Covilham and Païva—Vasco da Gama—The Cape of Good Hope is doubled—Escalès at Sam-Braz—Mozambique, Mombaz, and Melinda—Arrival at Calicut—Treason of the Zamorin—Battles—Return to Europe—The scurvy—Death of Paul da Gama—Arrival at Lisbon.

At the same time that the King of Portugal, John II., despatched Diaz to seek in the south of Africa the route to the Indies, he ordered two gentlemen of his court to find out if it would not be possible to attain the same end by an easier, safer, and more rapid means; by way of the isthmus of Suez, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean.

For carrying out such a mission there was needed a clever, enterprising man, well acquainted with the difficulties of a journey in those regions, and possessing a knowledge of the Oriental languages, or at the very least, of Arabic. This agent must be of a versatile disposition, and able to dissemble; capable, in a word, of concealing the real meaning of projects which aimed at nothing less than withdrawing all the commerce of Asia from the hands of the Mussulmans and Arabs, and through them from the Venetians, in order to enrich Portugal with it.

There was living at this time an experienced navigator, Pedro de Covilham, who had served with distinction under Alonzo V. in the war with Castille, and who had made a long stay in Africa. It was upon him that John II. cast his eye, and Alonzo de Païva was given him as a colleague. They left Lisbon in the month of May, 1487, furnished with detailed instructions, and with a chart drawn according to Bishop Calsadilla's map of the World, by the help of which the tour of Africa might be made.

The two travellers reached Alexandria and Cairo, where they were much gratified at meeting with some Moorish traders from Fez and Tlemcen, who conducted them to Tor—the ancient Ezion-geber—at the foot of Sinai, where they were able to procure some valuable information upon the trade of Calicut. Covilham resolved to take advantage of this fortunate circumstance to visit a country which, for more than a century, had been regarded by Portugal with covetous longing, while Païva set out to penetrate into those regions then so vaguely designated as Ethiopia, in quest of the famous Prester John, who, according to old travellers, reigned over a marvellously rich and fertile country in Africa. Païva doubtless perished in his adventurous enterprise, being never again heard of.

As for Covilham, he travelled to Aden, whence he embarked for the Malabar coast. He visited in succession Cananore, Calicut, and Goa, and collected accurate information upon the commerce and productions of the countries bordering on the Indian Ocean, without arousing the fears of the Hindoos, who could not suspect that the kind and friendly welcome they accorded to the traveller would bring about in the future the enthralment and ruin of their country. Covilham, not considering that he had yet done enough for his country, quitted India, and went to the eastern coast of Africa, where he visited Mozambique, Sofala—long famous for its gold-mines, of which the reputation, by means of the Arabs, had even reached Europe—and Zeila, the Avalites portus of the ancients, and the principal town of the Adel coast, upon the Gulf of Oman, at the entrance of the Arabian Sea. After a somewhat long stay in that country, he returned by Aden, then the principal entrepôt of the commerce of the east, went as far as Ormuz, at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, and then again passing up the Red Sea, he arrived at Cairo.

John II. had sent to Cairo two learned Jews to await the arrival of Covilham, and to one of these, the Rabbi Abraham Beja, the traveller gave his notes, the itinerary of his journey, and a map of Africa given to him by a Mussulman, charging Beja to carry them all to Lisbon with the least possible delay. For himself, not content with all that he had done hitherto, and wishing to execute the mission which death had prevented Païva from accomplishing, he went into Abyssinia, where the "negus" or king, known by the name of Prester John, flattered by seeing his alliance sought by one of the most powerful sovereigns of Europe, received him with the greatest kindness, and gave him a high position at his court, but to make sure of retaining his services, he constantly refused him permission to leave the country. Although he had married there and had some children, Covilham still longed for his native country, and when, in 1525, a Portuguese embassy, of which Alvarès was a member, came into Abyssinia, he witnessed the departure of his countrymen with the deepest regret, and the chaplain of the expedition has naïvely re-echoed his complaints and his grief.

