Letter written by Vasco da Gama, 1500s

Letter written by Vasco da Gama, 1500s

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Letter written by Vasco da Gama (1460-1524), the Portuguese explorer whose voyage of 1497-9 found a maritime trade route around Africa to India, which helped make Portugal a world power. This letter was written at Quiloa (Kilwa, Tanzania). Vasco da Gama first visited this region in 1497 during his first voyage. On his second voyage, with an armada intended to consolidate Portuguese interests in the region, he visited Quiloa itself, exacting tribute from the Emir of the Kilwa Sultanate. The language used at this time was Old Portuguese. This letter is held at the National Library of Portugal (stamp at lower right).

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