Historians have largely held Vasco da Gama’s landing in India as more epochal than the more celebrated discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus. While Vasco da Gama’s voyages were lauded for being well-planned and systematic, the expeditions of Columbus are often dubbed as “ill-conceived ventures”.
While he is much revered in Portugal, Vasco da Gama’s legacy in India suffered because of several reasons, like the pilgrim ship incident. During his second expedition to India, Vasco da Gama intercepted a Muslim pilgrim ship which was going to Mecca. There were more than 400 people on the ship, including at least 50 women and children. The Portuguese and his crew not only plundered the ship, but also locked up the pilgrims and burnt them to death.
Many decades after his historic Indian voyage, Vasco da Gama was included as a divine legend in his country’s national epic “Lusiad” by Luis de Camoes. Literary elements were added to the expedition, making it more dramatic and filled with mysticism. Vasco da Gama has been mentioned in the epic as a divinely inspired captain and a grand orator. These Vasco da Gama facts are not much known.
After his death, Vasco da Gama was buried with honors at Cochin’s Santo Antonio monastery in 1524. His son Dom Pedreo da Silva Gama exhumed the body many years later in 1538 and returned the remains to Portugal. Vasco da Gama was finally rested at Jazigo dos Gama where a tomb was built in his memory.
Vasco da Gama, today, is remembered in every way possible. The largest city in the western Indian state of Goa is named after him. There are also football clubs in his name in both Brazil and India. Besides, several ships and places in Portugal, carry the explorer’s legacy. Among the most fascinating Vasco da Gama facts, is that a crater on the moon is named after him.
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