M. Ferdinand Denis says, "By furnishing precise information upon the possibility of circumnavigating Africa, by indicating the route to the Indies, by giving more positive and extended ideas upon the commerce of these countries, and above all, by describing the gold-mines of Sofala, and so exciting the cupidity of the Portuguese, Covilham contributed greatly to accelerate the expedition of Gama."

Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama.
From an old print.

If one may believe an old tradition, but one which is unsupported by any authentic document, Gama was descended by an illegitimate line from Alphonso III., King of Portugal. His father, Estevam Eanez da Gama, grand alcalde of Sinès and of Silvès, in the kingdom of Algarve, and commander of Seizal, occupied a high position at the court of John II. He enjoyed great reputation as a sailor, so much so, that just at the moment when his own unexpected death occurred, King John was thinking of giving Gama the command of the fleet which he was desirous of sending to the Indies. By his marriage with Dona Isabella Sodré, daughter of Juan de Resende, proveditore of the fortifications of Santarem, he had several children, and amongst them Vasco, who first reached India by doubling the Cape of Good Hope, and Paul, who accompanied him in that memorable expedition. It is known that Vasco was born at Sinès, but the date of his birth is uncertain; the year 1469 is that generally given, but besides the fact that if this be the correct date, Gama would have been very young—not more than eight and twenty—when the important command of the expedition to the Indies was confided to him, there was discovered twenty years ago, amongst the Spanish archives, a safe-conduct to Tangier granted in 1478 to two persons, Vasco da Gama and Lemos. It is scarcely probable that such a passport would have been given to a child of nine years of age, so that this discovery would appear to carry back the birth of the celebrated voyager to an earlier date.

It seems that from an early period of his life, Vasco da Gama was destined to follow the career of a sailor, in which his father had distinguished himself. The first historian of the Indies, Lopez de Castañeda, delights in recalling the fact that he had signalized himself upon the African seas. At one time he was ordered to seize all the French ships lying in the Portuguese ports, in revenge for the capture by French pirates during a time of peace of a rich Portuguese galleon returning from Mina. Such a mission would only have been confided to an active, energetic and well-tried captain, a clear proof that Gama's valour and cleverness were highly appreciated by the king.

About this time he married Dona Caterina de Ataïde, one of the highest ladies about the court, and by her he had several children, amongst others Estevam da Gama, who became governor of the Indies, and Dom Christovam, who, says Gaucher, by his struggle with Ahmed Guerad in Abyssinia, and by his romantic death, deserves to be reckoned amongst the famous adventurers of the sixteenth century.

All doubt as to the precise date of Gama's first voyage is now at an end, thanks to the document in the public library at Oporto, a paper with which Castañeda must have been acquainted, and of which M. Ferdinand Denis has published a translation in the Ancient and Modern Travellers of M. E. Charton. The date may be fixed with certainty for Saturday, the 8th of July, 1497.

This expedition had been long ago determined upon, and all its details were minutely arranged. It was to be composed of four vessels of medium size, "in order," says Pacheco, "that they may enter everywhere and again issue forth rapidly." They were solidly constructed, and provided with a triple supply of sails and hawsers; all the barrels destined to contain water, oil, or wine had been strengthened with iron hoops; large provisions of all kinds had been made, such as flour, wine, vegetables, drugs, and artillery; the personnel of the expedition consisted of the best sailors, the cleverest pilots, and the most experienced captains.

Gama, who had received the title of Capitam mõr, hoisted his flag upon the Sam-Gabriel of 120 tons. His brother Paul da Gama was on board the Sam-Raphael of 100 tons. A caravel of 50 tons, the Berrio, so named in memory of the pilot Berrio, who had sold her to Emmanuel I., was commanded by an experienced sailor, Nicolo Coelho, while Pedro Nuñes was the captain of a large barque, laden with provisions and merchandise, destined for exchange with the natives of the countries which should be visited. Pero de Alemquer, who had been pilot to Bartholomew Diaz, was to regulate the course of the vessels. The crews, including ten criminals who were put on board to be employed on any dangerous service, amounted to one hundred and sixty persons. What feeble means these, what almost absurd resources, compared with the grandeur of the mission which these men were to accomplish!

