Vasco Da Gama was one of the most successful Portuguese explorers in the European Age of Discovery. He achieved tremendous popularity when he explored the first water trade route between Europe and India. In this epic voyage, he sailed around Africa's Cape of Good Hope. He was successful in breaking the monopoly of the Arab and Venetian spice traders.
Very less information is available about his early childhood or adolescence, except that he grew up in a maritime environment and learned swimming, fishing and sailing in very early years of life. At the age of 15, he became a sailor and studied navigation and astronomy at Evora. At the age of 23, he became a naval officer. He played a significant role in the defense of the Portuguese-held territories on the West African coast as well as Setubal and Algarve coastal area against the French incursions. Given below is the timeline of Vasco Da Gama, which narrates some significant events in his life.
Vasco Da Gama: Timeline
- 1460: Vasco Da Gama was born to a noble Portuguese family in Sines, Portugal. Estevao Da Gama and Isabel Sodre were his parents. His father was a member of the household of Prince Dom Fernando - master of the Order of St James. Vasco Da Gama was well-educated and learned various languages, mathematics, geometry, physics and astronomy. His career as an explorer started when his father was selected to lead a voyage to open the sea route to Asia.
- 1492: King John Paul II of Portugal sent Vasco Da Gama to Setubal, on the Lisbon coast to seize the French ships that were engaged in raiding the Portuguese ships.
- 1497: He took the command of that expedition when his father died. In July 1467, he sailed from Port Tagus in Lisbon, Portugal with his 4 ships, under the order of King Manuel I. Gama voyaged to find a sea route to East Indies. His expedition was led by the three Gama brothers, namely Paulo, Vasco and Nicolao. He sailed around Africa's Cape of Good Hope and reached the coast of Natal.
- 1498: In the month of January, he reached the mouth of Zambezi. His ships were attacked by the Arabs. Gama's ships landed in Mozambique, an African country. On May 20th, he arrived at Calicut, India. On October 5th, he started his journey back to Portugal.
- 1499: In the month of September, Gama returned to Portugal. He was declared as the 'Admiral of the Indian Ocean'.
- 1502: King Manuel I of Portugal sent him on another voyage to India.
- 1503: Gama returned to Portugal. On his return to Portugal, he was granted further revenues and privileges. He advised the King on Indian matters.
- 1519: The title of 'Count' was conferred on Gama.
- 1524: King John III sent him as the Portuguese viceroy. On January 24, 1524, he died on the Malabar Coast at Cochin in India. His body was laid to rest in Vidigueira.