Return trip.

On the advice of the pilots, Gama waited for the northeast monsoon and didn’t set off on the return trip until December 1498. With a favorable driving wind, they sailed quickly across the Indian Ocean and on January 8 they happily reached the port of Melinde. The reception there was again friendly and there was plenty of food. But a lot of the crew had died on the way. According to other information, they had already gone to sea a couple of months earlier, calms had held back the fleet, so that diseases started to rage. There were hardly any people left that could handle sailing properly.

On the return journey, all the landmarks were recorded exactly in memory, so that the following fleets could sail more safely. On February 2nd, the last coat of arms statue was erected on an island near Mozambique and we happily passed the dreaded Cape of Good Hope. In cooler waters, the sick recovered, but at the equator, on the west coast of Africa, the diseases started again. Many of the exhausted sailors died. The admiral’s brother, Paulo da Gama, died on one of the islands of the Azores, where the fleet had gone to repair its damage. Through Viivyk, information arrived about the success of the trip to Lisbon, before Gama could get there. The king was so pleased with the news that he gave good gifts to the person who brought it. When Vasco da Gama finally arrived at the mouth of the Tajo, the king sent the highest officials to receive him, elevated him to the nobility and named him »Admiral of the Indian Sea». Gama was also given the right to be a partner in the spice trade for a fixed amount every year, apart from which he received quite a monetary gift and 10 quintals of pepper. The ship’s men also received generous gifts of spices, which had the same value as money. Monasteries and churches were remembered and the king was present at all church celebrations that were celebrated due to this landmark event.

Through Vasco da Gama’s expedition, Henrik Purjehtija’s persistent efforts had finally borne fruit. Portuguese shipping and trade had received a huge boost. In terms of courage, Vasco da Gama’s attempt cannot be compared to the first voyage of Columbus, who in one go solved a completely unknown task and brought a world, whose existence was not even imagined until then, into the Western world. Vasco da Gama sailed a channel that had already been explored to the smallest extent and had been clarified for its partners, Columbus, on the other hand, opened a completely new way, the possibility of which most people had doubted and considered fornication. In addition, Gama’s position with his ships was much more secure than that of Columbus. Gama enjoyed the full confidence and support of his ruler, the men who were involved in the task were his countrymen, it was much easier to maintain discipline on ships, whereas Columbus was a stranger who rose from a lowly position, whose orders were difficult for the proud Spaniards to submit to. A certain victory awaited Gama on the way, because he arrived well-equipped and able to buy in the old, established trade areas, in contrast, Columbus arrived in countries where, apart from gold, so far there was no immediate benefit that would have compensated the costs of the trip. But the sailing difficulties that Vasco da Gama had to overcome were much greater than what Columbus encountered on his journey. Columbus sailed across the Atlantic on the northeast trade wind, the most ideal driving fair-weather wind that exists on Earth, and only experienced more difficult wind conditions on the way back. Vasco da Gama’s sailing route was more than twice as long and he had to sail from one area of ​​the atmosphere to another many times and fight against the most difficult wind conditions and sea currents. The more amazing thing is that he brought back both his ship and his cargo intact. It is true that some authors think that he lost one of his ships on the way back near Melinde, but the most reliable authors do not mention anything about it.

of the older stages of India.

Before we continue the story of the far-reaching enterprises of the Portuguese, the beginning of which was Vasco da Gama’s expedition, we must take a look at the stages of the wonderland that had attracted the Western countries for so long and now finally opened up to them.

How old Indian culture is, it cannot be said. We have seen that already in the times of ancient Babylonia and Eläm, trade was carried out there. The Hindus themselves think that their history began as early as three thousand years before the beginning of our era with the incidents of the great historical poem called Mahabharata, but it is certainly impossible to decide what is true and what is false in the heroic poem. But even older than the Aryan people of which this epic poem sings was the civilization of India. Even before the arrival of the ancestors of the Hindus, there were developed conditions that attracted invaders. That older nation was darker-skinned, which is why the Arians despised it; it is assumed that the present-day Dravidian peoples, who still occupy the southern part of Ancient India, are the descendants of India’s oldest civilized people.