On the 8th of July, at sunrise, Gama advanced towards the vessels, followed by his officers through an immense crowd of people. Around him were a number of monks and religious persons, who chanted sacred hymns, and besought Heaven's protection for the voyagers. This departure from Rastello must have been a singularly moving scene; all, whether actors or spectators, mingling their chants, their cries, their adieux and their tears, while the sails, filled by a favourable breeze, bore away Gama and the fortune of Portugal towards the open sea. A large caravel and a smaller barque, which were bound for Mina under the command of Bartholomew Diaz, sailed in company with Gama's fleet. On the following Saturday, the ships were in sight of the Canaries, and passed the night windward of Lancerota. When they arrived parallel with the Rio de Ouro, a thick fog separated Paul da Gama, Coelho, and Diaz from the rest of the fleet, but they joined again near the Cape de Verd Islands, which were soon reached. At Santiago fresh stores of meat, water, and wood were taken on board, and the ships were again put into good sailing order.

La Mina
La Mina.
From an old print.

They quitted the shore of Santa Maria on the 3rd of August. The voyage was accomplished without any remarkable incidents, and on the 4th of November, anchors were dropped upon the African Coast in a bay which received the name of Santa-Ellena. Eight days were spent there in shipping wood, and in putting everything in order on board the vessels. It was there that they saw for the first time the Bushmen, a miserable and degraded race of people who fed upon the flesh of sea-wolves and whales, as well as upon roots. The Portuguese carried off some of these natives, and treated them with kindness. The savages knew nothing of the value of the merchandize which was offered to them, they saw the objects for the first time and were ignorant of their use. Copper was the only thing which they appeared to prize, wearing in their ears small chains of that metal. They understood well the use of the zagayes—a kind of javelin, of which the point is hardened in the fire—of which three or four of the sailors and even Gama himself had unpleasant experience, while endeavouring to rescue from their hands a certain Velloso, a man who had imprudently ventured into the interior of the country. This incident has furnished Camoens with one of the most charming episodes of the "Lusiad."

On leaving Santa-Ellena, Pero de Alemquer, formerly pilot to Diaz, declared his belief that they were then ninety miles from the Cape, but in the uncertainty the fleet stood off to sea; on the 18th of November the Cape of Good Hope was seen, and the next day it was doubled by the fleet sailing before the wind. On the 25th the vessels were moored in the Bay of Sam-Braz, where they remained thirteen days, during which time the boat which carried the stores was demolished, and her cargo divided amongst the three other vessels. During their stay the Portuguese gave the Bushmen some hawks' bells and other objects, which, to their surprise, were accepted, for in the time of Diaz the negroes had shown themselves timid and even hostile, and had thrown stones to prevent the crews from procuring water. Now they brought oxen and sheep, and to show their pleasure at the visit of the Portuguese, "they began," says Nicolas Velho, "to play upon four or five flutes, some set high, some low, a wonderful harmony for negroes, from whom one scarcely looks for music. They danced also, as dance the blacks, and the Capitam mõr commanded the trumpets to sound, and we in our boats danced too, the Capitam mõr himself dancing, as soon as he had returned amongst us."

What shall we say to this little fête and this mutual serenade between the Portuguese and the negroes? Would any one have expected to behold Gama, a grave man, as his portraits represent him, initiating the negroes into the charms of the pavane. Unhappily these favourable dispositions were transient, and it was found necessary to have recourse to some hostile demonstrations by means of repeated discharges of artillery.

