|The Discovery of New Worlds|
|by M. B. Synge|
|Book II of the Story of the World series. Relates the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the middle ages in Europe, the rise of Islam and the Crusades, and finally the age of exploration, and the establishment of trade with the Far East. The book concludes with the discoveries of Columbus and the Spanish settlements in the New World. Ages 10-18 |
"Where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,
Showers on her kings barbaric pearls and gold."
WHILE Vasco da Gama was on his way back from India to Portugal, another expedition left Lisbon under a man who was
destined to be one of the wisest and justest of Portuguese rulers in
 that far-off country. Affonso d'Albuquerque was brought up at the Court of the King of Portugal, and taught
with the king's own sons. He had shown himself fearless in battle, chivalrous in action, and wise in times of
peace. It was natural, therefore, that he should be selected to take charge of three ships—bound, as all ships
from Portugal were bound at this time, for the coast of India.
He soon returned from a successful voyage to lay before the king his idea of closing other routes to this rich
country of India, so that Portugal alone could get its treasure. Up to this time ships manned by the Moors and
Arabs had taken the treasure to Ormuz, a rich city on the Persian Gulf, whence it was taken to the mouth of the
Euphrates, across Asia Minor on caravans to the coast, and shipped thus to Europe. Or it was taken by ship to
Suez, thence by caravan to Cairo, and down the Nile to Alexandria, whence ships from Venice distributed it to
"This must be stopped," said Albuquerque, jealous for his country's wealth.
And with this object in view he again started for the East. He sailed to Ormuz, "the richest jewel set in the
ring of the world," as the old writer called it, and grasped the importance of getting the town to stop the
trade between India and Europe that way. Having arranged matters to his satisfaction with the King of Ormuz,
and planned a Portuguese fort, he cruised about on
 the shores of Arabia, establishing the power of Portugal everywhere.
Then he sailed to India, where by royal orders he was made Governor.
One of his first acts was the capture of the town of Goa, to the north of Calicut, for the commercial capital
of the Portuguese in India. The island of Goa was formed by the mouths of two rivers, which fitted it easily
for defence. There was safe anchorage, and it had long been visited by the merchants of many nations. The
capture of Goa was not easy, but Albuquerque was determined to take it, and finally did so. He then forbade the
towns of Calicut and others to buy and sell, so that Goa—"Golden Goa" as she was called—became one of the most
splendid and wealthy cities on the face of the earth for the next hundred years. Ships laden with the wealth of
India sailed from Goa to Lisbon, and no one was allowed to trade with India except by leave of the Portuguese
at this time.
On the east coast of Africa to-day we have names surviving from these times. Algoa Bay—to Goa—was a
stopping-place for ships journeying to this great Indian island of Goa; while Delagoa Bay, farther north and
still belonging to the Portuguese, was the other stopping-place back from Goa, as its name implies.
Early in the year 1513 Albuquerque sailed out of the harbour of Goa, bound for the Red Sea, with a fleet of
 Now the Arabs living on the shores of the Red Sea greatly resented the Portuguese taking away their trade with
India, and when they heard that the fleet was already sailing for Aden, a town at the narrow straits leading
into the Red Sea, they lit fires on the hills beyond, to lure the ships to destruction. But the Portuguese
steered safely into harbour, and after an unsuccessful attempt to storm the city, set fire to the ships and
sailed on. Albuquerque explored the shores of the Red Sea, but did not reach Suez, the goal he had in view. It
is, however, an interesting point to be noted here, that the route from Europe to India that Albuquerque tried
to close is to-day the short highway for ships to the far East. For in the year 1869 the Suez canal was opened,
100 miles in length, which joined the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea.
Albuquerque now sailed back past Aden to the mouth of the Persian Gulf in order to reduce Ormuz. For the old
king was dead, and the Portuguese fortress was not finished. The great governor of India and conqueror of Goa
soon made his presence felt. Ormuz was conquered and the fortress completed. The fame of Albuquerque was now at
its height, but his health was broken.
Day by day he grew worse. Such was his fame that people from all over the country came to the fortress at Ormuz
to try and get a sight of him. If perchance he rode out on horseback, so great
 was the crowd that he could hardly go forward. At last he felt sure the end was nearing. He wished to reach
Goa, the city he had conquered, the city he loved.
So one day, early in November 1515, a ship sailed away from Ormuz bearing the dying man back to India. A deep
sorrow awaited him. He lived to learn that the king had appointed another governor to succeed him.
"In bad repute with men because of the king, and in bad repute with the king because of men," cried the dying
man, holding up his hands. "It were well that I were gone."
Outside Goa, the great capital of Indian commerce, he died; and so great was the crying and weeping on all
sides, that it seemed as if "the very river of God was being poured out," cried the old chronicler.
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