The stages of the early Aryan settlement in Punjab are described in a poem called the Rigveda. Hindus consider the Rigveda to be 3001 years old; European scholars have concluded from astronomical facts that it was born around 1400 AD. The oldest hymns describe the Aryans on the northwestern border of India, just ready to go on a conquest. They show us the people on the banks of the Indus, divided into tribes, sometimes at war with each other, sometimes in alliance against the “black-skinned” inhabitants of the country. Castilaitos was still unknown at the time. The father of the family was the priest of his family, the chief priest of the tribe. The chief was elected. A woman was in good standing, so that some of the most beautiful hymns in the Rigveda were written by women and queens. Marriage was considered sacred, together husband and wife approached God with prayers, both had administrative power in the house. The burning of widows was then still unknown; the verses of the Rigveda in which the Brahmanas defend this practice mean the exact opposite.

The Aryan tribes of the Vedas knew most of the metals. Among them were ironsmiths, coppersmiths, goldsmiths, carpenters, barbers and other professions. They fought from chariots and used horses in war, but not yet elephants. In India they learned to cultivate the land, live in villages and cities, but at the same time they still walked around with their cattle, because the cattle were still their best possessions. They knew how to build ships, perhaps large current vessels, and seem to have known the sea. Unlike today’s Hindus, the old Aryans ate meat, made a strong drink fermented from the soma plant, and sacrificed it to the gods as well. Forced by their tribesmen who came after them, the Aryans gradually spread further eastward, driving out the black-skinned natives before them, or subjugating them.

Around the beginning of the sixth century before our era, northern India down to the Narbada river was divided into sixteen independent Aryan states, some of which were tribal republics, others had rulers. The greatest of them was Kosala, in the regions of present-day Oudh. Later Magadha, now Behar, at the mouth of the Ganges rose even more powerful than it. The history of these early kingdoms was very warlike and largely legendary. Toward the east their territories seem to have extended to the regions where the Ganges turns towards the south. The most important cities were Ayoodhya and later Sraavasti, which was one of the six great cities of India at the time of the Buddha. Baranasi, now Benares, was Megasthenes’ [trans. Country and the finder. I, p. 103] while visiting India four cubits in circumference, but built of wood. It was around this time that the caste system was born. At first there were only four castes, namely, the “Brahmanas,” who were the spiritual leaders of the people, the “Kshatriyas,” or chiefs, who believed themselves to be descended from the first leaders, the “Vaisyas,” or peasants, and the despised “Sudras,” wood-hewers, and water-carriers, who were not Aryans. Even lower than these were several indigenous tribes and slaves. Later, the number of castes increased. It is thought that the Indians already in the seventh century BC. having noticed the advantages of the monsoon winds and used them to sail their ships all the way to Babylon to trade. There they got acquainted with the Semitic alphabet, brought it with them and adapted it to the needs of their own language, after which it spread from India to Burma, Siam and Ceylon. namely, the “Brahmanas,” who were the spiritual leaders of the people, the “Kshatriyas,” or chiefs, who thought themselves descended from the first leaders, the “Vaisyas,” or peasants, and the despised “Sudras,” wood-hewers and water-carriers, who were not Aryans. Even lower than these were several indigenous tribes and slaves. Later, the number of castes increased. It is thought that the Indians already in the seventh century BC. having noticed the advantages of the monsoon winds and used them to sail their ships all the way to Babylon to trade. There they got acquainted with the Semitic alphabet, brought it with them and adapted it to the needs of their own language, after which it spread from India to Burma, Siam and Ceylon. namely, the “Brahmanas,” who were the spiritual leaders of the people, the “Kshatriyas,” or chiefs, who thought themselves descended from the first leaders, the “Vaisyas,” or peasants, and the despised “Sudras,” wood-hewers and water-carriers, who were not Aryans. Even lower than these were several indigenous tribes and slaves. Later, the number of castes increased. It is thought that the Indians already in the seventh century BC. having noticed the advantages of the monsoon winds and used them to sail their ships all the way to Babylon to trade. There they got acquainted with the Semitic alphabet, brought it with them and adapted it to the needs of their own language, after which it spread from India to Burma, Siam and Ceylon. who thought they were descended from the first leaders, the “Vaisyas,” or peasants, and the despised “Sudras,” wood-hewers and water-carriers, who were not Aryans. Even lower than these were several indigenous tribes and slaves. Later, the number of castes increased. It is thought that the Indians already in the seventh century BC. having noticed the advantages of the monsoon winds and used them to sail their ships all the way to Babylon to trade. There they got acquainted with the Semitic alphabet, brought it with them and adapted it to the needs of their own language, after which it spread from India to Burma, Siam and Ceylon. who thought they were descended from the first leaders, the “Vaisyas,” or peasants, and the despised “Sudras,” wood-hewers and water-carriers, who were not Aryans. Even lower than these were several indigenous tribes and slaves. Later, the number of castes increased. It is thought that the Indians already in the seventh century BC. having noticed the advantages of the monsoon winds and used them to sail their ships all the way to Babylon to trade. There they got acquainted with the Semitic alphabet, brought it with them and adapted it to the needs of their own language, after which it spread from India to Burma, Siam and Ceylon. Even lower than these were several indigenous tribes and slaves. Later, the number of castes increased. It is thought that the Indians already in the seventh century BC. having noticed the advantages of the monsoon winds and used them to sail their ships all the way to Babylon to trade. There they got acquainted with the Semitic alphabet, brought it with them and adapted it to the needs of their own language, after which it spread from India to Burma, Siam and Ceylon. Even lower than these were several indigenous tribes and slaves. Later, the number of castes increased. It is thought that the Indians already in the seventh century BC. having noticed the advantages of the monsoon winds and used them to sail their ships all the way to Babylon to trade. There they got acquainted with the Semitic alphabet, brought it with them and adapted it to the needs of their own language, after which it spread from India to Burma, Siam and Ceylon.