In this Bay of Sam-Braz Gama erected a padrao, which was thrown down as soon as he was gone. The fleet soon passed the Rio Infante, the furthest point reached by Diaz. Here the ships experienced the effects of a strong current, but of which the violence was neutralized thanks to a favourable wind. On the 25th of December, Christmas Day, the country of Natal was discovered.

The ships had sustained some damage, and fresh water was needed; it was therefore urgent for them to find some harbour, which they succeeded in doing on the 10th of January, 1498. The blacks whom the Portuguese saw here upon landing were people of greater stature than those whom they had hitherto met with. Their arms were a large bow with long arrows, and a zagaye tipped with iron. They were Caffres, a race very superior to the Bushmen. Such happy relations were quickly established with them that Gama gave the country the name of the Land of Good People (Terra da bon Gente).

Map of the East Coast of Africa

A little further on, while still sailing up the coast, two Mussulman traders, one wearing a turban, the other a hood of green satin, came to visit the Portuguese, with a young man who, "from what could be understood from their signs, belonged to a very distant country, and who said he had already seen ships as large as ours." Vasco da Gama, took this as a proof that he was now approaching those Indian lands, which had been so long and so eagerly sought. For this reason he named the river which flowed into the sea at this place Rio dos Bonis Signaes (River of good tokens). Unhappily the first symptoms of scurvy appeared at this time amongst the crews, and soon there were many sailors upon the sick list.

On the 10th of March the expedition cast anchor before the Island of Mozambique, where, as Gama learnt through his Arab interpreters, there were several merchants of Mahometan extraction, who carried on trade with India. Gold and silver, cloth and spices, pearls and rubies, formed the staple of their commerce. Gama at the same time was assured that in pursuing the line of the coast, he would find numerous cities; "Whereat we were so joyful," says Velho in his naïve and valuable narrative, "that we wept for pleasure, praying God to grant us health that we might see all that which we had so much desired."

Mozambique Channel
Mozambique Channel.

The Viceroy Colyytam, who imagined he was dealing with Mussulmen, came on board several times and was magnificently entertained; he returned the civility by sending presents, and even furnished Gama with two skilful pilots, but when some Moorish merchants who had traded in Europe told him that these foreigners, far from being Turks, were in reality the worst enemies of the Mahometans, the viceroy, disgusted at his mistake, made preparations for seizing the Portuguese by treachery, and killing them. Gama was obliged to point his artillery at the town and threaten to reduce it to ashes before he could obtain the water needed for the prosecution of his voyage. Blood flowed, and Paul da Gama captured two barques, whose rich cargo was divided amongst the sailors. The ships quitted this inhospitable town, on the 29th of March, and the voyage continued, a close surveillance being kept over the Arab pilots, whom Gama was obliged to cause to be flogged.

On the 4th of April the coast was seen, and on the 8th Mombasa or Mombaz was reached, a town, according to the pilots, inhabited by Christians and Mussulmen. The fleet dropped anchor outside the harbour, and did not enter it, notwithstanding the enthusiastic reception given to them. Already the Portuguese were reckoning upon meeting at mass the next day with the Christians of the Island, when during the night, the flag-ship was approached by a zacra, having on board a hundred armed men, who endeavoured to enter the ships in a body, which was refused them. The king of Mombaz was informed of all that had occurred at Mozambique, but pretending ignorance, he sent presents to Gama, proposing to him to establish a factory in his capital, and assuring him that so soon as he should have entered the port, he might take on board a cargo of spices and aromatics. The Capitam mõr, suspecting nothing, immediately sent two men to announce his entry for the morrow; already they were weighing anchor when the flag-ship refusing to tack, the anchor was let fall again. In graceful and poetic fiction, Camoens affirms that it was the Nereids led by Venus, the protectress of the Portuguese, who stayed their ships when on the point of entering the port. At this moment all the Moors on board the fleet quitted it simultaneously, whilst the Mozambique pilots threw themselves into the sea.

