Vasco Da Gama's First Voyage
On 8 July 1947 the Vasco took off on his first voyage consisting of four ships that left Lisbon. It carried a four-vessel fleet consisting of two-medium sized sailing ships, a caravel and a large store ship that currents along the African coast would impede his progress. He set a course that was far from land, sailing in uncharted waters. The explorers rounded the southern tip of Africa, which they named the "Cape of Good Hope", on November 22. At this point they no longer needed the store ship so it was broken up and burned. They continued sailing up the Eastern African coast but stopped as many crew members became sick with scurvy. The expedition rested a month for the crew members to heal and for the ships to be repaired.
On March 2 the fleet reached the island of Mozambique. Being treated friendly, they learned that the natives traded with Arab merchants and the Sultan of Mozambique supplied me with a pilot to guide them.
THey soon reached Calicut in less than a month. They were in the most important trading center in Southern India at that time and were welcomed by the Hindu ruler, Zamorin. However, Vasco was unable to make a trade agreement with him due to certain circumstances. As tensions mounted, they 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.The ship continued on the Azores, and Vasco reached my original starting point, Lisbon on September 9. While hailed as a hero as the acheivement was remarkable (travelled 27, 000 miles) by sea, the trip had taken a great toll. Da Gama returned with only half of his ships and less than half of his men. He even lost his brother Paulo Da Gama to sickness on the last leg of the journey. Although he had returned with a small amount of tradable goods, He brought back something much more valuable, a sea route to India. The door was open and the Portuguese intended to use it to its fullest