Dias's return from the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, and Pêro da Covilhã's travel to Ethiopia overlandd had earlier suggested that India could be reached from the Atlantic. On July 1497 a small fleet of four ships and about 170 men left Lisbon under the command of Vasco da Gama. By December the fleet passed the Great Fish River - where Dias had turned back - and continued sailing. On 20 May 1498, they arrived at Calicut. After two years, Gama and a survivor crew of 55 men returned in glory to Portugal as the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India. In 1500, a second larger fleet of thirteen ships and about 1500 men was sent to India under command of Pedro Álvares Cabral.
Editors. "Vasco de Gama discovers a sea-route from Europe to India via the Cape of Good Hope". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 January 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=9836, accessed 18 December 2014.]