Vasco da Gama

Claudia Yahng


Vasco da Gama was born in 1460 in Sines, Portugal. Under King Manuel I, his father Estevao da Gama was to find a trade route to Asia by sea. Estevao died before he could depart on an expedition, so the task was left to his son. Vasco da Gama left from Lisbon, Portugal in 1497.


Along his route to India, da Gama anchored in the Cape Verde islands, the Gold Coast, St. Helena Bay, and Mossel Beach before founding a place in Africa that he called Natal. He continued from there across the Indian Ocean to Mombasa and Malindi in East Africa before reaching Calicut, India.
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Da Gama was searching for a direct sea route to Asia in order to obtain spices and other goods.


Da Gama was the first European to reach India sea around Africa. He was successful in finding a sea route to Asia, and he won back spice trade from the Muslims.


On the journey to India, roughly two-thirds of his 170 men died, and around thirty more died of scurvy on the way back to Portugal. He treated the people of India as well as the Muslims his crew encountered on their voyage very cruelly. In India the people saw him as an evil tyrant, but in Portugal he was seen as a hero.


Vasco da Gama died in Cochin, India, where King John III, the successor of Manuel I, had sent him to put an end to the corruption of Portuguese leaders in India and repair relations with the Indian people. He died of an unknown illness on December 24, 1524, shortly after his arrival in Cochin.