sines : Portugal
Sines is the first (and largest) port in Portugal and is famous for being the birthplace of Vasco da Gama.
Until the early 1970s, Sines was a sheltered fishing village with a long commercial history of relations with cities in the Mediterranean; its large marina, along a breakwater, is the only marina between Setúbal and the Algarve, while the deep-sea port, commercial fishery and industrial depot have driven the economy of this area.
In 1970, the government of Marcello Caetano initiated the grande industrial-port complex that would, along with the 1974 Revolution, energize the local economy. Consequently, the population exploded, while industry and commerce diversified, causing their own impacts.
In the late 1970s, the arrival of immigrants and refugees from the Portuguese overseas provinces brought new social dynamics, which were later supplemented by foreign workers employed in the port and petrochemical industry.
A Day in history : May 20 1498
Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India was significant and opened the way for an age of global imperialism and for the Portuguese to establish a long-lasting colonial empire in Asia.
Traveling the ocean route allowed the Portuguese to avoid sailing across the highly disputed Mediterranean and traversing the dangerous Arabian Peninsula. The sum of the distances covered in the outward and return voyages made this expedition the longest ocean voyage ever made until then, far longer than a full voyage around the world by way of the Equator.
After decades of sailors trying to reach the Indies, with thousands of lives and dozens of vessels lost in shipwrecks and attacks, da Gama landed in Calicut on May 20th, 1498.
Unopposed access to the Indian spice routes boosted the economy of the Portuguese Empire, which was previously based along northern and coastal West Africa. The spices obtained from Southeast Asia were primarily pepper and cinnamon at first, but soon included other products, all new to Europe. Portugal maintained a commercial monopoly of these commodities for several decades. It would be a century later before other European powers such as the Netherlands and England, followed by France and Denmark, were able to challenge Portugal's monopoly and naval supremacy in the Cape Route.
Da Gama led two of the Portuguese armadas destined for India, the first and the fourth. The latter was the largest and departed for India four years after his return from the first one. For his contributions, Da Gama was appointed the Governor of India in 1524, under the title of Viceroy, and given the newly created County of Vidigueira in 1519.
Vasco da Gama remains a leading figure in the history of exploration. Numerous homages have been made worldwide to celebrate his explorations and accomplishments. The Portuguese national epic, Os Lusíadas, was written in his honour. His first trip to India is widely considered a milestone in world history, as it marked the beginning of a sea-based phase of global multiculturalism.
In March 2016, researchers announced that thousands of artifacts and vessel remains had been recovered from the ship Esmeralda, one of Da Gama's armada, found off the coast of Oman.
- Geo-Historical Text: Wikipedia
- Calculations: WolframAlpha Pro
- Basemap Satellite Imagery: ESRI ArcGIS
Center Overlay Source Image: NASA Johnson