Over the centuries, the Brahmin religion had decayed and lost its former nobility and spirituality. In the sixth century BC arose the religious reformer, Gautama, a king’s son from the Himalayan mountain valleys, who renounced power and glory and, after long meditation and spiritual struggles, created the Buddha’s faith. This religion was a great advance from Brahmanism. It was based on human love, and through this it tremendously raised the conditions of those who were clinging to the Oriental oppressive power, not only in India, but also everywhere in the far east, all the way to Mongolia and Japan. The Buddha’s religion has therefore had an unimaginably great influence in the Eastern countries, for example, it in turn became attached to formality and decayed.

In a couple of centuries, Buddhism spread throughout India. Its most devout propagator was the noble humanist Asoka, ruler of Magadha or Behar. Asoka founded so many monasteries that his kingdom is still called the “Land of Monasteries” today. At the same time, he cleansed the religion of the heresies that had begun to sprout in it, and had the basic truths of the religion inscribed on statues, caves and rocks in different parts of the country. Thirty-five engravings have survived out of the many tens of thousands that he drew on stone in different parts of the country. At the same time, Asoka took good care of the material livelihood of his subjects, wells were dug, trees were planted next to the roads, and medical care was taken care of both in Asoka’s own kingdom and in conquered countries. Officials were appointed to nurture the purity of family life and for the youth, even women were taught. Asoka declared it the duty of the state to propagate religion by peaceful means. The work he compiled on the Buddha’s doctrine has been the actual canon of southern Buddhists for two thousand years.

At the same time as Buddhism, another similar religion arose, Jainism, today best known for its marvelously elaborate old temples.

However, Buddhism could not completely penetrate the older Brahman religion, but they lived side by side for more than a millennium, and in the first millennium of our era, Brahmanism again began to regain the area it had lost. Both religions merged in the ninth century AD. into Hinduism, which was a backward step from both and which still prevails in India today; the word primarily means religion, not nationality.

[Buddhism became the dominant religion in China and through it the Chinese began to regard India as their «holy land», just as the Christians regard Palestine. Many pilgrims from China visited important places in India in the fifth and following centuries AD. Prominent monks wrote valuable accounts of their trips. The Chinese emperor Kaotsung compiled them into a large book, writing a preface to it himself, but only parts have survived. The most famous of these travelers were Fahier and Hsyantsang, whose written works are important sources for knowing the conditions in India at that time. They both passed through the oases of Tarim on their outward journey, the former returning by sea, the latter through the Pamirs, with a large collection of Buddhist scriptures.]

