Vaso Da Gama was a Portuguese sailor who reached India on 20th May 1498 at Calicut. He was the one who discovered the European sea route to India via the Cape of Good Hope. He was also appointed as Portuguese Viceroy to India in 1524.
FACTS ABOUT VASCO DA GAMA’S FIRST VOYAGE TO INDIA
The Portuguese king commissioned explorer Vasco Da Gama to locate a naval route to the East in 1497. His success in doing so proved to be one of the most pivotal occasions in navigational history.
Vasco Da Gama (c. 1469-1524) was a Portuguese navigator who circumnavigated the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa in 1497-9 and arrived in Calicut (now Kozhikode) on India's south-west coast. This was the first direct route from Portugal to India, allowing Europeans to profit from the rich Eastern spice trade.
Since ancient times, many sailors and traders from the west have attempted to find a maritime way to India, a region famous for spices and other luxuries.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus unintentionally discovered the America while his true goal was to reach the coast of India!
The voyage to India was approved by King Manuel I of Portugal, who named Vasco Da Gama as the expedition's leader and the ArmaDa's captain.
Four ships and 170 sailors were part of the operation. So Gabriel was the name of the ship captained by Da Gama. So Rafael, Berrio, and an unnamed supply ship were the others.
On July 8, 1497, the fleet set sail from Lisbon. The goal was to circumnavigate Africa and then travel to India from there.
On July 8, 1497, the Portuguese explorer set sail from the mouth of the Tagus River near Lisbon, arriving in the Portuguese colony of the Cape Verde Islands to repair and resupply his ships. He sailed out westwards into the mid-Atlantic in a broad curve in the aim of catching favourable winds.
He departed Cape Verde on 3 August and instead of hugging the African coast, he sailed out westwards into the mid-Atlantic in a wide arc in the hope of catching pleasant winds. As a result, the seamen were able to go three months at sea without seeing land.
On November 7, they arrived at Africa's southernmost point. On the 22nd of November, as he approached the Cape of Good Hope, Da Gama made another halt, this time in Mossel Bay, to replenish his supplies.
On the 15th of April, Da Gama arrived in the Kingdom of Malindi, where he was given a pilot and a chart to aid him in his journey to India. Scholars have since disputed the long-held belief that this pilot was the famed navigator Ahmad Ibn Masdjid (aka Majid).
The explorers set sail from Malindi on April 24, 1498, and crossed the Indian Ocean on May 18, arriving near Calicut on the Malabar coast. It took ten months to sail from Portugal to India on a direct path. The expedition's landfalls were marked with pillars, six in this case, as was customary for Portuguese sailors.
The Portuguese undertook some touring, including visiting Hindu temples, which the visitors confused for some strange branch of Eastern Christianity. Da Gama was able to communicate with the ruler of Calicut because to his crew's fluent Arabic speakers, who worked with native Malayalam translators.
The ships brought a small amount of valuable spices including pepper, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon on board, but it was only a sampling compared to future voyages. In his capacity as envoy, Da Gama attempted to seduce the ruler of Calicut, Zamorin, by emphasising king Manuel's tremendous strength and sending presents.
The Zamorin, Manavikraman Raja, was underwhelmed with the presents provided by Da Gama, which comprised some garments, caps, corals, sugar, oil, and other goods. Despite the fact that the foreigners were welcomed with hospitality and a great procession, the Indians were perplexed as to why there was no gold or silver in the area.
VASO DA GAMA’S RETURN
In August 1498, they left India and arrived in Malindi in January 1499. Half of the crew had died during the return voyage, therefore the crew was in horrible shape.
Only two ships sailed back to Europe from here. On July 10, 1499, they arrived in Lisbon.
The monarch greeted Da Gama as a hero and bestowed the title 'Dom' upon him. The cargo brought in by the voyage was worth more than 60 times the expedition's cost.
Many more Portuguese armaDas would sail to India, changing the subcontinent's face in more ways than one.
Portugal progressed from being a commercial partner to colonising states of India. Goa, Portugal's largest colony in India, was under Portuguese domination for 450 years, from 1505 - 1961, until the province was liberated by the Indian army.
Despite the fact that the Portuguese were suppressed by other European powers in the subcontinent (where the British eventually triumphed), the finding the sea route to India is recognised as the most important discovery during the Age of Discovery.
After this discovery, European colonialism of India began at a tremendous speed.
WHY EUROPE WAS KEEN ON FINDING A SEA ROUTE TO INDIA?
In Europe, goods from India and the Orient were in high demand. Spices, in particular, were in high demand because they could be employed as preservatives to help people get through Europe's hard winters.
The majority of trade with India took place through land routes or through Arab merchants who transported coveted items from India's coastlines to the Venetians, who then sold the spices and other goods to the rest of Europe. The expedition was costly, and the Ottomans' takeover of Constantinople in 1453 severely harmed Venice and Genoa's trade.
A direct commercial route to India would result in higher earnings and easier access to the country's goods. The country would also have a monopoly over the lucrative spice trade.
The Muslim merchants in Calicut were understanDably irritated at the prospect of a prospective Portuguese competitor in the region's trade. Although the Portuguese were unsuccessful in forming a commercial treaty with the Zamorin, they did make a tidy profit from the selling of spices brought from India.
The Zamorin's relationship with Da Gama was difficult from the start due to Da Gama's failure to pay customs taxes.