|Vasco Da Gama, commons.wikimedia.org|
|Gama's tomb in Lisbon minube.co.uk|
vast rich land of spice, gemstones and textiles
was inaccessible to them and, the available over
land route to India was beset with dangers as the
Arabs posed a threat to them.It paved the way for European expeditions to India, culminating in the establishment of British Imperialism in India and across the globe.
After navigating in the hitherto unknown and perilous waters, risking his life and hundreds of men, Gama's fleet arrived in Kappadu near Kozhikode (Calicut), the principal commercial entrepôt of the Kerala spice trade on the Malabar Coast (present day Kerala state of India), on 20 May 1498. The Hindu King of Calicut, the Samudiri (Zamorin) gave him, without any hesitaation, a grand traditional welcome, but was not happy with Gama's gifts that appeared to be trivial and unworthy Though Gama's ship on its return journey from India carried cargo worth six times the cost of the expedition, he failed to make a trade treaty with the Zamorins.
The Portugal King ordered the Second India Armada in 1500, a sort of trade mission under the command of Pedro Álvares Cabral. It was to make a trade treaty with the Zamorin of Calicut and set up a Portuguese factory in Calicut. Besides, it was to open the trade outlet of the Monomatapa gold trade with the Gold Trading port of KIlwa.
This second sea expedition to India miserably failed as the local Arab merchant groups were at war with the Portuguese. They had been in spice trade for a pretty long time. In the ensuing riots and mayhem, the Portuguese factory was damaged and about 53 to 70 Portuguese were killed. Cabral pinned the blame on the the Zamorin for the incident and bombarded the city. Thus, war broke out between Portugal and Calicut. Having again failed to strike a deal with the Indian ruler, Pedro Álvares Cabral, had arrived in Portugal in the summer of 1501 with the second Armada. Considering the size of the fleet and human losses, the second mission ended in a fiasco.
The 3rd India Armada was sent to make a trade treaty with the Indian ruler on the coastal Malabar. João da Nova led the commercial expedition, but was ill-equipped to deal with unexpected and hostile situation in the Indian ocean and the coastal Malabar. Again, it was a failed mission to India.
Fourth Armada to India:
The Portuguese serious efforts to lay the foundations to Estado da Índia, and to their full control over the spice trade and commerce was repeatedly repelled by the forces of Zamorin of Kozhikode. The Kunjali Marakkars, the famous Muslim admirals, the naval chiefs of Kozhikode were a force to reckon with. The Hindu rulers had maintained elaborate trade relations with the Middle-Eastern sailors in the Indian Ocean. Undeterred by successive failures of the early sea expeditions to India and to get a hold on the spice, textile trade, etc., the king of Portugal Manuel I firmly resolved to establish a trading post in the Calicut region, a major spice port to the west.
Interesting facts of the fourth Armada to India:
|East Africa, 4th armada to India under Gama . Wikipedia|
Above image: Approximate route of the 4th India Armada (1502) along the African coast, purple = route of main fleet (Vasco da Gama); green = side-trip of Pedro Afonso de Aguiar, blue = deviation of Antão Vaz do Campo........................
01. In 1502 the 4th Portuguese India Armada was formed under the leadership of Vasco da Gama. It was Gama's second trip to India and was the 4th one of a total of thirteen Portuguese India Armadas.
02. This mission did not have sufficient manpower to seize Calicut, rather it was a display of strong naval force and fire power to push the Indian ruler to submission. Finally, to aim at the establishment of factories (feitorias) in Cochin and Cannanore, Calicut's rival cities on the Malabar coast of India,
03. Being a non- diplomatic mission, this time the sole purpose of the mission was to take revenge on the Indian rulers for the poor treatment of Alvarez Cabral and the massacre of the Portuguese and destruction of their factory in 1500 (in the second expedition). Besides, it was to force the Indian ruler to have a viable trade treaty with the kingdom of Portugal for the regular supply of spices, gems, etc.
