Vasco Da Gama Before The Zamorin In Calicut, 1909 Postcard

A 1909 postcard showing Vasco Da Gama Before The Zamorin in Calicut (Kozhikode). Pepper a valuable commodity in ancient times, it was considered to be worth its weight in gold. But its source was kept a tight secret for centuries. Although the maritime pepper route to Calicut on the Malabar coast existed from ancient times it was lost in the middle ages.

But rediscovered by the Portuguese from pieces of information extracted from spice traders. During the reign of King Immanuel, Vasco Da Gama discovered the new maritime route to India. He landed at Calicut now Kozhikode in 1498. On their arrival they were well received by the Zamorin with great hospitality. See my post Page From Rare 1713 Latin Book on Calicut.

Arrangements were made for the safety and comfort of the newcomers. Although Zamorin was happy to receive the guests but turned down a request to open a factory. The unyielding attitude of the ruler and the hostility of the Arab traders convinced the Portuguese captain to look elsewhere. At the invitation of the Kolathirir Raja the Portuguese set sail for the nearby Kingdom of Cannanore or Kannur.

The Raja offered all facilities for future trade and granted permission to load their ships with spices from Kannur. Vasco Da Gama returned to his country in 1499 with a shipment of pepper and other spices. The profits of the expedition amounted to a huge sixty times its cost. This induced King Immanuel to send larger expeditions to India. See also my post Fort Cochin & City Antique Map Plan Of 1761.

Did you know- huge Chinese junks (ships) visited Calicut regularly between 1405 and 1430 alone. Admiral Zheng He the famed Chinese Admiral visited no less than seven times with up to 250 ships with a strength of 28,000 men.

From the collection- Chinese Boats On The Malabar Coast – Old Print 1746., Antique Painting of Madras Fort St George.,  Distant View of Parvati Hill & Lake Pune – Old 1860 Photo., View Of Bombay From Rajabai Clock Tower – Vintage Postcard., German Map Bombay With Waffen SS Stamp & Seal