In July 1497 the fleet of 4 ships sailed from Lisbon. The sailors intended to look for the way to India, which Columbus who had discovered America failed to find. Specifically for the expedition, the king ordered to build two large-capacity vessels Sao-Miguel and Sao-Rafael, caravel Berrio and a storage ship of unknown name for carrying supplies. Inexperienced navigator Vasco da Gama took charge of the expedition. Scientists argue till the present day as to why the king of Portugal did not entrust the mission to sophisticated sailor Bartolomeu Dias who discovered the Cape of Good Hope. Dias called it the Cape of Storms, yet the cape was renamed in the hope that it would open the way to India. The hopes did come true, yet Dias was not involved. Some specialists think that he seemed a poor commander to the king. He failed to reach India once due to inability of coping with rebellious seamen. The members of Da Gama family were famous for being resolute and even rigorous. Other sources say that the task was to be entrusted to Vasco’s father, but he suddenly died. Anyhow, Vasco da Gama rose up to the challenge. He sailed round Africa from the south, passed the Cape of Good Hope, put to Indian Ocean and finally reached long-awaited India. Along with that, he put an end to the exclusive right of Venice for selling Indian spices. It was he who invented the name of coconut. He found that the nut looked like monkey’s face – coco is the Portuguese for monkey. The way discovered by Vasco da Gama remained the main trade road to the countries of Indian Ocean and China until the very opening of Suez Canal.
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