Gama, Vasco da
- Elizabeth Heath
Vasco da Gama was born in Sines, Alemtejo. He was en route to India when he became the second European to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in 1497. During the two-year voyage commissioned by King Manuelof Portugal, da Gama stopped at various points along the coast of East Africa, including present-day Mozambique, Mombasa, Malindi, and Zanzibar. During his stop in Malindi, da Gama met ibn Majid, the pilot who taught da Gama the route and navigation skills necessary to complete his journey to Calicut, India. After an unsuccessful attempt to establish a trading post in India, da Gama returned to Portugal in 1499 with many stories of East Africa.
In 1502 da Gama was again commissioned by the king to round the Cape of Good Hope this time to establish economic and political sovereignty over areas of East Africa ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.