Vasco DE GAMA

Family tree of Vasco DE GAMA

Sailor

PortugueseBorn Vasco DE GAMA

Portuguese explorer

Born on November 21, 1468 in Sines, Portugal

Died on December 14, 1524 in Cochim, Índia

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Vasco da Gama was born 1460 or 1469 in Sines, on the southwest coast of Portugal, probably in a house near the church of Nossa Senhora das Salas. Sines, one of the few seaports on the Alentejo coast, consisted of little more than a cluster of whitewashed, red-tiled cottages, tenanted chiefly by fisherfolk.

Vasco da Gama's father was Estêvão da Gama, who had served in the 1460s as a knight of the household of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu and went on to rise in the ranks of the military Order of Santiago. Estêvão da Gama was appointed alcaide-mór (civil governor) of Sines in the 1460s, a post he held until 1478, and continued as a receiver of taxes and holder of the Order's commendas in the region.
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Estêvão da Gama married Isabel Sodré, a daughter of João Sodré (also known as João de Resende), scion of a well-connected family of English origin. Her father and her brothers, Vicente Sodré and Brás Sodré, had links to the household of Infante Diogo, Duke of Viseu and were prominent figures in the military Order of Christ.

Vasco da Gama was the third of five sons of Estêvão da Gama and Isabel Sodré - in (probable) order of age: Paulo da Gama, João Sodré, Vasco da Gama, Pedro da Gama and Aires da Gama. Vasco also had one known sister, Teresa da Gama (who married Lopo Mendes de Vasconcelos).

Little is known of Vasco da Gama's early life. The Portuguese historian Teixeira de Aragão suggests that Vasco da Gama studied at the inland town of Évora, which is where he may have learned mathematics and navigation and it has even been claimed (although dubiously) that he studied under the astronomer Abraham Zacuto.

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Geographical origins

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