Vasco da Gama departs Lisbon, 1497

Vasco da Gama departs Lisbon, 1497

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Vasco da Gama departs Lisbon. Historical artwork of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1460-1524, right) preparing to leave Lisbon in July 1497 from the Restelo docks on his 1497-9 voyage that opened up the maritime trading route to India round Africa. At top, monks are praying, but at upper left an old man has surprised the sailors with his pessimistic prophecies. Vasco da Gama returned safely, but his brother and many other sailors died on the journey home. This scene is from Canto IV of The Lusiads (verse at bottom), an epic poem by Luis de Camoes (1527-1570). This artwork is from the Lisbon Geographic Society.

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