Two Moors who were put to the question with a drop of hot oil, confessed that the intention was to take all the Portuguese prisoners as soon as they should be inside the harbour. During the night the Moors endeavoured several times to climb on board and to cut the cables in order to run the ships aground, but each time they were discovered. Under these circumstances no prolonged stay was possible at Mombaz, but it had been long enough for all those ill of scurvy to recover their health.

At the distance of four-and-twenty miles from land, the fleet captured a barque richly laden with gold, silver, and provisions. The next day Gama arrived at Melinda, a rich and flourishing city, whose gilded minarets, sparkling in the sunshine, and whose mosques of dazzling whiteness, stood out against a sky of the most intense blue. The reception of the Portuguese at Melinda was at first very cold, the capture of the barque the evening before being already known there, but as soon as explanations had been given, the people became cordial. The king's son came to visit the admiral, accompanied by a train of courtiers splendidly dressed, and a choir of musicians, who played upon various instruments. The greatest astonishment was shown at the artillery practice, for the invention of gunpowder was not yet known on the east coast of Africa. A solemn treaty was made, ratified by oaths upon the Gospel and the Koran, and cemented by an interchange of presents. From this moment the ill-will, the treachery, the difficulties of all kinds which had hitherto beset the expedition, ceased as if by magic: this must be attributed to the generosity of the King of Melinda, and to the aid which he furnished to the Portuguese.

Faithful to the promise which he had made to Vasco da Gama, the king sent him a Gujerat pilot named Malemo Cana, a man well instructed in navigation, understanding the use of charts, of the compass and the quadrant, and who rendered the most important service to the expedition. After a stay of nine days the fleet weighed anchor for Calicut. The coasting plan hitherto pursued was now to be abandoned, and the time was come when, in reliance upon the blessing of God, the Portuguese must venture out upon the wide ocean, without other guide than an unknown pilot furnished by a king whose kind welcome had not sufficed to lull to sleep the suspicions of the foreigners. And yet, thanks to the ability and loyalty of this pilot, thanks also to the clemency of the sea, and to the wind being constantly in its favour, the fleet, after a twenty-three days' voyage, reached the land on the 17th May, and the next day anchored at the distance of six miles below Calicut. The enthusiasm on board was great. At last they had arrived in those rich and wonderful countries. Fatigues, dangers, sickness, all were forgotten. The object of their long labours was attained! Or rather, it seemed to be so, for there was still needed the possession of the treasures and rich productions of India.

Scarcely were the anchors dropped when four boats came off from the shore, performing evolutions around the fleet, and apparently inviting the sailors to disembark. But Gama, rendered cautious by the occurrences at Mozambique and Mombaz, sent on shore one of the criminals who were on board, to act as a scout; ordering him to walk through the town and endeavour to ascertain the temper of its inhabitants. Surrounded by an inquisitive crowd, assailed by questions to which he could not reply, this man was conducted to the house of a Moor named Mouçaïda, who spoke Spanish, and to whom he gave a short account of the voyage of the fleet. Mouçaïda returned with him on board, and his first words on setting foot on the ship were "Good luck! good luck! quantities of rubies, quantities of emeralds!" Whereupon, Mouçaïda was at once engaged as interpreter.

The King of Calicut was at this time at a distance of forty-five miles from his capital, so the Capitam mõr despatched two men to announce the arrival of an ambassador from the King of Portugal, being the bearer of letters to him from his sovereign. The king at once sent a pilot, with orders to take the Portuguese ships into the safer roadstead of Pandarany, and promised to return himself on the morrow to Calicut; this he did, and ordered his Intendant or Catoual to invite Gama to land and open negotiations. In spite of the supplications of his brother, Paul da Gama, who represented to him the dangers which he might incur, and those to which his death would expose the expedition, the Capitam mõr set out for the shore, upon which an enormous crowd of people were awaiting him.

