Vasco Da Gama——The First to Arrive in India

Vasco Da Gama——The First to Arrive in India

During the 14-15th century, the commercial economy of Western Europe thrived and spurred the radical development of foreign trade. Accounts of China and India in the book The Travels of Marco Polo left Europeans to believe that Far Eastern countries are paradises full of gold and treasures. However, because the original East-West trade routes were controlled by the Arabs, European feudal lords, businessmen, and navigators began to risk their lives voyaging through the Atlantic to search for new routes in order to satisfy their greed for gold. When the king of Portugal received news on Columbus’s discovery of the new American continent, he appointed Da Gama in 1495 as a leader in an expedition to explore additional maritime routes1. On July 8, 1497, Da Gama’s ships set sail from Lisbon eastward toward the Indian Ocean. Da Gama and his crew reached the Cape of Good Hope on November 18, 1497 and then continued to sail into the Indian Ocean. At the beginning of March, 1498, the crew landed on the Island of Mozambique. Da Gama reached Mombasa in early April and then Malindi later in the month. The crew left Malindi on April 24th and passed through the Indian Ocean to reach Calicut, India on August 29th. In 1499, Da Gama and his crew finally returned to Lisbon2 .From then on, Portuguese fleets began to sail eastward regularly and purchased oriental merchandises at low prices. The fleets also robbed the natives and established posts along the Indian Gulf, slowly colonizing the land. The Portuguese were ambitious and further extended their influence to Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. It is this route established by Da Gama that secured Portugal’s dominant position in commodity trading with the East and its title of the wealthiest country in Europe3 .

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image source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasco_da_Gama

  1.  Zhang Lanju Universal History I 【M】 Petroleum Industry Press (2014)214—215 []
  2. 【India】Sanjay – Sura Maryam, translated by He Zhexian  The Portuguese Empire in Asia (1700 – 1500, political and Economic History), to commemorate Portuguese discovery, Macao District Committee publication (1997) 66-69 []
  3. Zhu Jianqiu Zhou Ruyan  The exploration of Zheng He’s voyage and India ocean 【M】 142-142 []

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