Vasco da Gama - A Short Biography


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He was known to be a fearless and tough young man.


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Once he was older, Vasco da Gama joined the Portuguese navy where he learned to navigate. He was then again dispatched to the Algarve region of Portugal to seize ships from France. This was done as a sign of revenge against the French for disrupting their shipping before.

Vasco da Gama Facts for Kids

The idea of exploring the farther parts of the world were not a new concept to da Gama since his father was also an explorer. He started on his first voyage in from Lisbon, Portugal to India.

Further Reading on Vasco da Gama

The main reason India was a popular merchant route was because of its spices. He finally reached Southern India in He then returned back after successful trade exchanges in This navigation led to a direct route from the European continent to India. On his second trip, Vasco da Gama took with him 20 armed ships. Then, to avoid the currents of the Gulf of Guinea , da Gama undertook a long detour through the South Atlantic before attempting to round the Cape of Good Hope.

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Unfavourable winds and the adverse current delayed the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope until November Sailing again on December 8, the fleet reached the coast of Natal on Christmas Day. On January 11, , it anchored for five days near the mouth of a small river between Natal and Mozambique, which they called the Rio do Cobre Copper River. By this time many of the crews were sick with scurvy; the expedition rested a month while the ships were repaired.


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On March 2 the fleet reached the Island of Mozambique , the inhabitants of which believed the Portuguese to be Muslims like themselves. Da Gama learned that they traded with Arab merchants and that four Arab vessels laden with gold, jewels, silver, and spices were then in port; he was also told that Prester John , the long-sought Christian ruler, lived in the interior but held many coastal cities.

The Sultan of Mozambique supplied da Gama with two pilots, one of whom deserted when he discovered that the Portuguese were Christians. The expedition reached Mombasa now in Kenya on April 7 and dropped anchor at Malindi also now in Kenya on April 14, where a Gujarati pilot who knew the route to Calicut, on the southwest coast of India , was taken aboard. Da Gama failed to conclude a treaty—partly because of the hostility of Muslim merchants and partly because the trumpery presents and cheap trade goods that he had brought, while suited to the West African trade, were hardly in demand in India.

The Portuguese had mistakenly believed the Hindus to be Christians. After tension increased, da Gama left at the end of August, taking with him five or six Hindus so that King Manuel might learn about their customs.

Vasco da Gama: Facts & Biography

Ignorance and indifference to local knowledge had led da Gama to choose the worst possible time of year for his departure, and he had to sail against the monsoon. He visited Anjidiv Island near Goa before sailing for Malindi, which he reached on January 8, , after nearly three months crossing the Arabian Sea.

Many of the crew died of scurvy. He himself reached Lisbon on September 9 and made his triumphal entry nine days later, spending the interval mourning his brother Paulo, who had died on Terceira.

Vasco da Gama Biography

Manuel I granted da Gama the title of dom , an annual pension of 1, cruzados, and estates. Vasco da Gama. Article Media.

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Vasco da Gama - A Short Biography Vasco da Gama - A Short Biography
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