BOOK - St. Helena Isle(E+G)

James Bay - painted with island earth

For centuries trade between the East and Europe had  been in the hands of the Merchants of the great Italian cities of Venice and Genoa. Silks and spices and much other valuable merchandise was carried overland, across Arabia, and by ship along the Mediterannean sea.

The Portuguese, a  great  Seafaring nation,  excluded from the Mediterranean, explored further and further along the unchartered western coast of Africa and thus in 1487 the navigator Bartholomew Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope.

Emmanuel the Fortunate, King of Portugal, subsequently sent a fleet under the command of Vasco da Gama with orders to sail beyond the Cape of Good Hope in the hope of finding a direct sea route to India.

Da Gama eventually  arrived  on the west coast of the Indian Peninsula. and no time was lost in building forts and setting up trading posts, with Calicot being of prime interest.

The Arabs, who for centuries had had the monopoly of trade between the Mediterranean and India,  were displeased at having competition and began to take measures to repel the interlopers from Europe with the consequence there was soon open warfare between the Portuguese and the King of Calicot.