Vasco da Gama? Who he? I can hear you asking. Today in 1497, this Portuguese ultra-daring explorer set off on an epic journey to be the first man to sail from Portugal round the tip of Africa and on up to India. What’s the big deal? Until he did this, no-one knew you could do this journey by sea. Instead, everyone trudged via Constantinople and overland to India, loaded up with spices and precious stones and then had to make it back – alive and without being robbed. So da Gama opened up the sea route and changed the way trade developed – and made Portugal very rich in the process.
Now we can go everywhere, of course, so the immensity of this journey is lost on us. But back then, it was ground-breaking and he is still regarded as one of the great explorers, up there with Columbus and Magellan and Cook. The fact that he was a nasty SOB is neither here nor there at this stage in history – he is still famous for his seafaring exploits.
Parents, grandparents, teachers and the generally curious can learn and find out more in ten little minutes with our jolly film which tells you Vasc0 da Gama’s biography and why he is well-known even today. Just check out our film – NowYouKnowAbout Vasco da Gama.