Vasco da Gama Square

Vasco Square

Vasco da Gama Square in Fort Kochi, near the sea shore, is an ideal place to spend the evenings. One can see stalls that sell nuts, tender coconut, spices, and other local delicacies. Fishermen lower the Chinese fishing nets into the sea and fresh catch is brought to the nearby fish market. Owned by the Municipal Corporation of Kochi, Vasco da Gama has an open stage for cultural performances.

This place received its name three decades ago. This place is named after the legendary Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama who was the first European to reach the Indian subcontinent by sea. The mission of his voyage was to search for the details of the spice market of and trade routes to the Malabar region on the Indian coast. His fleet of ships reached Kappad near Calicut in 1498. Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India was significant and opened the way for an age of global imperialism. Pedro Álvares Cabral, another Portuguese sailor, followed Gama, reaching Calicut and travelling from there to Kochi. A treaty was signed between the Portuguese and the King of Kochi which followed the construction of Fort Emmanuel in 1503 at Kochi, the first European fort in India. The city in the Portuguese fort area was called Santa Cruz, the first European 'city' in India.

Gama travelled to India thrice. Gama’s first voyage left Lisbon on 7th July 1497. There were four ships in the fleet and 170 men in the crew. After reaching Calicut Gama went back on 29th August 1498.  His second voyage was in 1502 with 15 ships in the fleet which reached Kochi in October 1502. He returned to Lisbon in 1503. The third voyage started from Lisbon in April 1524 with 14 ships in the fleet and it reached Kochi in 1524. Within less than three months of his arrival at Kochi, he died of malaria in Kochi on Christmas Eve of 1524. He was initially buried at St. Francis Church in Fort Kochi, but his remains were eventually taken to Portugal in 1539.

- by Kerala Tourism