Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered off the coast of Oman

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Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered off the coast of Oman

March 16, 2016 - 15:41
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Vasco da Gama was the first person to sail directly from Europe to India. Historians hope discovery could provide treasure trove of new information.

Portuguese ship wrecked on a remote island in the Sultanate of Oman in 1503 is the earliest ship of discovery to be found and scientifically investigated by archaeologists

asco da Gama lands at Calicut, May 20, 1498.

Vasco da Gama was the first European to reach India by sea, linking Europe and Asia for the first time by ocean route, as well as linking the Atlantic and the Indian oceans entirely and definitively, and in this way, the West and the Orient. This was accomplished on his first voyage to India (1497–1499)

The ship, which sank in a storm in May 1503 off the coast of Al Hallaniyah island in Oman's Dhofar region, is the earliest ship from Europe's Age of Discovery ever to be found and scientfically investigated by a team of archaeologists and other experts.

Commanded by Vicente Sodré, da Gama’s maternal uncle, the Portuguese East Indiaman is believed to have been one of two ships left behind during da Gama's second voyage to India to disrupt trade between India and the Red Sea.

The wreck site was initially discovered by a team from Blue Water Discoveries Ltd (BWD), based in West Sussex, England in 1998 in an expedition to mark the 500th anniversary of da Gama’s discovery of a direct sea route to India.

The first full-scale archaeological survey and excavation of the wreck by Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MHC) didn't begin until 2013, with two more in 2014 and 2015.

The ship pre-dates the next oldest Iberian shipwreck by 30-50 years, and so it is hoped it will provide new information about maritime trade and warfare during the turn of the 16th century.

“The armaments that the site has produced are already providing us with information about the martial nature of these voyages and the site has the potential to tell us much more about the men and ships that undertook these adventures and the peoples that they encountered,” The project’s archaeological director, Dave Parham, of Bournemouth University told the Independent.

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