Vasco da Gama

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Vasco da Gama Vasco da Gama

Profession: Explorer

Nationality: Portuguese

Why Famous: Vasco da Gama was the first European explorer to reach India by sea, helping to establish Portugal as a colonial power and changing the previous dependence Europe had on trade overland.

Vasco da Gama left Portugal with 4 ships on his first voyage in 1497, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and travelled up the African coast. Arriving in the trading port of Calicut, India in May of 1498 he was warmly received, though failed to establish permanent relations.

After an arduous journey home he returned to Portugal in August of 1499 to a hero's welcome, including the noble title of Dom.

In 1502, Vasco da Gama made a second less successful voyage to Calicut with the aim of subduing the town with a fleet of fifteen ships. This voyage was marked by acts of cruelty, including looting and burning a Muslim pilgrim ship with pilgrims inside.

After this, Vasco da Gama fell out of favor, until 1524 when he was appointed Indian Viceroy, However, 3 months after arriving again in India, Vasco da Gama died of malaria.

Died: December 24, 1524
Cause of Death: Malaria

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