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Trevor Hall

His father, Giovanni da Ca’ da Mosto, and mother, Giovanna Querini, married in 1428, and the couple had four sons and two daughters. Cadamosto came from a Venetian family of some standing. His reason for renown is that he was the first European to sail from Portugal to West Africa and back, to write a long travel narrative of his maritime voyages. He also described the Islamic West African kingdoms he visited during the the 1450s. Cadamosto wrote his narrative many years after the voyages to West Africa, and there is evidence that later historical events where incorporated into his narrative—a process historians call “feedback.” Thus, Cadamosto’s dates and chronology have been called into question by scholars. However, the Venetian must be taken seriously because he presented some of the first eye-witness descriptions of West Africa and Portuguese voyages to the tropics during the fifteenth century.

Since the Middle ...

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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 ...

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Jeremy Rich

Portuguese explorer who helped open up European commercial links to both western and eastern Africa, was born sometime between 1460 and 1469. He probably was born at Sines, a town on the southwestern coast of Portugal. His father was Estêvão da Gama, a knight in the court of the Duke of Viseu. Da Gama’s mother was Isabel Sodré, a woman of noble descent. It is a paradox that so little is known of da Gama’s life, given his fame as the first Portuguese sea captain to reach India. Since da Gama was a younger son, he may have entered Atlantic exploration to make up for losing out on his father’s inheritance.

At some point da Gama became an agent of King João II of Portugal who sought to promote Atlantic trade and exploration like his more famous predecessor Henry the Navigator Gama joined the Order of Santiago a brotherhood ...