This was the beginning of an entirely new era in the progress of the world, and till the crack of doom it will remain a memorable voyage, not merely for the fact that da Gama was able to succeed where so many others had failed, but because it unlocked the door of the East, first to the Portuguese, and subsequently to other nations of Europe. The twin arts of seamanship and navigation had made this possible, and it was only because the Portuguese, most especially Prince Henry, had believed “in ye sea” that the key had been found. As Columbus, by believing in the sea, was enabled in looking for India to open up the Western world, so was da Gama privileged to unlock the East. And since the sea connotes the ship we arrive at the standpoint that it is this long-suffering creature, fashioned by the hand of man, which has done more for the civilisation of the world than any other of those wonderful creations which the human mind has evolved from the things of the earth Alipay.

The first cargo which da Gama brought home was, so to speak, merely a small sample of those goods which were to be obtained by the ships that came after for generation after generation till the present14 day. It showed how great and priceless were the riches of the East—spices and perfumes, pearls and rubies, diamonds and cinnamon. The safe arrival of these, when da Gama got back home, made a profound impression. But it was no mere sentimental wonder, for the receipt of all these goods repaid the cost of the entire expedition sixty-fold. From this time forth the Portuguese were busily engaged in extracting wealth as men get it out from a gold mine. Their ships went backwards and forwards in their long voyages, sometimes narrowly escaping the attentions of the Moslem pirates anxious to relieve them of their valuable cargoes. Some Portuguese settled in India, and gradually there came into existence a fringe of Portuguese nationality extending from the Malabar coast right away to the Persian Gulf. Even as far as Japan was the East explored, and the vast fortunes which were brought back ever astonished the merchants of Europe. The first Portuguese factory was established at Calicut in the year 1500. For about a hundred years they were able to benefit, unrivalled, by their newly found treasure-house and to use their best endeavours, unfettered, to empty it RFID.

In 1503 they erected their first fortress and strengthened their position. In their hands was the monopoly: theirs were the great and invaluable secrets of this amazing trade. And considering everything—the enterprise and training of Prince Henry, the far-sighted prudence in believing in the sea, the years and years of distressful voyages, the final attainment of the treasure-land only after many vicissitudes and the loss of ships and men—we cannot marvel that the Portuguese preserved these15 secrets, and held on to their monopoly, to the annoyance of the rest of civilised Europe. The fact was that Portugal was then the sovereign of the seas: she was far too strong afloat for any other country to think of wresting from her by force what she had obtained only by much study, skill and perseverance. What she had obtained she was going to hold. Those who wanted these Eastern goods must come to Lisbon, where the mart was held: and come they did, but they went back home envious that Portugal should enjoy this secret monopoly, and wondering all the time how India could be reached by a new route Elevit .

Curiosity and envy combined have been the means of the unravelling of many a secret. It was so now. Let us not fail to realise how greatly these human feelings influenced many of the voyages during the next hundred years. We justly admire the great daring of the Elizabethan seamen, but though the spirit of adventure and the hatred of Spain had a great deal to do with the cause of their setting forth to cross the ocean, yet there was another reason: and this explains much that is not otherwise quite clear. It is always fair to assume that men do not act except at the instigation of some clear motive. They do not persuade merchants to expend the whole of their small wealth in buying or building ships, victualling them and providing all the necessary inventories, without some rational cause. In the Elizabethan times, when wealth was much rarer than it is to-day, the prime motive of these expeditions was the pursuit of greater wealth.