The external history of India begins in 327 AD, when Alexander the Great invaded Punjab. However, the power of the Greek conqueror was not long-lived, because the mighty Magadha kingdom was born in India itself at that time, which was ruled by Tsharigdragupta. This Seleucus made with Nikalor the treaty before mentioned (I, p. 103), by which, in return for a few hundred military elephants, he obtained possession of the whole of the Punjab and Seleucus’s daughter as a spouse. The Greek Megasthenes stayed at his court, from whose account the first reliable western information about the Ganges valley has been obtained. At the same time, the Greeks had a considerable influence on Indian science and art. The Brahmins learned astronomy from them, and the Greek influence was great, especially on sculpture and building models. Greek facial features e.g.

Tshangdragupta was one of the greatest rulers of India. His army consisted of 600,000 men, 30,000 horsemen, 36,000 elephant drivers and 24,000 chariot drivers. From the description of Megasthenes, he is the best known of the earliest rulers of India. Tshangdragupta’s grandson was the above-mentioned Asoka, whose empire included most of Afghanistan, much of Baludshistan, Sind, Kashmir, Nepal, Bengal and the peninsula as far as the Palar river.

In the second century BC The Seleucids re-conquered parts of northwestern India, but later had to retreat again. After them, Iranian nomadic tribes, the Sakas, arrived as conquerors, whose supremacy in the fourth century AD. was defeated. After Sakkai came the Juets, a Turanian, perhaps Turkic people, who had previously been expelled from the steppes of Central Asia by the Hiungnu. After these, the country was invaded by the “White Huns”, whose empire, however, did not extend far and did not last long. So we can say that the political vigor of the old Aryan race was already broken in India then.

These foreign conquerors generally did not reach further south than the Ganges valley. In the Deccan, where the native Dravidian people lived as a closed group, even in the earliest times we have information about, there was flourishing agriculture, quite a few cities, and an original art of embroidery. There were several major kingdoms such as the Pandya Empire, Tshola and Kalinga on the Coromandel Coast. Malabar beach was already in 1176 AD. come under the influence of the Aryan Brahmanas; from that year the old countdown of the mentioned coast begins. Even on the Koroniandel coast, Brahmin religion and influence gradually began to gain a foothold later, although the Dravidian peoples retained their nationality. The rulers there gradually adopted Brahmanical concepts, primarily religion, and Sanskrit became known. Along with this influence came the Aryan elite to the Dravidian lands. South Indian kingdoms were often at war with Ceylon. But the dominant people of Ceylon became the Aryan Sinhalese, who brought there the Brahmanical faith, later converting to Buddhism.

New state formations and riots began in India when the Mohammedans began their invasion. They gradually took over almost all the kingdoms of the peninsula. The kingdoms of the last native princes in north-west India had gradually weakened to the extent that they could not oppose their western neighbours. Starting from Afghanistan, Mahmud Ghazni first made twenty raids into northwestern India, uncovering temples, destroying images of gods and taking immense treasures with him. Then North West India was annexed to his kingdom. Under the Ghor dynasty, Muhammadan rule was extended as far as the Ganges valley, and the center of the empire shifted to India; Delhi became the capital of this kingdom.

The Indian countries ruled by the Mohammedans then entirely separated from Afghanistan, and had at first a series of rulers, collectively called Mamelukes, because they were almost certainly ex-slaves, who by their energy had risen from a low position to influential positions. Their time was a time of constant oppression and unrest for the real Indians. In 1221, Djingis Khan made a raid into northwestern India, and in the following periods the Mongol raids were renewed even though they did not establish permanent kingdoms in India.

After the Mamluks, several Mohammedan families of Tatar origin ruled Northern India. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, a ruler of Tatar descent conquered almost all of East India up to Cape Comorin and forced the Hindu princes of South India to become his vassals. However, this rule did not last long. Little by little, one kingdom after another was freed again. Among the Tatar princes of Hindustan, Muhammet II Toghluq was the most learned and enlightened of all, but at the same time the most insane tyrant that ever sat on the throne. He lost every last man in a large army on a military expedition to Tibet, exacted immense taxes from his subjects and carried out manhunts among them for the amusement of his guests. Two or three times he ordered all the subjects of his capital to move out,

It is no wonder that this wanton oppression gave rise to perpetual revolts among a desperate people. His successor, on the other hand, was a most benevolent ruler, building roads and large irrigation plants and organizing the administration.

