Vasco da Gama

The Portuguese Nobleman

Vasco's routes taken, years of exploration, places discovered, accomplishments, purpose & outcome of voyages, and significant events.

Vasco de Gama sailed for Libson in 1497 on a mission to reach India and to open a sea route from Europe to the East.

Vazco's father, Estĕvão da Gama, was given the task to find a direct route to Asia. He died before the journey could begin, and the task was given to then twenty-eight year old son, Vasco.

On July 8, 1497, da Gama and four ships left the Lisbon coast for a voyage around Africa to Asia.

By July 15th, Vasco and his crew reached the Canary Islands and on the 26th they were at the Cape Verde Islands where they spent a week as they repaired their ships and rested.

They sailed for the next six months and by March 5th, the sailors saw the port of Mozambique and entered Arab controlled seas. Da Gama and his men asked questions about the east coast of Africa, its inland area, and the Arabian Sea. The questions made the natives very suspicious because da Gama and his crew pretended to be Muslim sailors. The Sultan agreed to give them pilots to help them cross the Indian Ocean.

Once across the Indian Ocean, they found two Indian Slaves who realized the sailors were not Muslims as the religious figureheads on the São Gabriel and the São Rafael gave the Portuguese sailors away as being Christian. Because of this, fighting broke out between the Portuguese and the Muslims. By March 10th, Vasco da Gama and his crew were ordered to leave the area.

A pilot well acquainted with the sea route to India’s Malabar Coast, guided Vasco’s fleet on April 24th. Twenty-three days later, the crew spotted land and on May 21st they anchored off the coast of Calicut.

During Vasco's years of exploration, he was able to visit India, Africa and was known as a hero in both of those countries.

Vasco ended his exploration in April 1524 and passed away due to sickness in December of that same year.

Fun Facts

- Had 6 children

- 2 of his ships each weighed about 120 tons

- First voyage to India is considered to be the beginning of global multiculturalism.


Vasco da Gama Biography