigator, was born in Sines, around 1468, illegitimate son of Estêvão da Gama, who was in the service of D. João II as a sailor.

Vasco da Gama was also an experienced navigator who had already performed several missions in the service of D. João II. D. Manuel I appoints him commander of the fleet that will discover the sea route to India. This expedition included three ships and a supply ship. The fleet leaves Lisbon on July 8, 1497 and arrives in Mozambique on March 2, 1498. It then goes to Malindi, where it gets the help of a Moorish pilot, eventually landing in Calicut, India, on 17 May. 1498. Despite the apparent welcome, there are the intrigues of the Arab traders, who endanger the stay of the Portuguese fleet. In October 1498 the return journey begins, arriving in Lisbon in August 1499.

The long sought-after sea route to India was discovered, and it was the culmination of so many years of effort. Faced with the problems that arise in India in the meantime, Vasco da Gama returns there in 1502 with an armada of 20 ships, submitting Kiloa and making alliances with the kings of Cochin and Cananor, thereby securing Portuguese rule in the Indian Ocean. Returns laden with spices in 1504.

In 1524 D. João III appoints him viceroy of India, where he arrives in September, to fight against the existing abuses that put in question the Portuguese presence in the region. Vasco da Gama begins to act rigidly and manages to impose the order, but he dies in December of that same year, and his remains are brought to Portugal.