Vasco da Gama's 1497-99 voyage to India changed the world's balance of power and made his home, Portugal, one of the richest countries in the world. But Gama's accomplishment was the result of nearly 80 years of Portuguese exploration, started by Prince Henry the Navigator in 1420l. Henry believed that it was possible to sail around Africa and reach the rich lands of the East Indies. He sent out many missions of discovery. The Portuguese slowly worked their way down the coast of the unexplored continent. When Bartholomeu Dias sailed around the southermost tip of Africa in 1487, the stage was set for Gama's historic voyage. This book tells the story of the brave exploreres from Gil Eanes and Afonso Baldaia to Nuno Tristao and Diogo Cao to Dias and Gama, and explains how their 15th-century voyages forever changed the course of world history.