December 28, 2011
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira (c. 1460 or 1469 – 24 December 1524) was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India. For a short time in 1524 he was the Governor of Portuguese India, under the title of Viceroy.
Vasco da Gama's body was first buried at St. Francis Church, which was located at Fort Kochi in the city of Kochi, a major port city on the west coast of India by the Arabian Sea, but his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539. The body of Vasco da Gama was re-interred in Vidigueira in a casket decorated with gold and jewels.
Within the church of Santa Maria, in the lower choir, is the stone tomb of Vasco da Gama sculpted by the nineteenth century sculptor Costa Mota in a neo-Manueline style. The mortal remains were transferred to this tomb in 1880.