Estêvão da Gama

Estêvão da Gama

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Estêvão da Gama was the Portuguese
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 governor of Portuguese Gold Coast
Portuguese Gold Coast
The Portuguese Gold Coast was a Portuguese colony on the West African Gold Coast on the Gulf of Guinea.-History:The Portuguese established the following settlements on the Gold Coast from January 21, 1482:...

 (1529–15??) and Portuguese India
Portuguese India
The Portuguese Viceroyalty of India , later the Portuguese State of India , was the aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India.The government started in 1505, six years after the discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, with the nomination of the first Viceroy Francisco de...

 (1540–1542). He was the second son of Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

 and brother of Cristóvão da Gama
Cristovão da Gama
Cristóvão da Gama was a Portuguese soldier, who led a Portuguese army of 400 musketeers on a crusade in Ethiopia and Somalia against the far larger Somali Muslim army of Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi aided by the Ottoman Empire...

, and named after his paternal grandfather Estêvão da Gama
Estêvão da Gama (15th century)
Estêvão da Gama was a wealthy Portuguese knight of the fifteenth century, best known as the father of explorer Vasco da Gama....


He commanded the fleet that entered the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

, with the intent of attacking the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 fleet in its harbor at Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

, leaving Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 December 31 1540 and reaching Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

 January 27, 1541. The fleet reached Massawa
Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa (Ge'ez ምጽዋዕ , formerly ባጽዕ is a city on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea. An important port for many centuries, it was ruled by a succession of polities, including the Axumite Empire, the Umayyad Caliphate,...

 February 12, where Gama left a number of ships and continued north. Reaching Suez, he discovered that the Ottomans had long had intelligence of his raid, and foiled his attempt to burn their beached ships. Gama was forced to retrace his steps to Massawa, although pausing to attack the port of El-Tor
El-Tor , also transliterated as Al-Tur and At-Tur and known as Tur Sinai, formerly Raithu, is the capital of South Sinai Governorate of Egypt, located at the Sinai Peninsula...

 on the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...


Once back at Massawa Gama found the men he had left were restless and convinced by the self-described patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

 João Bermudes that they should provide military assistance to the beleaguered Emperor of Ethiopia
Emperor of Ethiopia
The Emperor of Ethiopia was the hereditary ruler of Ethiopia until the abolition of the monarchy in 1974. The Emperor was the head of state and head of government, with ultimate executive, judicial and legislative power in that country...

. Gama submitted to their demands, and landed 400 men, 130 military slaves, and sufficient supplies for them at Massawa and the nearby port of Arqiqo under the charge of his brother Cristóvão, before departing for India July 9.

Cultural depictions

"Estêvão da Gama" appears as a character in a Malayalam film titled Urumi
Urumi (film)
Urumi is a 2011 Malayalam historical-fantasy film directed and co-produced by Santosh Sivan and written by Shankar Ramakrishnan. It stars Prithviraj, who was also one of the producers of the film, as Chirakkal Kelu Nayanar, Prabhu Deva as Vavvali, Robin Pratt as Vasco da Gama, Alexx ONell as...

. The film is based on a fictional story about a young Indian who tried to kill Vasco da Gama. The movie was released on 31 March 2011.

External links