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The First Global Empire | History Today

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In the dying years of the 15th century Portugal surprised the world. Vasco de Gama's landfall on the Indian Coast in May 1498 was so unexpected that it strained credibility. A garbled rumour reached the Venetian diarist Girolamo Priuli that 'three caravels belonging to the king of Portugal have arrived at Aden and Calicut in India and that they have been sent to find out about the spice islands and that their captain is Columbus'. His initial response was a mixture of shock and disbelief: 'This news affects me greatly, if it's true', he wrote. 'However I don't give credence...
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