Vasco da Gama
A Portuguese Explorer
Who is This Guy?
In 1492 King John II of Portugal sent him to south of Lisbon and then to the Algarve region of the country to capture French ships as an act of vengeance against the French government for intervening Portuguese shipping.
Soon after da Gama's completion of King John II's orders, in 1495, King Manuel took the throne, and the country went back to trying to find a direct trade route to India.
To this day, not many historians understand why da Gama, an inexperienced explorer, was chosen to lead the expedition to India in 1497. On July 8 of the same year, he captained a team of four vessels, including his flagship, the 200 ton St. Gabriel to find a sailing route to India and the East.
At the end of the expedition, da Gama's first journey covered nearly 24,000 miles in close to two years and only 54 of the crew's original 170 members survived.