Vasco Da Gama Journey
In 1497 King John's successor, Manuel I, appointed Vasco da Gama to lead a pioneering voyage to India. Vasco da Gama was born in Sines, a small port in southern Portugal, in 1460 - the same year that Henry the Navigator died.
As the ships sailed along the east coast of Africa, many conflicts arose between the Portuguese and the Muslims who had already established trading centers along the coast.
When da Gama arrived in Calicut on October 30, 1502, the Zamorin was willing to sign a treaty. Da Gama told him that he would have to banish all of the Muslims. To demonstrate his power, da Gama hung 38 fishermen; cut off their heads, feet, and hands; and floated the dismembered corpses onto the shore. Later da Gama bombarded the city with guns and forced his way into the trading system
Vasco da Gama went to African kingdoms on his way to India. When he went through these places he thought that he was the best of all the sailors and better then the native people. He did not dislike the natives, he just thought he was better than them.
When the Portuguese landed in these African Kingdoms the natives were first nice to them. They danced with the crewmen and made sure the Portuguese got the best of everything. Da Gama put up a monument to mark his being there.
Many years of Portuguese exploration down the West African coast had been rewarded when Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1488. The Portuguese then planned to send a fleet to India for spices and to outflank the Muslims in Africa. Vasco da Gama was placed in command of the expedition.
Da Gama wanted to avoid the Gulf of Guinea, where Dias had had problems with the weather and currents. To do this da Gama sailed his ships out into the Atlantic Ocean, eventually coming within 600 miles of South America. When da Gama's ships finally made landfall on November 7, they had been on the open sea for 96 days and had sailed 4,500 miles.
By his aggressive actions, Vasco da Gama demonstrated that Portuguese ships, with their superior cannon, were able to dominate their competitors, the traditional Arab merchant ships of the Indian Ocean. Muslim merchant ships were frightened away from Calicut, disrupting the city's trade.
Although Vasco da Gama returned to Portugal in 1503, other Portuguese commanders in India imitated his tactics of seaborne terror, with devastating results for the economy of Calicut. In 1513 the Zamorin of Calicut negotiated a trade agreement with the Portuguese.