Vasco da Gama

From ArticleWorld

Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese explorer credited with started open trade between Europe and the Far East. Da Gama sailed in the late fifteenth century and the early sixteenth century.


Da Gama was born in Portugal in 1469 to a well-established family. His father was Estevao da Gama, a master of the Order of Santiago and governor of Sines. His mother was English and had connections to Dom Diogo, the Duke of Viseu (son of King Edward I of Portugal).

It is believed the Da Gama and his brothers were admitted to the Order of Santiago in 1488, but switched to the Order of Christ in 1507.

Da Gama began is career as an explorer in 1497, taking over his father’s business.

Da Gama died in India in 1524. He was buried in Kochi, India. His remains were brought back to Portugal in 1539 and reburied in Vidigueira.


In 1479, King Manuel I of Portugal financed an expedition that he hoped would establish a new trade route between Europe and the Far East. The current route was the Silk Road Cavern, which was dominated by Muslim traders, making it a treacherous a often deadly journey for European travelers.

In his Maiden voyage, Da Gama rounded the cape of Africa, stopped in present-day Mozambique, then Mombassa (present-day Kenya). In Malindi, he was the first European to discover Hindu traders. Nearly a year later, the four-ship fleet arrived in Indian, setting up an important and vital trade route for Portugal.

In 1502, Da Gama set out with a fleet of twenty ships to reinforce Portugal’s trading power. Along the way to Indian, his crew seized a ship sailing from Mecca and stole their goods. Da Gama and his men spent the next four days killing all 380 passengers of the Mecca ship.

Da Gama returned to India a final time in 1524 to replace Eduardo de Menezes as a Portuguese possession viceroy. However, Da Gama died shortly after his arrival in Goa.

Da Gama believed in spreading Christianity wherever he went, traveling with monks and using extreme force and torture on resistant Muslims. For unclear reasons, though, Da Gama was more tolerant and kind to Hindus.