Vasco da Gama

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Gama, Vasco da

(vă`skō də gă`mə, Port. väsh`kō dä gä`mə), c.1469–1524, Portuguese navigator, the first European to journey by sea to India. His epochal voyage (1497–99) was made at the order of Manuel IManuel I,
1469–1521, king of Portugal (1495–1521), successor of John II. Manuel's reign was most notable for the successful continuation of Portugal's overseas enterprises.
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. With four vessels, he rounded the Cape of Good Hope, passed the easternmost point reached by Bartolomeu DiasDias, Bartolomeu
, d. 1500, Portuguese navigator. He was the first European to round (1488) the Cape of Good Hope, which he called Cabo Tormentoso [cape of storms]. That voyage opened the road to India.
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 in 1488, continued up the east coast of Africa to Malindi, and sailed across the uncharted Indian Ocean to Calicut. This voyage opened up a way for Europe to reach the wealth of the Indies, and immediately Portugal gained great riches from the spice trade; out of it ultimately grew the Portuguese Empire. Gama dictated the instructions for Cabral's voyage (1500–1502) to India, and in 1502 he himself led a fleet of 20 ships on his second India voyage. With this force he attempted to establish Portuguese power in Indian waters and sought to secure the submission of a number of chiefs on the African coast. He was harsh in his methods and was not as good an administrator as many of the Portuguese captains who later went to the East, but he was the first, and he was honored with many tributes and the title of count of Vidigueria. In 1524 he was sent back to India as viceroy, but he died soon after his arrival. Gama's voyage is the subject of CamõesCamões or Camoens, Luís de
, 1524?–1580, Portuguese poet, the greatest figure in Portuguese literature.
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's epic The Lusiads.

Bibliography

See A Journal of the First Voyage of Vasco da Gama (1898), the journal of one of Gama's subordinates; G. Corrêa, The Three Voyages of Vasco da Gama and His Viceroyalty (1869, repr. 1964); K. G. Jayne, Vasco da Gama and His Successors (1910, repr. 1970); H. H. Hart, Sea Route to the Indies (1950, repr. 1971); N. Cliff, Holy War: How Vasco da Gama's Epic Voyages Turned the Tide in a Centuries-Old Clash of Civilizations (2011) and The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco Da Gama (2012).


Vasco da Gama:

see Gama, Vasco daGama, Vasco da
, c.1469–1524, Portuguese navigator, the first European to journey by sea to India. His epochal voyage (1497–99) was made at the order of Manuel I.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

Gama, Vasco da

 

Born 1469 in Sines, Portugal; died Dec. 24, 1524, in Cochin, India. Portuguese navigator who completed the search for a sea route between Europe and India.

By the time of da Gama’s expedition, the Portuguese had already established a sea route along the west coast of Africa and had gained access to the Indian Ocean (B. Dias, 1487-88). In 1497 the Portuguese outfitted an expedition to India consisting of three vessels (San Gabriel, San Rafael, and Berrio) and a small supply ship. In July 1497 the expedition under the command of da Gama set sail from Lisbon, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and, going north along the eastern coast of Africa with several stops en route, arrived at the Somali harbor of Malindi in 1498. The Arab helmsman Ahmed Ibn Majid was taken on board here to guide the ships to the Indian city of Calicut. Thus, da Gama’s expedition discovered the southeastern coast of Africa (as far as Malindi) and crossed the Indian Ocean. Da Gama established trade and diplomatic relations with the ruler of Calicut and then, at the end of August 1498, he set sail on the return voyage, his ships laden with spices. The expedition arrived at Lisbon in September 1499. Of the 168 crewmen, only 55 returned. (The others had died during the voyage.) This voyage had worldwide historical significance, since a sea route was established for the first time between Europe and the countries of southern Asia, which found themselves within the realm of Portugal’s colonial expansion.

In 1502, da Gama, commanding an armada of 20 ships, made a second voyage to the shores of India. He destroyed Calicut, set up a number of strongholds on the Malabar coast, brutally crushed the resistance of the local rulers, and returned to Lisbon in 1503 with enormous plunder. Da Gama was appointed viceroy of India in 1524, and in the same year he set out on his third—and last—voyage to India, where he died soon after his arrival.

REFERENCES

Kunin, K. Vasko da Gama, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1947.
Hart, H. Morskoi put’. v Indiiu [2nd ed.]. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from English.)
Shumovskii, T. A. Tri neizvestnye lotsii Akhmada ibn Madzhida, arabskogo lotsmana Vasko da Gamy .… Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
Magidovich, I. P. Ocherki po istorii geograficheskikh otkrytii. Moscow, 1967.

Gama, Vasco da

(c. 1460–1524) navigator who discovered route around Africa to India. [Port. Hist.: NCE, 1040]