04. Before the departure for a long and arduous sea voyage to India, on January 30, 1502, Vasco da Gama was bestowed with the newly created royal title of Almirante dos mares de Arabia, Persia, India e de todo o Oriente ("Admiral of the Seas of Arabia, Persia, India and all the Orient") by King Manuel I - a covetous title similar to the decorative Castilian title borne by Christopher Columbus.
05. The powerful and heavily armed fleet equipped to face any difficult and hostile situation in the sea and on land, left Lisbon on 12 February 1502, Two squadrons of the 4th Armada - 10 ships under admiral Vasco da Gama and 5 ships under vice-admiral Vicente Sodré- set sail from Lisbon.
|4th Armada of 1502 (from Livro de Lisuarte de Abreu) wikipedia|
06. Under Estêvão da Gama (a relation of Vasco da Gama) on April 1, 1502 the third squadron of the 4th Armada - five ships finally began their long journey from Lisbon. This squadron would chart its own course and join the main fleet of the 4th Armada in the Indian Ocean.
07. Two of Gama's cousin's were to lead the Indian Ocean naval patrol while others commanded the main fleet. Da Gama's family members played a pivotal rule in the 4th Armada which was composed of 20 ships and between 800 and 1800 men, forming a formidable naval force to threaten the Indian ruler.
08. Their predetermined plan was to cutoff Calicut's lifeline - its mercantile trade. Vasco da Gama with his first squadron was to impose a naval blockade of Calicut harbor, preventing the entry of any ships, in particular Arab ships, while Vicente Sodré and his the second squadron would patrol the Gulf of Aden. The aim was to plug the sea route to the Arab ships in the Red Sea. With no naval enforcement from the king's allies, it would make the Zamorin ruler to submit to their demands.
09. Their demands were: a. restoration of damaged Portuguese factory, b. a viable trade treaty for the supply of spices, etc., c. punishment of those Arabs involved in the massacre of Portuguese on their second mission and d. expulsion of the Arabs traders from the Calicut area.
10. A violent storm in April–May, 1502 at the South African Cape drifted apart each of the fifteen ships of Vasco da Gama's fleet. So, each captain was on his own to chart out of the rough seas around the Cape and his own way towards the pre-arranged rendez-vous point on the other side.
11. Gama's fleet had a tough voyage around the South African Cape. On June 7, 1502 - the third squadron of Estevão da Gama was split into two groups in a terrible.
12. On their forward journey, the 4th Armada successfully established a Portuguese factory in Mozambique, in East Africa and opened trade with the gold trading port of Sofala. Besides, with powerful navy, Gama extorted tribute from the Sultan of Kilwa in gold.- 1500m meticals. The elderly shaikh Isuf, having no other choice, made a commercial and alliance treaty with the kingdom of Portugal.
13. Out of this extorted gold coins of Kilwa in 1506 goldsmith Gil Vicente made the famous gold pyx or monstrance known as the Custódia de Belém, for the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém, a great piece of Portuguese treasure.
|The Custódia de Belém, forged from Kilwa tribute en.wikipedia.org|
|Vasco da Gama's 4th Armada to India SlideShare|
16. Unpardonable was his notorious attack on the Miri -Muslim pilgrim ship on 29 September 1502. Without mercy, Gama's men massacred innocent pilgrims on their return from Haj ( or on their way to Mecca ?) in open waters ; the casualty ran into several hundred and Gama turned the sea waters into red.
|The Zamorin of Kozhikode (1495-1500), en.wikipedia.org|
17. Quite intimidating was his approach to the Indian ruler. To make the Zamorian king to come to terms with them, Da Gama's Armada began attacking Calicut, affecting the movement of ships and trading activities all along the coastal Malabar. Undaunted, the Zamorian ruler refused to accept the Portuguese demands and give compensation for the damaged factory and massacre of Portuguese ( 53 to 70) on the second expedition as he had nothing to do with that incident. He also refused to keep the Arabs off the spice trade. The 4th Armada left without any trade treaty and unresolved issues. Before departing, the Armada established a crown factory in Cannanore and left behind a small patrol under Vicente Sodré, the first permanent Portuguese fleet in the Indian Ocean.