Achievements of Vasco da Gama

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.

Achievements of Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama

Along with this, he also managed to set up an exceptionally significant and valuable trade system between India and Portugal. Another thing he did, was 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 threats.

Achievements of Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama Voyage to India

Nevertheless, da Gama’s initial expedition ushered in a several-hundred years 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.

When did Vasco da Gama start his voyage?

Da Gama started his voyage towards Asia on 8th June 1497. He sailed with a big fleet which was unusual for explorers who were going on their first voyage. The two ships that he had were called Sao Gabriel and Sao Raphael. He was also accompanied by three interpreters who could speak several languages.

Vasco da Gama went to the Island of Mozambique and was supplied with resources and pilots by the Sultan of Mozambique. He then went to Mombasa which is in Kenya now and anchored his ships at Malindi. Here he took in a Gujrati pilot who knew the path to India.

Once more the ships set sail and after a twenty-three days journey, the Ghat mountains of India could be seen. Da Gama and his fleet reached Calicut on 20th May.

Vasco da Gama's route to India
Vasco da Gama’s route to India

Why Should Vasco da Gama be remembered?

Vasco da Gama is best remembered for his voyage to India since he was the first European sailor to directly reach India around the Cape of Good Hope. His voyage is a landmark and his discoveries were of extreme significance in the history of navigation. It also helped establish Portugal as a major colonial power.

Da Gama was able to convince the rulers of Calicut to trade with his and was able to acquire a variety of spices which were very valuable. Although he had a trade a lot of it to the Muslim rulers in a barter system to buy other things, the spices he carried home proved to extremely precious.

Vasco da Gama’s Third Voyage

Vasco da Gama third voyage is not considered to be of much significance since at that time he was already a man of advanced age and died shortly after. Da Gama went in his third voyage after the death of King Manuel, this time nominated as the Portuguese Viceroy in India by King John III.

Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama

This time, on arriving in Goa, he immediately started to work on the various administrative corruptions that had begun there. However, bent down with age and weakness he sool fell ill. Da Gama died in Cochin.

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 achievement is important to note, also see the achievements of Christopher Columbus.

More Info on- Vasco da Gama Journey, family, Route, Biography

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