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Revision as of 17:40, 29 June 2008 by Oliver Smith (Talk | contribs) (Changed Heading 1 from the article to Heading 4, as it should be a subheading under "Article of the Week".)

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Often attributed to the Dalai Lama

Article of the Week [ about ]

Vasco da Gama (c. 1469 – 24 December 1524) was a Portuguese navigator who established a sea route from Europe to India.

Early life

Statue of Vasco da Gama in Sines

Few details are known about Vasco da Gama's early life. He was born around 1469 in Sines, a seaport in the southwest coast of Portugal, or in one of the nearby villages (the most likely candidate is Salas, where after his return from his first voyage to India he ordered the construction of a church). He was the second or third child of Estêvão da Gama and Isabel de Sodré. Vasco was named after his paternal grandfather, who served as alcaide (magistrate) of Évora.

Vasco’s father was a member of the Order of Saint James of the Sword and had a close ties with its master, D. Fernando, Duke of Viseu (a brother of the Portuguese king Afonso V). He participated in the military campaign against the Moroccan town of Casablanca (1468-69) and served as alcaide-mor (chief magistrate) of Sines and Silves. Vasco’s mother was of English ancestry, the granddaughter of a nobleman named Sudley, who had fought against Castile and settled in Portugal. [more...]

New Draft of the Week [ about ]

Sea Glass

Sea glass is formed when broken pieces of glass from bottles, tableware, and other items that have been lost or discarded are worn and rounded by tumbling in the waves along the shore of oceans and large lakes. The most common varieties are green, brown or clear, while other colors, such as orange, red, yellow, cobalt blue, purple, turquoise, and black are much more rare in genuine sea glass. Genuine sea glass often shows signs of "hydration", a process by which the soda and lime in the glass are slowly leached out through constant contact with water, and may be easily distinguished from artificially tumbled glass by a trained eye. Sea glass has become more rare in recent decades as a result of stricter laws against littering, but may still be found along the shores of oceans and lakes world-wide. [more...]