History & Culture

Vasco da Gama’s India journal in world’s greatest documents

The hand written journal of Vasco da Gama’s pioneering voyage to India, during the 15th century, has been included in the list of world’s most prestigious documents by the UNESCO.

The journal handwritten by an anonymous eyewitness who accompanied the Portuguese explorer in his journey has now been included in the Memory of World Register.

It describes mishaps and success of the voyage and includes the first known list of Portuguese words and its correspondence into the Calicut language.

According to UNESCO, the document written by a participant observer, allows readers of today to experience and imagine every step being described, Portuguese American Journal reported.

“For this reason, it can be considered a literary work that is exciting and a pleasure to read,” UNESCO said.

Da Gama’s voyage to India in the 15th century is considered the first globalisation enterprise in world. The document provides testimony of this historic expedition by a European who has changed the course of history, the report said.

“This manuscript is the only known contemporary copy of the report of the first voyage of Vasco da Gama to India, who journey apart from being one of the greatest pieces of European seamanship of that time, acted as a catalyst for a series of events that would change the course of history,” UNESCO stated.

The narrative describes situations of danger, treasons, diseases, contact with people on shore, the arrival of the Portuguese, gifts exchanged and war equipment.

It also describes animals, trees and pant, birds, hostages, tiles and professions, food, musical and nautical instruments, precious stones, villages, difficult navigation situations and much more, the report said.

Established by UNESCO in 1992, the Memory of World Register project includes a total of 299 documents and collections from five continents.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 5:26:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/vasco-da-gamas-india-journal-in-worlds-greatest-documents/article4833946.ece

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