8-23 Vasco da Gama

8-23 Vasco da Gama - HIST 105-X Fall 11 Vasco da Gama Round...

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HIST 105-X Fall 11 Page 1 of 4 Vasco da Gama: Round Africa to India, 1497-1498 CE Vasco da Gama was born about 1460 at Sines, Portugal. Both Prince John and Prince Manuel continued the efforts of Prince Henry to find a sea route to India, and in 1497 Manuel placed Vasco da Gama, who already had some reputation as a warrior and navigator, in charge of four vessels built especially for the expedition. They set sail July 8, 1497, rounded the Cape of Good Hope four months later, and reached Calicut May 20, 1498. The Moors in Calicut instigated the Zamorin of Calicut against him, and he was compelled to return with the bare discovery and the few spices he had bought there at inflated prices [but still he made a 3000% profit!]. A force left by a second expedition under Cabral (who discovered Brazil by sailing too far west), left behind some men in a "factory" or trading station, but these were killed by the Moors in revenge for Cabral's attacks on Arab shipping in the Indian Ocean. Vasco da Gama was sent on a mission of vengeance in 1502, he bombarded Calicut (virtually destroying the port), and returned with great spoil. His expedition turned the commerce of Europe from the Mediterranean cities to the Atlantic Coast, and opened up the east to European enterprise. 1497 The Bay of St. Helena [on the west coast of the present country of South Africa]. On Tuesday (November 7) we returned to the land, which we found to be low, with a broad bay opening into it. The captain-major [i.e., da Gama speaking in the third person] sent Pero d'Alenquer in a boat to take soundings and to search for good anchoring ground. The bay was found to be very clean, and to afford shelter against all winds except those from the N.W. It extended east and west, and we named it Santa Helena. […] The inhabitants of this country are tawny-colored. Their food is confined to the flesh of seals, whales and gazelles, and the roots of herbs. They are dressed in skins, and wear sheaths over their virile members. They are armed with poles of olive wood to which a horn, browned in the fire, is attached. Their numerous dogs resemble those of Portugal, and bark like them. The birds of the country, likewise, are the same as in Portugal, and include cormorants, gulls, turtle doves, crested larks, and many others. The climate is healthy and temperate, and produces good herbage. […] On that day [Nov 12] Fernao Velloso, who was with the captain-major, expressed a great desire to be permitted to accompany the natives to their houses, so that he might find out how they lived and what they ate. The captain-major yielded to his importunities, and allowed him to accompany them, and when we returned to the captain-major's vessel to sup, he went away with the negroes. […] We were still at supper; but when his shouts were heard the captain-major rose at once, and so did we others, and we entered a sailing boat. The negroes then began running along the beach, and they came as quickly up with Fernao Velloso as we did, and when we endeavored to get him into the boat
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2012 for the course HIST 105 taught by Professor Michaelg.smith during the Fall '08 term at Purdue.

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8-23 Vasco da Gama - HIST 105-X Fall 11 Vasco da Gama Round...

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