Vasco da Gama had lengthened the sea route discovery of his precursor, Bartolomeu Dias, who had first rounded Africa’s Cape of Good Hope in the year 1488. He culminated a generation of Portuguese sea discoveries, promoted by the nautical school of Henry the Navigator.
What were Vasco da Gama Discoveries?
Vasco da Gama was known to be the first European who sailed from Europe to Asia. He did what most other voyagers attempted and failed to achieve. His achievements led to a water route to Asia. This is what Vasco da Gama is most famous for.
Along with this, he also managed to set up an exceptionally significant and valuable trade system between India and Portugal. Another thing he did, what that he proved Prince Henry’s theory pertaining to an all water path to Asia was true. Vasco da Gama proved to be an Admiral of the Sea.
Da Gama proved victorious by crossing the Indian Ocean and anchored off the city of Calicut, India, on May 20. He spent the next several months trying to work out a trade treaty with the local rajah, but because of the intervention of the local Muslim merchants, he was unable to reach an agreement and headed home at the end of August 1498.
Vasco da Gama Voyage to India
Da Gama’s second voyage to India was in 1502 and was made up of 20 ships. During this voyage, he bombarded the city of Calicut. He was able to sign treaties with the rajahs in the cities of Cochin and Cannanore. With the remaining 13 ships entirely of goods he set sail for Portugal on December 28, 1502. He reached Lisbon on September 1, 1503. King Manuel I rewarded him with the titles of admiral of the Indian Seas and count of Vidigueira.
Da Gama’s voyage was victorious in setting up a sea route that linked India and Europe that would allow trade with the Far East, devoid of the use of the expensive and hazardous Silk Road caravan routes of the Middle East and Central Asia–which seemed to be fading away due to the destruction of the Mongol Empire. The path was also burdened with threat.
Nevertheless, da Gama’s initial expedition ushered in a several-hundred year era of European domination through sea power and commerce, and 450 years of Portuguese colonialism in India that brought wealth and power to the Portuguese monarchy.
Vasco da Gama Death
In the year 1503, da Gama had returned home. When he was on his final expedition to India, Vasco da Gama had gotten critically ill and died on December 24th, 1524. Vasco da Gama’s remains were taken back to Portugal, where he was buried in the chapel where he had prayed before his first voyage.
While Vasco da Gama’s achivement is important to note, also see achievements of Christopher Columbus.