Vasco da Gama- A Biography

Vasco da Gama was born around the year 1469, in Sines Portugal. Da Gama was born into a noble family. Da Gama distinguished himself by defending Portuguese interests on the coast of Guinea, against the French. In January 1497, da Gama was placed in command of an expedition to round Africa and reach India.

On July 8th, 1497, da Gama sailed with his four ships for Southern Waters. By November, they had rounded the horn and reached the furthest point to which Dias had previously traveled. Da Gama needed the services of a navigator to direct him to India. He encountered difficulties when he attempted to secure those services from Muslim Mozambique. He was received warmly in Melinda, East Africa, where he was able to obtain the serviced of a navigator.

On May 20th, da Gama arrived at his destination Calicut, India. He was able to negotiate an initial trade agreement with local authorities. He set sail for his return voyage on October 15th, 1498. He arrived in Portugal on July 10th,1499. Da Gama was received with a "heroe's welcome" when he returned.

In 1502, da Gama was sent out on a new mission to India. This time, he was sent with 20 warships, to enforce Portuguese demands. Along the way he indiscriminately attacked Arab merchant ships. He laid siege to Calcuit, destroyed a fleet of 29 warships and forced the local princes to agree to his demands. He went on to Cochin, where he was able to set up a Portuguese colony. Da Gama returned to Portugal in September 1503, with ships full of highly prized merchandise.

In 1524, da Gama was sent out once again to India. He contracted Malaria on the way and died in Cochin that same year.