During the XV th century, the Portuguese explored and discovered new sea routes along the African coasts. From 1460, the objective had become to circumvent the African continent by its southern extremity, in order to have easier access to the riches of the Indies (mainly spices).
Vasco da Gama was commissioned in 1497 by King Manuel to seek a route to India by rounding the Cape of Good Hope (already discovered by Barthélemy Diaz). In November 1497, he crossed the cape and arrived in Calicut in May 1498. He was therefore the first European to reach India by sea. Appointed Admiral of the Indies, he left in 1502 with 21 ships. He then founded Portuguese counters on the African coasts, in Sofala and in Mozambique.
Returning to Lisbon, he remained more than twenty years without receiving a new mission. In 1524 he was appointed Viceroy of India by King John III, but died in Cochin shortly after his arrival.
1469 - 1524