We’ve all grown up reading about the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in history textbooks. The first European to set foot on Indian soil arrived at Calicut on Malabar Coast yesterday (May 20) in 1498. He set sail from Lisbon, Portugal, in July 1497 and with the aid of an Indian merchant he met here, sailed across the Indian Ocean. He had to fight his way through unwelcoming Muslim merchants to return home. He later avenged the massacre of Portuguese explorers here. He was appointed the Portuguese viceroy in India in 1524, but died before he could take over his new post. Many explorers before him had tried to reach India and failed.
But most of us know these facts, so we bring you some unknown facts about Vasco de Gama:
His father was also a well known explorer and a knight.
He set sail to India with four ships containing 170 men.
He demanded that all Muslims be banned from India.
His father wanted to launch an exploration to India, but it never happened.
He has a crater on the moon named after him.
His second son became the governor of Portuguese India.
Much of his life was spent at sea.
His voyage to India is considered the beginning of multiculturalism.
He massacred several Muslims returning from Mecca by setting their ships ablaze.
He was buried in a casket decorated with gold and jewels after he died of malaria.