The idea that they were in the midst of a Christian population was so rooted in the minds of all the members of the expedition, that Gama, on passing by a pagoda on the way, entered it to perform his devotions. One of his companions, however, Juan de Saa, noticing the hideous pictures upon the walls, was less credulous, and whilst throwing himself upon his knees, said aloud, "If that be a devil, I intend nevertheless to adore only the true God!" A mental reservation which caused amusement to the admiral.

Near the gates of the town the crowd was even more closely packed. Gama and his companions, under the guidance of the Catoual, had some difficulty in reaching the palace, where the king, who in the narrative is called the "Zamorin," was awaiting them with extreme impatience. Ushered into halls splendidly decorated with silken stuffs and carpets, and in which burned the most exquisite perfumes, the Portuguese found themselves in the presence of the Zamorin. He was magnificently attired, and loaded with jewels, the pearls and diamonds which he wore being of extraordinary size. The king ordered refreshments to be served to the strangers, and permitted them to be seated, a peculiar mark of favour in a country where the sovereign is usually only addressed with the most lowly prostrations. The Zamorin afterwards passed into another apartment, to hear with his own ears, as was proudly demanded by Gama, the reasons for the embassy and the desire felt by the King of Portugal to conclude a treaty of commerce and alliance with the King of Calicut. The Zamorin listened to Gama's discourse, and replied that he should be happy to consider himself the friend and brother of King Emmanuel, and that he would, by the aid of Gama, send ambassadors to Portugal.

Gama's interview with the Zamorin
Gama's interview with the Zamorin.
From an old print.

There are certain proverbs of which the force is not affected by change of latitude, and the truth of that one which says, "The days succeed each other and have no similarity," was proved the next day at Calicut. The enthusiasm which had been aroused in the mind of the Zamorin by the ingenious discourse of Gama, and the hope it had awakened of the establishment of a profitable trade with Portugal, vanished at the sight of the presents which were to be given him. "Twelve pieces of striped cloth, twelve cloaks with scarlet hoods, six hats, and four branches of coral, accompanied by a box containing six large basons, a chest of sugar, and four kegs, two filled with oil, and two with honey," certainly did not constitute a very magnificent offering. At sight of it, the prime minister laughed, declaring that the poorest merchant from Mecca brought richer presents, and that the king would never accept of such ridiculous trifles. After this affront Gama again visited the Zamorin, but it was only after long waiting in the midst of a mocking crowd, that he was admitted to the presence of the king. The latter reproached him in a contemptuous manner for having nothing to offer him, while pretending to be the subject of a rich and powerful king. Gama replied with boldness, and produced the letters of Emmanuel, which were couched in flattering terms, and contained a formal promise to send merchandise to Calicut. The Zamorin, pleased at this prospect, then inquired with interest about the productions and resources of Portugal, and gave permission to Gama to disembark and sell his goods.

But this abrupt change in the humour of the Zamorin was not at all agreeable to the Moorish and Arab traders, whose dealings made the prosperity of Calicut. They could not look on quietly whilst foreigners were endeavouring for their own advantage to turn aside the commerce which had been hitherto entirely in their hands; they resolved, therefore, to leave no stone unturned to drive away once for all these formidable rivals from the shores of India. Their first care was to gain the ear of the Catoual; then they painted in the blackest colours these insatiable adventurers, these bold robbers, whose only object was to spy out the strength and resources of the town, that they might return in force to pillage it, and to massacre those who should venture to oppose their designs.

Upon arriving at the roadstead of Pandarany, Gama found no boat to take him off to the ships, and was forced to sleep on shore. The Catoual never left him, continually seeking to prove to him the necessity of bringing the ships nearer to the land; and when the admiral positively refused to consent to this, he declared him to be his prisoner. He had very little idea as yet of the firmness of Gama's character. Some armed boats were sent to surprise the ships, but the Portuguese, having received secret intelligence from the admiral of all that had happened, were on their guard, and their enemies dared not use open force. Gama, still a prisoner, threatened the Catoual with the anger of the Zamorin, whom he imagined could never thus have violated the duties of hospitality, but seeing that his menaces produced no effect, he tried bribery, presenting the minister with several pieces of stuff, who, thereupon at once altered his demeanour. "If the Portuguese," said he, "had but kept the promise they had made to the king, of disembarking their merchandise, the admiral would long ago have returned on board his ships." Gama at once sent an order to bring the goods to land, opened a shop for their sale, of which the superintendence was given to Diego Diaz, brother to the discoverer of the Cape of Good Hope, and was then allowed to go back to his ships.

