Monday, May 02, 2011

What the Books Say about Vasco Da Gama

Historical books portray Vaco Da Gama as a benevolent sort of man, the sort that would fit the description of a grandfather. At least, that's what I thought when I read in books about this pioneer who discovered the west coast of India for Europeans. However, here's a contrary view on Maddy's blog:
Vasco Da Gama is considered by many to be a great navigator, a shrewd leader and a diplomat in history books. But was he really that? Did he have a violent streak? If you dig deep into history books, you will find that he indeed had a violent streak and this was exhibited many times, though it was all far away from home and in trading lands, especially those he subdued with the power of the gun. This unlettered though crude and many a time sadistically violent sailor was nevertheless loyal to his king and proved fearless until his death. By today's legal yardsticks and violence that Europe eschews, he would be rotting away in jails for his actions. Then again this was a long time ago, when might was perhaps, right and where it was proven by the power of a bigger gun and dishonest warring techniques. Vasco was after all, to summarize, as a detailed study of events that transpired after 1497 proves, brutal and single-minded, cunning, rash and suspicious. According to Sanjay Subrahmanyam, the "systematic use of violence at sea" was introduced after the arrival of the Portuguese.

Maddy writes an engaging blog about things historical. Especially the history of Kerala.

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