Vasco da Gama

[Vasco da Gama] Discoverer of the sea-route to the East Indies; born Sines, Portugal, 1469; died Cochin, India, 1524. After distinguishing himself against the French, 1490, on the coast of Guinea, Da Gama was commissioned by King Manuel I to complete the discoveries of Dias and De Covilhao. He sailed from Lisbon, 8 July 1497, reached the coast of Natal on Christmas Day, hence its name, and after touching at Mozambique, Mombasa, and Melinda, reached Calicut, India, 20 May 1498. Sailing for home, 5 October 1498, he arrived at Lisbon in September 1499. His second voyage in 1502, during which he destroyed 29 Arab ships-of-war at Calicut, was a brilliant commercial success. In 1524 he was sent out as viceroy to India, and died shortly after his arrival. The story of his discoveries forms a large part of Camoes's "Lusiad."

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