Portugal on stamps

This is the last of three issues commemorating the discovery of a sea route from Europe to India by Vasco da Gama and his crew (1497-9). This issue depicts the third stage of the voyage, the crossing of the Indian Ocean from Malindi (Kenya) to Calicut (India) and back.

The first stamp shows the pilot hired in Malindi using a kamal. Helped by the monsoon winds, the Portuguese took 4 weeks to arrive in Calicut, in May 1498. Negotiations with the Zamorin of Calicut didn’t go well. In spite, Vasco da Gama took some fishermen as prisoners and set sail hastily in August. The trip back to Malindi, against the monsoon winds, took 4 months, with great loss of men.

The ships arrived back in Portugal separately, during July-September 1499, carrying enough cargo to make the expedition highly profitable. Portugal’s dream to find a route to India that avoided the Venetian trading monopoly had become true.

The stamps were designed by Carlos Possolo, lithographed by Litografia Maia on enamelled paper sheets with 4 sets, and circulated from 4 September 1998 to 30 September 2001. The stamps have perforation 12×12½.

Value Print run Afinsa Gibbons Michel Scott Yvert
50.00 350,000 2535 2673 2299 2277
80.00 350,000 2536 2677 2300 2278
100.00 350,000 2537 2678 2301 2279
140.00 350,000 2538 2679 2302 2280
sheet 80,000 204 MS2680 142 SS 2270 146

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