Vasco Da Gama
D. Vasco da Gama (c. 1460 or 1469 – 24 December 1524), 1st Count of Vidigueira, was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India.
He is one of the most famous and celebrated explorers from the Discovery Ages, being the first European to reach India through sea. This discovery was very impactful and paved the way for the Portuguese to establish a long lasting colonial empire in Asia. The route meant that the Portuguese wouldn't need to cross the highly disputed Mediterranean nor the dangerous Arabia and that the whole voyage would be made by sea.
After decades of sailors trying to reach India with thousands of lives and dozens of vessels lost in shipwrecks and attacks, Gama landed in Calicut on the 20 May 1498. Reaching the legendary Indian spice routes unopposed helped the Portuguese Empire improve its economy that, until Gama, was mainly based on trades along the Northern and coastal West Africa. These spices were mostly pepper and cinnamon at first, but soon included other products, all new to Europe which lead to a commercial monopoly for several decades.
Gama headed two of the armadas destined for India, the first and the fourth, the biggest armada, only four years after his arrival from the first one. For his contributions he was named in 1524 as the Governor of India, under the title of Viceroy, and given the newly created County of Vidigueira in 1519.
Numerous homages have been made worldwide in Vasco da Gama's honour for his explorations and accomplishments. He remains as a leading exploration figure to this day. The Portuguese national epic, Os Lusíadas, was written to celebrate Vasco da Gama. His first trip to India is widely considered a pinnacle of world history as it marked the beginning of the first wave of global multiculturalism.