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Background To The Voyage

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Chapter Summary

There were two seminal voyages which initiated and helped to cement profound societal links: that of Christopher Columbus from 1492 to 1493 and that of Vasco da Gama from 1497 to 1499. In January 1497, D. Manuel I selected Vasco da Gama to command his India fleet. The Chaplain of the Fleet and Father Confessor was Pedro de Covilha, who had been the Prior of a monastery of the Order of Trinity at Lisbon. Since the discovery of the manuscript copy in 1834, the most highly debated topic related to this Journal has focused around the question of who wrote this unique document on Vasco da Gama's first voyage to India. Two candidates have traditionally been identified as the possible author of the manuscript: Alvaro Velho and Joao de Sa. Ravenstein provided translations of contemporary letters from D. Manuel and Girolamo Sernigi on the voyage.

Keywords: 1497 India fleet; Alvaro Velho; D. Manuel I; Ernst Georg Ravenstein; Joao de Sa; Lisbon; Pedro de Covilha; seminal voyage; Vasco da Gama



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