Vasco da Gama, Portuguese explorer

Vasco da Gama, Portuguese explorer

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Vasco da Gama (1460-1524), Portuguese explorer whose voyage of 1497-9 found a maritime trade route around Africa to India, which helped make Portugal a world power. On his return from India, Vasco da Gama was made a 'Dom' (Lord) and was made the first Count of Vidigueira (his birthplace) in 1519. Here, he is wearing a cross and an armoured breastplate. Like other European explorers, one of the aims of his voyages of discovery was to spread his Christian faith. This is an oil on canvas painting by an unknown artist. The painting belonged to the Marquis of Nisa and the Counts of Vidigueira, and is now held by the Lisbon Geographic Society.

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