Vasco da Gama was the first European to sail around the cape of Africa to establish direct trade routes. The story of his initial journey sees him overcome tremendous hardships, including mutiny, disease, and treacherous Moorish traders, jealous of his designs. His story is no less interesting or significant than that of Columbus, and in his own age, he was just as famous and more successful politically than Columbus.
VASCO DE GAMA SETS SAIL.
It is the purpose of the author, in this and the succeeding volumes of the "Heroes of History" series, to present, in as interesting a way as may be able, the true and exciting stories of some famous voyagers and discoverers whose names are not unknown to young people, but whose deeds and adventures are less familiar. While a vast mass of literature for the young has been published, and is being constantly issued from the press, there seems to be some need of books which at once attract the youthful reader's absorbing interest, and teach him some of the wonderful thing that have actually happened in the world; the great discoveries made by dint of dauntless courage, unfaltering perseverence, contempt of obstacles, adn sturdy conquest of perils by land and sea; the search for fabled treasures, and hazardous travels among strange and interesting peoples.
The aim of this series is to relate truthfully the romantic and thrilling adventures of the "heroes" who are to form the subjects of the volumes, and to do this in a way that will attract and hold the absorbing attention of the young reader from beginning to end.
Vasco da Gamma, the subject of this volume, was in his own day more famous than Columbus. Chosen by accident to make difficult and dangerous voyage, to sail into unknown and savage regions, and to discover a distant and splendid empire, he fulfilled his task with such glorious success, that, on his return, all Europe rang with his praises. Bold and fearless, full of spirit and enterprise, hot-blooded though just and generous, noble in person, and gracious in manner, no man could be more eminently fitted than he for a perilous journey across stormy seas and amid fierce tribes. His discovery of the way to India around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope wason of the most momentous ever made by man; for during several centuries, and up to the time the Suez Canal was dug and opened, but a few years ago, it was the only sea-route between Europe and India.
His story, as will be seen, is full of striking incidents, of strange adventures, of deperate dangers, and of moving triumphs. Few voyages have been more replete with romance; and his career is now narrated for the first time for the benefit of youthful readers, in the hope that it will amuse some of their leisure-hours, and at the same time afford them an important lesson in history.