Portuguese American Journal

History – The Journal of Vasco da Gama becomes Memory of World Register – UNESCO

On Thursday, June 18, UNESCO has included the Journal of the Voyage of Vasco da Gama to India in the Memory of World Register.

The journal was handwritten by an anonymous eyewitness who accompanied Da Gama in his pioneer journey. It describes mishaps and success of the voyage and includes the first known list of Portuguese words and its correspondence into the Calicut language.

According to UNESCO, the document written by a participant observer, allows readers of today to experience and imagine every step being described. “For this reason, it can be considered a literary work that is exiting and a pleasure to read,” UNESCO said.

Da Gama’s voyage to India in the 15th century is considered the first globalization enterprise in world. The document provides testimony of this historic pioneer expedition by a European who has changed the course of history.

As UNESCO has stated, “This manuscript is the only known contemporary copy of the report of the first voyage of Vasco da Gama to India, who journey apart from being one of the greatest pieces of European seamanship of that time, acted as a catalyst for a series of events that would change the course of history.”

The  narrative describes situations of danger, treasons, diseases, contact with people on shore, the arrival of the Portuguese, gifts exchanged, war equipment, animals, trees and pant, birds, hostages, tiles and professions, food, musical and nautical instruments, precious stones, villages, difficult navigation situations and much more.

Established by UNESCO in 1992, the Memory of World Register project includes a total of 299 documents and collections from five continents.


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