Vasco da Gama never landed at Kappad: MGS

Historians M.G.S. Narayanan and M.R. Raghava Warrier, and moderator P. Abdul Latheef at a session on ‘Re-reading Kerala history’ at the Kerala Literature Festival in the city on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: K_RAGESH;K_RAGESH -

Portuguese traveller Vasco da Gama did not land at Kappad beach as has been described in history books, historian M.G.S. Narayanan has said.

At a session on ‘Re-reading Kerala history’ at the Kerala Literature Festival here on Sunday, he said according to the chronicles of courtiers of Portuguese kings, such an incident had never happened.

“No one has tried to clear that misconception. The government has even installed a memorial stone at the Kappad beach. Actually Gama landed at Panthalayini near Kollam in the district because there was a port there and Kozhikode did not have one. It does not have a port even now.”

Gama sailed from Lisbon in Portugal, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, which was earlier called the Cape of Storms, and reached a country on the east coast of Africa. The king there arranged an Arab guide, who was familiar with the route to India, to help Gama.

“Because of the stormy weather, the guide lost his way but reached somewhere away from Calicut. But when they looked at the shore, they saw some light there and thought it was Calicut,” Mr. Narayanan said. Later, some rowers noticed the ship and spoke to the sailors. They offered to connect them to the Zamorin. “But, the Zamorin was then at Ponnani, which was the second capital of Calicut. A couple of days later, the Portuguese team was allowed to land at Panthalayini near Kollam,” he said.

However, when the Portuguese sought a monopoly on pepper trade, the Zamorin denied it as it was handled by Muslims. Then the Portuguese approached the Kingdom of Cochin and set up shop there. But, later, they shifted to Goa because of the proximity to the Vijayanagara Empire, Mr. Narayanan said.

Historian M.R. Raghava Warrier, who also spoke at the session, pointed out that the city of Calicut existed even before the reign of the Zamorin started. “It is believed that the last Cheraman Perumal donated land to the founders of the Zamorin dynasty. One of the main occupations was the sale of salt as the city is close to the sea,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 11:27:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/Vasco-da-Gama-never-landed-at-Kappad-MGS/article17198107.ece

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