Why did Vasco da Gama travel

Vasco da Gama

As well-known and famous as Vasco da Gama is for discovering the sea route to India, his profile shows - as with many other explorers and seafarers of the time - large gaps and blank spots. Little is known, especially about his youth ...

Circa 1469

Vasco da Gama was born in Sines, a seaport in southern Portugal.

The next 30 years ...

He was educated in Evora, studied astronomy and navigation and later gained experience as a sailor and soldier.


Vasco da Gama achieved the rank of naval officer in the service of John II of Portugal.


July 8: Vasco da Gama is named by King Emanuel I to head the Portuguese expedition to India and sets off on a voyage of discovery with four caravels.

November 22nd: Circumnavigation of the Cape of Good Hope.


May 20: Vasco da Gama reaches the Indian Malabar coast and anchors in Kalikut. The sea route to India has been found. August 29th: Departure from Kalikut for Portugal.


July 10th: The first ship of the expedition under the captain Nicolas Coelho arrives in the home port of Lisbon.

September 9th: Three months after the “Berrio”, da Gama also reached Lisbon and was received triumphantly. King Emanuel I appointed him Count of Vidigueira and Admiral of the Indian Seas.


Second Portuguese expedition to India. Vasco da Gama refuses to lead the expedition. In his place the fleet drives under Pedro Alvares Cabral and discovers Brazil among others on this trip.


Vasco da Gama's second trip to the Indian Ocean. Arrived on the Malabar coast, he tries to consolidate the power of Portugal with his huge navy. This also leads to the bombardment and destruction of Kalikut.


Return to Portugal. For his achievements he is rewarded by King Emanuel I with titles, lands and gifts of money.

The next 20 years ...

Vasco da Gama lives relatively secluded on his property.


April: Vasco da Gama is named Viceroy of Portuguese India and travels again to the Indian Ocean.

December 24th: da Gama dies in India while fighting an enemy governor and is buried in a Franciscan church in Cochin.

Status: 06/26/2001

June 26, 2001