Vasco da Gama

A Portuguese Explorer

Who is This Guy?

Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese explorer. Born circa 1460 in Sines, Portugal. When he was old enough, da Gama joined the navy. He was a tough and fearless navigator.

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.


When da Gama returned to Lisbon, he was greeted as a hero. Not only was he a rookie that got to command an expedition, but he also found a trade route to India in the process. Late in his life da Gama was asked to return to India and he became viceroy to combat corruption there.

So How Does This Affect Me?

da Gama's sea voyage to India is one of the defining moments in the history of exploration. His journey acted as a catalyst for a series of events that changed the world. He was the first European to journey to India by sea. Opening up sea trading routes with India from Portugal. In the end though, this doesn't really affect the modern world.
Vasco da Gama - Mini Biography