Vasco Da Gama
Vasco Da Gama
Vasco Da Gama On July the 8th 1497, Vasco Da Gama set out from Lisbon, Portugal. With him he had 4 ships , the Sao Gabriel, Sao Rafael, Berrio and a ship that was puerly a ship to hold food and equipment on. Bartholomew Diaz sailed with Da Gama's fleet to the Cape Verde Islands. Diaz had discovered the Cape of Good Hope a few years earlier, and so he came on the journey that far and was extremley usefull with his knowledge of the waters. Da Gama also took 2 Arab interpreters and 1 other interpretuer who knew several variations on the Bantu language. To help other ships and himself on the re turn voyage, Da Gama brought large stone columns that would be dropped from the ship and used as markers. He got to the Canary Islands on July the 15th and sailed past them. They anchored on the Cape Verde Islands on July the 26th and remained there until August 3. When they set out, Da Gama had decided to sail in a large arch through the Southern part of the Atlantic ocean, to ovoid costal currents that might slow the voyage down. When he finally got back onto land on November the 7th, he anchored at Santa Helena Bay which is in the Cape of Good Hope reigon.

He set sail again on November the 16th but due to the treacherous waters he was unable to get around the Cape Of Good Hope (formerly cape of storms) until November 22. A mere three days afterwards the storship was wrecked and burnt. After taking stock of what they had lost, they arrived at the coast of Natal on Christmas Day. The east African coast that Da Gama had landed on was owned and divided up amongst many Sultans and because of this there was much rivalry. Da Gama anchored on January 25, near Mozambique. The crew like nearly all other crews on any long sea voyage had contracted scurvy. The fleet stayed there for a month but as well as needing vitamin C and rest, the ships also needed repairs. On March the 2nd , they came to the actual port Mozambique, but were not welcomed there and so had to leave. On April 7, they came to Malindi, Mombasa (which is now known as Kenya). At Malindi, Vasco da Gama studied the pre-existing trade that the East African Sultans had already profited enourmously of. The sultans were trading with items such as gold, ivory and slaves that the East Africans were taking to the townships on the coast of the Red Sea , cities in the Arabian Gulf and also to many kingdoms on the Indian subcontinent. Vasco da Gama wasn't a businessman and by studing the trade, he learn't the best methods of trade and how to get the best deals.

As a result of Vasco da Gama's actions in Malindi, Portugal and Malindi agreed to the 1st ever peace agreement between an East African reigon and a nation in Europe. The Sultan of Malindi gave da Gama an Arab pilot (someone who showed you how to get to somewhere). This was extremley helpful in getting da Gama to Calicut in India. This was partially because Arabs had become used to the journey from Africa to India and knew how to deal with monsoons.

On May 18, 1498, after sailing for month , da Gama's fleet, with help from the Arab pilot saw the coast of Malabar . Here they found many Arab trade ships around the ports some of these ships were very hostile others not so. The Arabs resisted the Portugese because they were attempting to take over their trading area.

Despite a few skirmishes da Gama's ships were to dock at the port of Calicut on May the 20th, 1498.

The Portuguese wanted to set up a trading post in Calicut although their first and immediate want was to buy spices which they could take back to Portugal and make a massive profit off in Europe. After obtaining their spices, da Gama left india and returned via the same route around the Cape of Good hope back to Portugal.

Even though he only brought back 44 of the 170 sailors and two ships due to the fights with the Arabs and diseases caused by malnutrition. The two cargos of spices payed for his voyage more than 50 times over.

Da Gama had been sucssessful in breaking the Arab trade routes to the east and Portugal would be all the better for it.

By Jeremy Martin