Arrival of Vasco da Gama in India

Vasco da Gama made his arrival in India on 20 May 1498 at Kappad near Calicut.

Vasco da Gama made his arrival in India on 20 May 1498 at Kappad near Calicut. He met the local king of Calicut named King Zamorin. However, the meeting was not fruitful for Vasco da Gama in terms of establishing the trade relations with the Indians.

In September 1500, Pedro Alvares Cabral reached India who set up the first Portuguese factory at Calicut. He was also able to make some fruitful treaties with the rulers of Cochin and Cannanore.

However, he was defeated in the battle of Calicut by the Arabs and locals and returned to Portugal in June 1501, humiliated and defeated.

In 1502, Vasco Da Gama made a comeback to India and started naval rivalry with the competing traders and inhabitants. This time he managed to get better concessions for Portuguese traders than his previous visit.

Vasco Da Gama died of Malaria in 1524 in Cochin.

Why Portuguese needed new sea routes?

The trading centres of the South East Asia including Calicut and Cochin were monopolized by Arab traders. These traders used the route of the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea for trading their goods and also used land routes to Egyptian and Syrian ports.

The region such as Cochin and Calicut held important place in the international trade due to their availability of the pepper and spices which were in great demand in European markets.

Therefore, Portuguese and other European powers needed to find alternative sea routes to trade with India and other South East Asian nations.

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