The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama (1460-1524), was the first European to sail from Portugal to India. Accolades for this achievement have long obscured the messianic motivation for the 1498 voyage, “to invade, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens (Muslims) and pagans and other enemies of Christ; to reduce them to perpetual slavery; to convert them to Christianity; [and] to acquire great wealth by force of arms from the Infidels,” as sanctified by various Papal Bulls, together called “the Doctrine of Discovery” (Dum Diversas, 1452; Romanus Pontifex, 1455; Inter Caetera, 1493). The other key motive in this enormous undertaking was to displace Arab control of the spice trade and establish, instead, Portuguese hegemony that eventually resulted in colonialism/imperialism. The main instrument in this effort was extreme violence, sanctioned by the Church, inflicted upon the natives, and predicated on the Portuguese Inquisition and earlier crusades. The paper concludes with some cautionary remarks about the current Islam-West clash environment.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Ghazanfar, S. M.
"Vasco da Gama’s Voyages to India: Messianism, Mercantilism, and Sacred Exploits,"
Journal of Global Initiatives: Policy, Pedagogy, Perspective: Vol. 13:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/jgi/vol13/iss1/3