What is the significance of Da Gama's voyages?

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Da Gama, as other answers have said, was the first ever European known to sail around the bottom tip of Africa, then across the Indian Ocean to India to trade for spices and other goods. This was important because the Ottoman Empire was placing prohibitively high tariffs on the traditional...

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Da Gama, as other answers have said, was the first ever European known to sail around the bottom tip of Africa, then across the Indian Ocean to India to trade for spices and other goods. This was important because the Ottoman Empire was placing prohibitively high tariffs on the traditional overland route to Asia while Barbary pirates were making it difficult for traders to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This new sea route, while treacherous, long, and difficult, allowed traders the opportunity to make a good profit on the items Europeans coveted.

The most significant aspect of Da Gama's voyages, however, was to alert other European nations to the possibility of finding alternative routes to Asia. Portugal was growing rich as a result of their Indian trade. Other nations wanted a piece of this. This desire for new routes lead the Spanish monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand to sponsor Columbus's voyage west, which opened up the American continents to the Europeans.

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Vasco Da Gama made Portugal a major player in the European spice trade during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.  Da Gama established a trade route between Lisbon and Calcutta--he was the first European to do so.  Using a sea route discovered by Bartholemeu Dias that went around the Cape of Good Hope, Da Gama gained riches for both himself and Portugal.  Ultimately, Da Gama would die in India after his third voyage there. As a result of Da Gama's efforts, Portugal became a major spice exporter.  This cut into the power of Venetian traders, who had long monopolized the trade in the Mediterranean. Without the need to cut through the Middle East in order to get to the lucrative spice trade of Asia, European nations soon focused their efforts on merchant ships.  While Portugal would revert back to its status as a relatively poor nation, Da Gama's accomplishment made other European nations dream of trade empires.  

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The major significance of Vasco Da Gama's voyages was that they opened maritime trade between Asia and Europe and they helped to create a Portuguese empire.

Vasco Da Gama was the first European to sail around the continent of Africa to Asia.  This allowed Portugal to start trading for spices in Asia.  This was a hugely lucrative trade.  Because it was such a rich trade it helped to make Portugal a major power even though Portugal was such a small country.  In the years after Da Gama's voyage, Portugal became a world power to rival Spain.  This would not have been possible without Da Gama's voyages.

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