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Kings Warriors Traders Fishers - (Parathavars/Paravas/Bharathars) - 2


Portuguese King's Expedition :

Portuguese king John II set a new objective for his captains: to find a sea route to Asia by sailing around the African continent.

The route meant that the Portuguese would not need to cross the highly disputed Mediterraneannor the dangerous Arabian Peninsula, and that the whole voyage would be made by sea. By the time Vasco da Gama was in his 20s, these plans were coming to fruition. In 1487, John II dispatched two spies, Pero da Covilhã and Afonso de Paiva, overland via Egypt, to East Africa and India, to scout the details of the spice markets and trade routes. The breakthrough came soon after when John II's captain Bartolomeu Dias returned from rounding the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, having explored as far as the Fish River (Rio do Infante) in modern-day South Africa and having verified that the unknown coast stretched away to the northeast.

of Mombasa – and there the expedition first noted evidence of Indian traders.

First Trip:

On 8 July 1497 Vasco da Gama led a fleet of four ships with a crew of 170 men from Lisbon. The distance traveled in the journey around Africa to India and back was greater than around the equator.[10][11] The navigators included Portugal's most experienced, Pero de Alenquer, Pedro Escobar, João de Coimbra, and Afonso Gonçalves. It is not known for certain how many people were in each ship's crew but approximately 55 returned, and two ships were lost. 

Reaching the legendary Indian spice routes unopposed helped the Portuguese Empire improve its economy that, until da Gama's discovery, was based mainly on trading along northern and coastal West Africa. The spices obtained were mostly pepper and cinnamon at first, but soon included other products, all new to Europe and leading to a commercial monopoly for several decades.

The King of Calicut, the Samudiri(Zamorin), who was at that time staying in his second capital at Ponnani, returned to Calicut on hearing the news of the foreign fleets's arrival. The navigator was received with traditional hospitality, including a grand procession of at least 3,000 armed Nairs, but an interview with the Zamorin failed to produce any concrete results. 

Vasco da Gama's request for permission to leave a factor behind him in charge of the merchandise he could not sell was turned down by the King, who insisted that da Gama pay customs duty—preferably in gold—like any other trader, which strained the relation between the two.
Annoyed by this, da Gama carried a few Nairs and sixteen fishermen (mukkuva) off with him by force.[17] Nevertheless, da Gama's expedition was successful beyond all reasonable expectation, bringing in cargo that was worth sixty times the cost of the expedition.

The expedition had exacted a large cost – one ship and over half the men had been lost. It had also failed in its principal mission of securing a commercial treaty with Calicut. Nonetheless, the spices brought back on the remaining two ships were sold at an enormous profit to the crown. Vasco da Gama was justly celebrated for opening a direct sea route to Asia. His path would be followed up thereafter by yearly Portuguese India Armadas.

Second Trip:

The follow-up expedition, the Second India Armada launched in 1500, was placed under the command Pedro Álvares Cabral, with the mission of making a treaty with the Zamorin of Calicut and setting up a Portuguese factory in the city. However, Pedro Cabral entered into a conflict with the local Arab merchant guilds, with the result that the Portuguese factory was overrun in a riot and up to 70 Portuguese killed. Cabral blamed the Zamorin for the incident and bombarded the city. Thus war broke out between Portugal and Calicut.

Vasco da Gama invoked his royal letter to take command of the 4th India Armada, scheduled to set out in 1502, with the explicit aim of taking revenge upon the Zamorin and force him to submit to Portuguese terms. The heavily armed fleet of fifteen ships and eight hundred men left Lisbon on 12 February 1502. 

On reaching India in October 1502, da Gama's fleet set about capturing any Arab vessel he came across in Indian waters, most notoriously the Miri, a pilgrim ship from Mecca, whose passengers he massacred in open water.

He then appeared before Calicut, demanding redress for the treatment of Cabral. While the Zamorin was willing to sign a new treaty,[25] da Gama made a call to the Hindu king to expel all Muslims from Calicut before beginning negotiations, which was turned down. The Portuguese fleet then bombarded the city for nearly two days from the sea shore, severely damaging the unfortified city. He also captured several rice vessels and cut off the crew's hands, ears and noses, dispatching them with an insulting note to the Zamorin.

The violent treatment meted out by da Gama quickly brought trade along the Malabar Coast of India, upon which Calicut depended, to a standstill. But the Zamorin nonetheless refused to submit to Portuguese terms, and even ventured to hire a fleet of strong warships to challenge da Gama's armada

Third Trip and Death:

Setting out in April 1524, with a fleet of fourteen ships, Vasco da Gama took as his flagship the famous large carrack Santa Catarina do Monte Sinai on her last journey to India, along with two of his sons, Estêvão and Paulo. After a troubled journey (four or five of the ships were lost en route), he arrived in India in September.

Vasco da Gama immediately invoked his high vice regent powers to impose a new order in Portuguese India, replacing all the old officials with his own appointments. But Gama contracted malaria not long after arriving, and died in the city of Cochin on Christmas Eve in 1524, three months after his arrival.

Since the arrival of Gamma, the trade route from India to Portugal was established. During 1512 to 1537 another incident happened which led Paravas to meet Portuguese.

It was Da Cruz (John the cross) who was send send by Zamorin to Lisbon (Portugal) for trade. This person was welcomed by king and was converted to Christianity and got name Da Cruz. He learnt native language(Latin) and was rejected by Zamorin for getting converted. Back in India Da Cruz wrote letters to the Portuguese king for money to trade peppers and he got it. When he had send the ships with pepper it wrecked in the sea resulting in loss. Now Da Cruz was poor and was imprisoned for not paying his debt to the king. Again he wrote a letter to king to do another business to repay his debt and was granted and released. Accordingly, he gets a hold of some 12 horses, goes to the southern kingdoms, sells them to the Sultan of Malabar, but never gets paid. This period was around 1535-36. Here he meets Paratharas … and then the conversion starts… let us see that in next week. continued........

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