18.07.

1488: Alvise Cadamosto – Venetian explorer of Africa and Slave Trader

1488: Alvise Cadamosto – Venetian explorer of Africa and Slave Trader
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ Map of the Gambia River and Surrounding Area, 1732

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 18 July 1488
  • Alvise Cadamosto, born in Venice, became famous for his voyages in the Portuguese service. He explored the area of the African country of Guinea-Bissau, and served as Venetian governor in Kotor on the Adriatic coast.

This day in 1488 marked the death of Alvise Cadamosto, who became famous for his voyages in the Portuguese service to Africa. 

His voyages were very important because he discovered the maritime route to India and other parts of Asia.

Alvise Cadamosto was born in Venice, probably in 1432, i.e. twenty years before the famous Christopher Columbus (born in Genoa). He was allegedly born in palace Ca ‘da Mosto. As a young man, he travelled across the Mediterranean Sea. He even met the famous Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator (famous for his scientific voyages). He became  Alvise’s employer and sent him on his first scientific voyage.

His first voyage in Portuguese service occurred in 1455. He sailed near the Canary Islands and continued along the African coast to the south. He came to the mouth of the Senegal River, and bought black African slaves in exchange for horses and wooden products.

During his second voyage, he sailed towards River Gambia – the final destination of his previous trip. He even saw the islands which are part of the country known as Cape Verde. He continued towards the area of today’s Guinea-Bissau. It seems that his ship penetrated much deeper than any other Portuguese ship at the time.

After the death of his employer, Alvise returned to Venice. He served as Venetian governor in Kotor on the Adriatic coast. He died in Italy in 1488.

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