Sunday, August 26, 2007
My father was Estevao da Gama. In the 1460s he was a knight in the household of the Duke of Viseu. Being appointed Civil Governor, he was able to receive a small revenue from taxes on soap making in Estremoz.
My father, Estevao was married to Dona Isabel Sodre, my mother, who was of English origin.
I studied at the inland town of Evora, where I learnt mathematics and the famous astronomer Abraham Zacuto.
navigation and I knew astronomy well, which I learnt from
In 1942, King Jaun Paul II of Portugal sent me to the port of Setubal, south of Lisbon to seize French ships in retaliation for peacetime depredations against Portuguese shipping- a task that I performed rapidly and effectively.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
- The fleet went more than three months without seeing land
- only 54 of my 170 companions, on two of his four ships returned to Portugal in 1499.
Nevertheless, my initial journey ushered in an era of European domination through sea power and commerce that lasted several hundred years and 450 years of Portuguese colonialism in India and Africa that brought wealth and power to the Portuguese.
Friday, August 24, 2007
On March 2 the fleet reached the island of Mozambique. Being treated friendly, I learned that the natives traded with Arab merchants and the Sultan of Mozambique supplied me with a pilot to guide them.
We soon reached Calicut in less than a month. We were in the most important trading center in Southern India at that time and were welcomed by the Hindu ruler, Zamorin. However, I was unable to make a trade agreement with him due to certain circumstances. as tensions mounted, I left for Malindi in late August.
As the pilot had abandoned us in Calicut, we travelled back on their own. The weather was not good and the crew was not prepared for a return journey that would last three times as long. Once again, most of the crew members contracted scurvy and many died while others were nearing death upon reaching Malindi. Thankfully, the Sultan there was of extreme help and supported us in many ways.
The remaining ships set out for home and skirted the Cape of Good Hope on March 20. they reached Portugal on July 10. My ship continued on the Azores, and I reached my original starting point, Lisbon on September 9. While hailed as a hero as the acheivement was remarkable (for I had travelled 27, 000 miles) by sea, the trip had taken a great toll. I returned with only half of his ships and less than half of his men. One casualty was especially hard on me: I lost my brother Paulo Da Gama to sickness on the last leg of the journey. Although I had returned with a small amount of tradable goods, I brought back a much more valuable commodity, a sea route to India. The door was open and the Portuguese intended to use it to its fullest.
*caravel- a small, fast ship
*scurvy- a disease marked by swollen and bleeding gums, livid spots on the skin, prostration,
due to a diet lacking in Vitamin C
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I went out on my second expedition on February 12, 1502. I was prepared for an encounter with the Muslim traders. I had a fleet of twenty warships. I hoped to enforce Portuguese's interests in the east and wanted to get revenge on the Muslims for the opposition in 1948 and killed many Indians and Muslims. In one instance, I waited for a ship to return from *Mecca. The Portuguese overtook the ship and seized all the merchandise. They locked the 380 passengers in the hold and set the ship on fire. It took four days for the ship to sink, killing all men, women and children.
When I arrived in Calicut on October 30, 1502, the Zamorin was willing to sign a treaty. I told him that he would have to banish all the Muslims. To demonstrate the power I had, I hung 38 fishermen; cut off their heads, feet and hands. Then I floated the dismembered corpses onto the shore. Later, I bombarded the city with guns and managed to get into the trading system. This led the way for other Portuguese conquests in the East Indies.
On my return to Portugal in September, 1503, I was made Count. I was also awarded feudal rights and *jurisdiction.
*Mecca- A muslim trading and religious center
*jurisdiction- the right, power or authority to administer justice by hearing and determining controversies
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
My job there was to replace and person as viceroy of the Portuguese possessions.
His body ws first buried at St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi but his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539 and re-interred in Viddigueira in a splendid tomb.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Other interesting videos:
Sines, Portugal National Erasmus Meeting 2006
South Africa-Cape Town-Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point
Cape of Good Hope