The Mussulmen placed obstacles in the way of the sale of the merchandise by depreciating its value; Gama sent his agent Diaz to the Zamorin to complain of the perfidy of the Moors and of the bad treatment to which he had been subjected, requesting at the same time permission to move his place of sale to Calicut, where he hoped that the goods would be more easily disposed of. This request was favourably received, and friendly relations were maintained, in spite of the Moorish intrigues, until the 10th of August, 1498. On that day Diaz went to announce Gama's impending departure to the king, reminding him of his promise to send an embassy to Portugal, and asking him to allow Gama a specimen of each of the productions of the country. These were to be paid for on the first sale of goods which should take place after the departure of the fleet, it being intended that the employés of the factory should remain at Calicut during Gama's absence. The Zamorin, instigated by the Arab traders, not only refused to execute his promise, but demanded the payment of 600 seraphins as customs' duty, ordering at the same time the seizure of the merchandise, and making prisoners of the men employed in the factory.

Such an outrage, such contempt for the rights of nations, called for prompt vengeance, but Gama understood the art of dissimulation; however, on receiving a visit on board from some rich merchants, he detained them, and sent to the Zamorin to demand an exchange of prisoners. The king's reply not being sent within the time specified by the admiral, the latter set sail and anchored at the distance of sixteen miles from Calicut. After another fruitless attack by the Hindoos, the two agents returned on board, and a portion of the hostages whom Gama had secured were given up. Diaz brought back with him a curious letter from the Zamorin to the King of Portugal. It was written upon a palm leaf, and shall be quoted in all its strange laconicism, so different from the usual grandiloquence of the oriental style:—

"Vasco da Gama, a noble of thy palace, is come into my country which I have permitted. In my kingdom there is much cinnamon, cloves, and pepper, with many precious stones, and what I desire from thy country is gold, silver, coral, and scarlet. Adieu."

On the morrow, Mouçaïda the Moor of Tunis who had served as interpreter to the Portuguese, and had been a great assistance to them in their negotiations with the Zamorin, came to seek an asylum on board the ships. The merchandise had not been brought back on the appointed day, and the Capitam mõr now resolved to carry away with him the men whom he had kept as hostages, but the fleet was becalmed at several miles distance from Calicut, and was attacked by twenty armed boats, which were with difficulty kept at a distance by the artillery, until they were forced by a violent storm to take shelter under the coast.

The admiral was sailing along the coast of the Deccan, and had permitted some of the sailors to go on shore to gather fruit and collect cinnamon bark, when he perceived eight boats, which appeared to be coming towards him. Gama recalled the men, and sailed forward to meet the Hindoos, who made the greatest haste to flee from him, but not without leaving a boat laden with cocoa, and provisions, in the hands of the Portuguese. On arriving at the Laccadive Archipelago, Gama had the Berriorecalked, and his own ship drawn up on shore for repairs. The sailors were busy over this work when they were again attacked, but without more success than heretofore. The next day witnessed the arrival of an individual forty years of age, dressed in Hindoo style, who began to speak to the Portuguese in excellent Italian, telling them that he was a native of Venice, and had been torn from his country while still young, that he was a Christian, but without the possibility of practising his religion. He was in a high position at the court of the king of the country, who had sent him to them, to place at their disposal all that the country contained which could minister to their comfort. These offers of service, so different from the welcome accorded to them hitherto, excited the suspicions of the Portuguese, and they were not long in discovering that this adventurer was in command of the boats which had attacked them the day before. Upon this they had him scourged until he confessed that he had come to discover whether it were possible to attack the fleet with advantage, and he ended by affirming that all the inhabitants of the sea-shore were in league to destroy the Portuguese. He was retained on board, the work upon the ships was hurried forward, and as soon as water and provisions had been taken in, sail was made for a return to Europe.

