Vasco de Gama

Whilst Columbus had discovered America, it was Vasco de Gama's discovery of a sea route to Asia around Africa that would provide more immediate economic benefit to Europe. Portugal had found a viable route to the Indies and although the Spanish and English would continue searching for a Westward route to the Orient, it was the Portuguese who had a genuine route available to them. This would allow the Portuguese to start importing spices on an unprecedented scale. This had the effect of weakening the power of the Venetians who had their own sea routes of the established Silk Routes through the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. The Portuguese would become the first maritime superpower thanks to explorers like Vasco de Gama.

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by Stephen Luscombe