Vasco Da Gama
Da Gama, Vasco (1469?–1524), sea captain from Portugal, the first to open sea routes for trade between Europe and Asia. Upon request from King Manuel I of Portugal, da Gama set out to establish trade with India by sailing east around southern Africa. He began his journey July 8, 1497, and reached Calicut, India, May 20, 1498. Muslim merchants resented da Gama's attempts to establish trade, and India's ruler found his gifts unacceptable. His return to Portugal included only limited Indian goods, but King Manuel was satisfied with this initial voyage. He sailed again in 1500, better prepared to conquer the Muslim control and increase trade. He succeeded and the Portuguese became a major trading power in the Indian Ocean.