Thursday, May 11, 2017

Vasco da Gama Opens Sea Route to India

Europe now able to bypass Levant.  Hostile Ottoman Empire no longer can block Europe out of Orient.  Terrifying voyage.  Most crewmen killed.  When way-stations planted, future voyages to be safer.  Vasco da Gama’s own officer writes this series.

Vasco da Gama on a horse, with all the men of the fleet on foot, richly dressed in liveries, and accompanied by all the gentlemen of the court, went down to the wharf on the bank, and embarked in their boats, and the standard went in that of Paulo da Gama. Then, taking leave of the gentlemen, they went to the ships, and on their arrival, they fired all their artillery, and the ships were dressed out gayly with standards and flags and many ornaments, and the royal standard was at once placed at the top of the mast of Paulo da Gama; for so Vasco da Gama commanded. Discharging all their artillery, they loosened the sails, and went beating to windward on the river of Lisbon, tacking until they came to anchor at Belen, where they remained three days waiting for a wind to go out.

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