Read the passage and answer the questions that follow.

Vasco Da Gama was the first European to find an ocean trading route to India. He accomplished what many explorers before him could not do. His discovery of this sea route helped the Portuguese establish a long-lasting colonial empire in Asia and Africa. The new ocean route around Africa allowed Portuguese sailors to avoid the Arab trading hold in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Vasco da Gama opened a new world of riches by opening up an Indian Ocean route. His voyage and explorations helped change the world for Europeans. Vasco da Gama’s maritime career was during the period when Portugal was searching for a trade route around Africa to India. The Ottoman Empire controlled almost all European trade routes to Asia. This meant they could, and did, charge high prices for ships passing through
ports. When Manuel I became King of Portugal in 1495, he continued efforts to open a trade route to India by going around Africa. Although other people were considered for the job, Manuel I finally chose 37-year-old Vasco da Gama for this task.

On 8 July 1497, Vasco da Gama sailed from Lisbon with a fleet of four ships and a crew of 170 men. Da Gama commanded the Sao Gabriel. Paulo da Gama - brother to Vasco - commanded the São Rafael, a three mast ship. They sailed past the Canary Islands, and reached the Cape Verde islands and then continued sailing, though storms still delayed them for a while. They rounded the cape of Good Hope on 22 November and anchored at Mossel Bay, South Africa. They began sailing again and continued until they reached the Rio dos Bons Sinais (River of Good Omens). Here they erected a statue in the name of Portugal. They stayed here for a month because much of the crew were sick from scurvy - a disease caused by lack of Vitamin C. Da Gama’s fleet eventually began sailing again. Finally, on 20 May 1498 they reached India. They headed for Kappad, near the large city of Calicut. In Calicut, da Gama met with the king. But the king of Calicut was not impressed with da Gama, and the gifts he brought as offering. They spent several months trading in India, and studying their customs. They left India at the end of August.

Question 48

Who controlled the European trade routes to Asia before 1497?

Create a FREE account and get:

  • Free SSC Study Material - 18000 Questions
  • 230+ SSC previous papers with solutions PDF
  • 100+ SSC Online Tests for Free


Boost your Prep!

Download App