Vasco-Da-Gama, a native of Portugal, discovered the sea route to India. He encircled the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ in South Africa and reached the Port of Calicut on 22nd May 1498 after crossing the Indian Ocean. The ruling king of Calicut at that time, Zamorin, gave permission to the Portuguese to trade.
The Portuguese established a fort in Calicut for trade in 1500 C.E. They fortified it and appointed a commander in chief, namely Albuquerque, to safeguard the fort. Moving northwards, Albuquerque conquered Goa in 1506 C.E. Within a span of 100 years, the Portuguese took control of Mangalore, Cochin, Goa, Diu, Mumbai and Island of Lanka.
Here are some interesting facts about voyage of Vasco-Da-Gama:
The ships were named the San Gabriel, the Sao Rafael, and the Berrio. The fourth ship did not have a name as it was only used for storage.
According to one story: When he discovered Europe-to-India sea route in 1497, he had a Gujarati by his side to show him the way. Historians and scholars gathered at Gujarat’s port town Mandvi are discussing how a Kutchi sailor, Kanji Malam, navigated the commander to Calicut from Malindi on east African coast.
According to another story: He had recorded in his diary that upon his arrival at Zanzibar in East Africa he saw a docked ship three times bigger than his own. He took an African interpreter to meet the owner of that ship Chandan, a Gujarati trader who used to bring pine wood and teak from India along with spices and take back diamonds to Cochin. When Vasco da Gama went to meet him, Chandan was sitting in ordinary attire, on a cot. When the trader asked Vasco where he was going, the latter said that he was going to visit India. Listening to this, the trader said that he was going back to India the very next day and if he wanted, he could follow him. Vasco da Gama followed Chandan to reach the shores of India, a fact that was hidden by europeans for many years.