In 1498, on this day the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama (pictured) became the first European to reach India via the Atlantic Ocean when he arrived at Calicut on the Malabar Coast.
Vasco De Gama Reaches IndiaDa Gama had sailed from Lisbon, Portugal and in July 1497 rounded the Cape of Good Hope, anchoring at Malindi on the east coast of Africa. With the aid of an Indian merchant he met there, he then set off across the Indian Ocean.
The Portuguese explorer was not greeted warmly by the Muslim merchants of Calicut, and in 1499 he had to fight his way out of the harbor on his return trip home. In 1502, he led a squadron of ships to Calicut to avenge the massacre of Portuguese explorers there and succeeded in subduing the inhabitants. In 1524, he was sent as viceroy to India, a position that would be finally abolished in 1974 by the collapse of the Portugese empire following the death of the dictator Salazar.