Vasco da Gama: First Portuguese explorer in the Cape
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Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was the first European to set foot in the Cape, and was the first to travel from Portugal to India via the Cape of Good Hope, in 1497. He followed in the footsteps of Bartholomew Diaz in sailing around the Cape.
Tracing the history of Da Gama, it appears that he and his men never landed in the current-day Cape Town. They first anchored at what is now St Helena Bay on the Cape West Coast, rounded Cape Point, anchored at Mossel Bay, and then sailed to India via the now Durban, Mocambique, Mombassa, on to Calcutta. The expedition took two years.
Vasco da Gama is honoured with a statue in St Helena Bay. Two navigational beacons, Dias Cross and Da Gama Cross, commemorate Da Gama near the Cape of Good Hope, in the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
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