How Bombay was Discovered


MUMBAI: Vasco Da Gama was instructed to go to India to find Christians and Spices for Portugal. He was entrusted with the task of discovering sea route between Portugal and India.

Portrait of Vasco da Gama by António Manuel da Fonseca (1838)
Portrait of Vasco da Gama by António Manuel da Fonseca (1838)

The great discoverer, Vasco Da Gama, set for India in 1497.

He left Lisbon in July 1497. He had three ships of various sizes and weight. There were ships which   carried goods of 60 Tons to 150 Tons in weight. It took ten months for Vasco Da Gama to reach India from Portugal. His ships anchored off Calicut in May 1498.

Vasco Da Gama's Sea Route to India
Vasco Da Gama’s Sea Route to India

At last he succeeded in discovering a sea route to India. As a British writer said, the success of Vasco da Gama to find sea route to India shook the whole civilized world.

The luxuries of the East, then, were reaching to the West through many hands. The sea route discovery to India began  the era where Indian luxurious articles, spices, clothes and other goods reached directly to Lisbon.

Portugal suddenly became rich, prosperous and famous, giving stiff competition to rivals in Europe and Persia.

Portugal, after discovering the new sea route to India, began to have strategic control over this route and high seas as they strengthened their might to gain control on the western as well as southern side of India.

An Old Picture of Bombay
An Old Picture of Bombay

They established themselves in the Malabar Coast. In 1510, they took over Goa, but were driven out by the Bijapur Rulers.

In 1509, the Portuguese paid their first visit to the islands of Bombay, which was under Muslim Rule then.

Those Portuguese landed in Bombay to purchase woods and other provisions. They were not opposed.

Then in 1517, a Portuguese naval fleet entered Bombay for the second time. Later on, they tried to construct a Fort in ‘Chahul’ (currently Chembur probably) .

A picture of Bombay Salsette islands
A picture of Bombay Salsette islands

Thus they were challenged by the Sultan of Gujarat’s Navy. This began a series of fight between Portuguese with the forces of Sultan of Gujarat.

These skirmishes resulted in surrender of Bombay to Portuguese by Sultan of Gujarat.



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