Vasco de Gama discovers a sea-route from Europe to India via the Cape of Good Hope

(122 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

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.

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

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
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]