In consequence of dead calms and contrary winds, the expedition was three months, all but three days, in reaching the African coast. During this long voyage the crews suffered terribly from scurvy, and thirty sailors perished. In each ship, only seven or eight men were in a condition to work the vessel, and very often the officers themselves were forced to lend a hand. "Whence I can affirm," says Velho, "that if the time in which we sailed across those seas had been prolonged a fortnight, nobody from hence would have navigated them after us.... And the captains having held a council upon the matter, it was resolved that in case of similar winds catching us again, to return towards India, there to take refuge." On the 2nd of February, 1499, the Portuguese found themselves at last abreast of a great town on the coast of Ajan, called Magadoxo, distant 300 miles from Melinda.

Gama, dreading another reception like the one given to him at Mozambique, would not stop here, but while passing within sight of the town, ordered a general discharge of the guns. A few days afterwards the rich and salubrious plains of Melinda came in sight, and here they cast anchor. The king hastened to send off fresh provisions and oranges for the invalids on board. The reception given by him to the Portuguese was in every particular most affectionate, and the friendship which had arisen during Gama's first visit to Melinda was greatly strengthened. The Sheik of Melinda sent for the King of Portugal a horn made of ivory and a number of other presents, entreating Gama at the same time to receive a young Moor on board his ship, that through him the king might learn how earnestly he desired his friendship.

The five days' rest at Melinda was of the greatest benefit to the Portuguese, at its expiration they again set sail. Soon after passing Mombaz they were obliged to burn theSam-Raphael, the crews being too much reduced to be able to work three ships. They discovered the Island of Zanzibar, anchored in the Bay of Sam-Braz, and on the 20th February, a favourable wind enabled them to double the Cape of Good Hope, when they again found themselves upon the Atlantic Ocean. The breeze remaining favourable, helped forward the return of the mariners, and at the end of twenty-seven days, they had arrived in the neighbourhood of the Island of Santiago. On the 25th of April Nicholas Coelho, captain of the Berrio, eager to be the first to carry to Emmanuel the news of the discovery of the Indies, separated himself from his chief, and without touching, as had been arranged, at the Cape de Verd Islands, made sail direct for Portugal, arriving there on the 10th of July.

During this time the unfortunate Gama was plunged in the most profound sorrow, for his brother, Paul da Gama, who had shared his fatigues and sufferings, and who was to be a partaker of his glory, seemed to be slowly dying. At Santiago, Vasco da Gama, now returned to well known and much frequented seas, gave up the command of his ships to Joao da Saa, and chartered a fast-sailing caravel, to hasten as much as possible his beloved invalid's return to his native country. But all hope was vain, and the caravel only arrived at Terceira in time to inter there the body of the brave and sympathizing Paul da Gama.

Upon his arrival in Portugal, which must have taken place during the early part of September, the admiral was received with stately festivals. Of the 160 Portuguese whom he had taken with him, fifty-five only returned with him. The loss was great certainly, but what was it compared with the great advantages to be hoped for? The public realized this, and gave the most enthusiastic reception to Gama. The King, Emmanuel II., added to his own titles that of Lord of the conquests and of the navigation of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and the Indies; but he allowed two years to pass before rewarding Gama. He then bestowed upon him the title of Admiral of the Indies, and authorized him to use the prefix of Dom before his name, a privilege then rarely granted. Also, doubtless to make Vasco da Gama forget the tardiness with which his services had been rewarded, the king gave him 1000 crowns, a considerable sum for that period, and also conceded to him certain privileges in connexion with the commerce of the Indies, which were likely speedily to make his fortune.