In the course of the next century the Mohammedan power in Hindustan declined from its decline, its territories became still less, and Timur Lenk, ruler of Samarkand, was able to sack Delhi without resistance. However, he did not take over the land permanently. But at the beginning of the sixteenth century, somehow at the same time as the Portuguese established their colonial power on the Malabar coast, a new conqueror, the powerful Baber, arrived in northwest India from Afghanistan. He conquered all of Hindustan and established a kingdom in northern India which became the most brilliant in India.

In the Deccan, after the above-mentioned conquest, many small independent kingdoms ruled by Mohammedans had arisen in place of the former Hindu kingdoms. Alongside them, however, a few Hindus remained in the southern part of the peninsula, from which Vidjayanagar rose to great glory for a century or so.

In the history of East India, a consistent feature is the atrophy, which the conquering peoples who came from colder climates were gradually subjected to in the hot climate. The Asiatic conquerors in early times, when they came to the Indus valley and from there through hard battles when they spread their power to the Ganges valley, were a much more powerful and noble people than the Hindus of today. Military fitness was great, social conditions were healthy and especially the position of women was more valuable, their religious concepts were purer and their intellectual creativity was incomparably greater than today. But gradually their faculties weakened, and in the end they could not hold their own in this rich country which they had subdued against the new powerful northern nations, who were drawn like a magnet to the wonderland of India. even though the conquerors from Central Asia could no longer change the country’s nationality, but they reshaped its political life and ruled it despite their small numbers, until they in turn declined and were defeated by the new conquerors. The empire that Baber founded in Hindustan when the Portuguese arrived in Indian waters, although it developed the rich lands of northern India to a previously unimaginable power and built their cities to a fairy-tale splendor, but a few centuries later it was also so decayed that it was easy for new conquerors to usurp the land. until they in turn decayed and were overthrown by new conquerors. The empire that Baber founded in Hindustan when the Portuguese arrived in Indian waters, although it developed the rich lands of northern India to a previously unimaginable power and built their cities to a fairy-tale splendor, but a few centuries later it was also so decayed that it was easy for new conquerors to usurp the land. until they in turn decayed and were overthrown by new conquerors. The empire that Baber founded in Hindustan when the Portuguese arrived in Indian waters, although it developed the rich lands of northern India to a previously unimaginable power and built their cities to a fairy-tale splendor, but a few centuries later it was also so decayed that it was easy for new conquerors to usurp the land.

In the previous one, we have followed the main features of India’s phases as far as they were subject to changes from the country’s side. From the sea side, this large peninsula, rich in nature, which had attracted merchants from all nations since ancient times, was not attacked by conquerors, but it received quite a lot of new cultural influences from the sea. We have already seen how the Phoenicians once decided on everything and sailed all the way to India. During the Roman rule, the trading cities of the Malabar coast were known to Greek sailors. But especially the Arabs engaged in lively maritime traffic in Indian waters and they were able to be there in peace from competition for so many centuries that they left permanent traces on the conditions of all coastal regions from the shores of East India to the most distant islands. This Mohammedan influence took place completely separately from the political changes described above and its importers were of a different people, for example religion connected them to the conquerors of North India. Many Arabs lived in the large coastal cities of Eastern India, and many of the country dwellers had converted to their faith under the influence of peaceful association. Mohammedanism gained even more strength in the Sunda Islands. In Java, it pushed out Hinduism, which had defeated Buddhism, so that today the population of Java is almost entirely of the Mohammedan faith, and the temples built by the Buddhists in their time, decorated with fabulously rich sculptures, may have been forgotten in the forests. In Sumatra, which was much less developed than Java, which had been well cultivated in the past, Mohammedanism also gained a foothold, and from these islands it conquered the peninsula of Malacca, where its center was Malacca, which had an exceptionally lively trade. From this excellent center, the Arabs extended their trade all the way to China and Japan.

The Portuguese aimed at trade, as did the Arabs, and therefore concentrated their operations on the same shores where the Arabs had gained a foothold. In contrast, the interior parts of India, although they maintained trade with the Portuguese, remained outside the sphere of influence of the Europeans for a few more centuries. This limitation had its geographical reasons. The narrow Malabar coast is separated from the interior of the Deccan by a high mountain range, by which it had preserved its independence against the interior, but was more easily governed from the sea side. This was naturally even more true of Malacca and the Malay Archipelago, as they were completely surrounded by the sea.

