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They spent several months trading in India, and studying their customs. They left India at the end of August. Many of his crew were dying of scurvy. Da Gama finally returned to Portugal in September He sailed once again beginning in February with a fleet of 10 ships.

Vasco da Gama’s Early Life and First Voyage to India

Da Gama threatened their leader, and forced him and his people to swear loyalty to the king of Portugal. At Calicut, he bombarded the port, and caused the death of several Muslim traders. Again, later at Cochin, they fought with Arab ships, and sent them into flight.


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This came at the cruel treatment of East African and South Asian people. Finally, on February 20, da Gama began the return journey home arriving on October 11 He made da Gama a Portuguese viceroy in India. Da Gama continued advising on Indian affairs until he was sent overseas again in Da Gama quickly re-established order among the Portuguese leaders. By the end of the year he fell ill. Vasco da Gama died on December 24, in Cochin, India.

He was buried in the local church. In , his remains were brought back to Portugal.


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  7. He accomplished what many explorers before him could not do. His discovery of this sea route helped the Portuguese establish a long-lasting colonial empire in Asia and Africa. The new ocean route around Africa allowed Portuguese sailors to avoid the Arab trading hold in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Vasco da Gama opened a new world of riches by opening up an Indian Ocean route.


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    His voyage and explorations helped change the world for Europeans. Akyeampong, Emmanuel, and Henry Louis Gates. Dictionary of African Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Gallagher, Aileen. Pletcher, Kenneth ed. Explorer Age of Discovery Quick Facts: Portuguese explorer and navigator who found a direct sea route from Europe to Asia, and was the first European to sail to India by going around Africa.

    Akyeampong and Gates, Dictionary of African Biography , Kenneth Pletcher, ed. Pletcher, The Britannica Guide, Pletcher, The Britannica Guide , Calvert, Patricia. Tarrytown: Benchmark Books, C5 rare. The significance of da Gama's feat goes beyond his becoming the first European to reach Asia by sea.

    Vasco da Gama (1469–1524)

    The event marked the beginning of Europe's sustained incursion into the region. Other explorers, traders, soldiers and missionaries would follow in da Gama's footsteps, ushering in a period of colonialism that will come to an end only with Macau's return to China at the end of next year. Given such a legacy, it is not surprising that controversy should have broken out over da Gama's place in history.

    As Portugal prepares to mark the th anniversary of his voyage -- the centerpiece of the celebration will be an ocean-themed Expo '98 in Lisbon -- the country's Indian associations, revisionist-minded students and leftists have loudly voiced their objections. Da Gama, they point out, engaged in pillage, torture and murder in the places he visited.

    Columbus, de Gama, and Zheng He! 15th Century Mariners. Crash Course: World History #21

    Even Muslims in Kenya, where the adventurer landed en route to India, have protested against efforts to honor the man. So what should the verdict be? Was da Gama an intrepid explorer who symbolizes all that was great about Portugal during its heyday as a seafaring power? Or was he little more than a pirate who stole from, oppressed and murdered the peoples he came across?

    Like most historical judgments, the answer must be that both views have elements of truth. It is entirely logical that the descendants of those who suffered from da Gama's actions should be less than thrilled about making him a hero. Indeed, their views must be included in any assessment of the age of European exploration.

    BBC - History - Vasco da Gama

    To ignore the perspective of the victims would be to suffer from a severe case of historical amnesia. At the same time, it must be remembered that da Gama was a product of his era. Wars of conquest -- and all the raping, looting and killing that they entail -- were part of the "diplomatic" language of the age, and not just in Europe either. Whether he was worse or better than others during that period, da Gama's human rights record -- by today's standards -- is not pretty.