Vasco da Gama of Portugal (1460-1524), the first European explorer to navigate around the tip of Africa en route to India, set sail in stead of Bartolomeu Dias, discovering the route from Portugal to the Cape of Good Hope. During the first half of the voyage, da Gama's ships stopped at the Cape Verde Islands as well as the East African states of Mozambique, Mombasa and Malindi. Departing the African coast, the fleet sailed east across the Indian Ocean and landed in Calicut in 1498. On the return trip, many of da Gama's men died of scurvy, but when the expedition returned to Lisbon after sixteen months, the Portuguese considered da Gama successful (Ames, 5-10).
Carlyle cites da Gama as a hero from a non-mechanical age, comparing him to explorers who used steam ships, rather than sailing ships. Da Gama explored new territory, while the people of Victorian England simply return to the same places with louder machines. Da Gama represents the age of exploration, which poses a sharp contrast to the age of mechanization.
Ames, Glenn Joseph. Vasco Da Gama: Renaissance Crusader. New York : Pearson Longman, 2005.
Last modified 29 March 2009