The Age of Discovery

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The Age of Discovery which began in the 15th century was one of the ground breaking time periods for European global exploration to Africa and India, and which lead to the ascending of European power. While there were many prominent explorers during this era such as Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco da Gama is widely seen as one of the most successful explorers of this time period. He not only found the first all ocean route from Europe to India but he also solidified Portugal as a powerhouse in the Eastern spice trade with India. Through my discussion of Vasco da Gama’s early life and the exploration voyages he commanded, this will further support his significant role in Maritime history.
While little is known about Vasco da Gama’s early life before he became an explorer, accounts show that he was the third youngest out of five sons and was born in Sine’s, Portugal in 1460 into a noble family. His father Estevao da Gama was a nobleman who served as a knight for the household of Prince Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu and around this time he also joined the military “Order of Santiago”. Because of his noble duties, Estevao was also given the title of Civil governor of Sine’s until 1478, wherein his title gave him the responsibility of collecting taxes and dues in the surrounding areas of Sine’s. His mother was Isabel Sodre and she also had royal connections because her father and brothers were involved in the military “Order of Christ” and they had close ties with Infante Diogo, Duke of Viseu, who was the son of Infante Ferdinand. Due to his family’s status, Vasco was deemed for success and as a child he studied mathematics and navigation under the astronomer Abraham Zacuto in Evora, Portugal. Vasco had much inf...

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