Vasco Da Gama Imperialism

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In 1498 Vasco Da Gama’s fleet arrived in the port city of Calicut in India. Da Gama had achieved a great feat: finding the first completely naval route from Europe to India and within a short amount of time the spice trade had already begun. This marked the beginning of the ‘Vasco Da Gama Epoch’, an era of Trade and prosperity between the West and the East. At first glance this may seem like a significant moment in History, marking the beginning of European imperialism and creating a connection of east and west. However this is not the case, the voyage would certainly have many consequences, some which would become very significant but there was initially no radical change in the world. Europe did not quickly establish booming empires and it…show more content…
While of course it would be wrong to suggest communication and cooperation did not increase after this point it didn’t represent a global system the likes of which existed after the 19th century. O’Rourke and Williamson argue for a number of reasons, mostly looking from an economics point of view, why globalisation did not begin at this point in History. They state that for a global market place to exist there must be a much more free market whereby prices are affected by the demands of peoples across the globe and not by local supply. Before the 19th century there was no grand trade revolution, high transport costs (especially for the Cape of Good Hope route), no commodity price convergence (whereby prices become more the same across different markets) and free trade did not exist which meant there was no globalised trade network. On top of this luxury goods were unavailable to most people in Europe . Further to this point J.H. Elliott argues that most Europeans hadn’t grasped the idea of the “new world” until 150 years into the Vasco Da Gama Epoch. What this J.H. Elliott shows us is that most people did not feel the effects of these new trade routes, the average worker had no interest in this idea of a “new world” because they would not have been exposed to the effects of it. As well as most people not seeing new luxury goods like spice, the trade was also so…show more content…
This does however bring up the fact that while Vasco Da Gama did not affect the world in any dramatic sense, his voyage did begin a slow progression towards the drastic change and it did begin a period of long distance trade which would last until the 19th century. His initial contact with the indigenous people of India and the East Coast of Africa would inspire Manuel to call for a crusade of sorts to the east, although this wasn’t actually to set up trade it was instead based on a desire to diverge trade away from Islamic countries but also in the search of more Christians. Whatever the motives Portugal originally had, this would eventually lead to other explorers and merchants to travel east from Portugal in search of trade and riches; navigators like Albuquerque would go on to take coastal cities like Goa and Malacca, which would become important trading routes for centuries to come. By exposing Western Europe to these new riches Vasco Da Gama would have inspired other explorers and entrepreneurs to try and make their fortune by exploiting the cape trade route. These traders would expand into the east creating small pockets of territorial control, and it would be from these ports and trade routes that grand trading companies, like

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