Indian Culture is undoubtedly ancient, even though we can no longer create a sure idea of ​​its quality in the most ancient times. The reason for this obscurity is not only the lack of written monuments, but also the fact that stone construction in India developed relatively late. All the oldest buildings were made of wood. Only in the third century BC. began to use stone as a building material. The rudiments of stone architecture were obtained from Persia after the expedition of Alexander the Great, but it encountered strange conditions in India to a great extent and therefore developed independently, continuing the combinations and forms of the former wooden architecture.

The oldest stone buildings in India are burial mounds, “topes”, whose style, despite the sculptures and decorations, is still clearly wooden. Somehow at the same time as the »tops» or (Ceylon) »dagobas», according to the estimate in the second century BC, the oldest Buddhist cave temples were built. The actual period of development of Indian stone architecture was the fourth and fifth centuries AD. The Dravidian peoples of South India formed it more and more independently in their vast temple palaces, the most striking feature of which are the tall towers, or »gopuras», tapering from layer to layer. The Dravidians especially developed rock temples, of which Ellora is the most famous. These temples were hewn out of a single large rock, despite their extraordinary wealth of form. The strongest aspect of Indian architecture is the immense lushness, a tropical looming abundance of shape, alongside which no refinement, nobility of style came into its own. The most graceful purely Indian buildings that have survived to our time are the Jaina temples of Mount Abu, which are decorated as sumptuously and with the same exact care as jewelry boxes.

In the fourteenth century, the Muhammadan conquest brought a completely new art of building to India, which, however, did not spread much beyond the largest cities. However, the heyday of Mohammedan architectural art was only in the seventeenth century.

Of the Indian countries and islands, East India is undoubtedly the earliest to develop culture. Everything points to the fact that both Ceylon and Back India and the Malay Archipelago got their civilization from there.

In Ceylon, the Aryan Sinhalese established their empire in the sixth century BC, and only they brought civilization to the island, because the original inhabitants, the Vedas, are still in a state of nature today. V. 504 BC was Anuradhapura, Ceylon’s old, once brilliant capital, founded and the oldest of the region’s famous land irrigation plants completed. Buddhist monastic life developed more luxuriantly in Ceylon than anywhere else, but the island did have two sacred relics of widespread fame, the Buddha’s footprint on Mount Adam and the Buddha’s tooth, which in the fourth century AD. was brought to the island, as the stone inscription preserved elsewhere says. Of the island’s troubled times, it should be mentioned that in 1408 the Chinese army conquered Ceylon and took the king captive. When Lourenço d’Almeida v. 1505 landed in Ceylon, the island was divided into seven small kingdoms. The Portuguese later tried to conquer Ceylon, but could not gain a foothold except on the south coast, where they tried to spread Christianity.

Among the countries behind India, Burma seems to be the »Chrysae Regio» (golden kingdom) mentioned by Ptolemy. The old Pali name Soraparanta for the area around the capital means the same thing. Probably even then in Burma there was considerable interest in fiber, the ingredients of which apparently came from Bengal on the one hand, and Ceylon on the other. However, Burma’s heyday was only in the 11th-13th century AD, when Pagan was the capital. Pagani was destroyed by Kublai Khan in 1284. Burma, like Siamese, got its written language, the old Pali language [Pali language, a dead language today, like Sanskrit itself, was a dialect of Sanskrit], from Ceylon, where it had come from East India. In this language, which was the dominant written language of Ancient India from the 7th century BC. to the 4th century AD, there was quite a Buddhist literature.

The old glorious capital of Siam, Ayuthia, was founded in 1350 AD. and was at its best when the Portuguese first visited there. Brahmanism and the Sanskrit language arrived in Cambodia from Eastern India a few centuries BC. Magnificent Angkor with its palaces and temples was built in the stages of 900 AD. In the next century, Buddhism came to Cambodia to compete with Brahmanism.

The Portuguese therefore arrived in a world with a civilization and history stretching back far into the past, widely branched trade connections, developed industry and production. It is all the more strange how such a small country in populous advanced India could in a few decades gain such a dominant position.