Breaking More Naan with DelhiIssue: Nov-Dec 2007
FIVE CENTURIES ago the lure of doing business in India was so strong that a generation of bold and adventurous Portuguese navigators and sailors changed the map of the world in order to get there. Vasco da Gama and his compatriots discovered the sea path around Africa just to get access to Indian spices and peppers. Half his fleet and less than half his men returned to Lisbon from that first journey in 1499, but the world was transformed by the adventure. Portugal took control of the Arabian Sea from the likes of the Ottomans, creating the first modern European colonial empire with trading stations and forts from Goa to Muscat to Macau. Not only were the African continent and the Indian subcontinent opened to Europeans for the first time, but along the way an obscure Italian sea captain found America by mistake while looking in the wrong direction for a shorter way to India.