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August, 4

Death of Andersen - Today is August 4.
Andersen died in 1875.
Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author and poet noted for his children's stories such as "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling." During his lifetime he was acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, and was feted by royalty. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages. They have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films.

Did you know?Vasco da GamaNPC - Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the European Age of Discovery, and the first person to sail directly from Europe to India.

Commissioned by King Manuel I of Portugal to find Christian lands in the East (the king, like many Europeans, was under the impression that India was the legendary Christian kingdom of Prester John), and to gain Portuguese access to the commercial markets of the Orient, Vasco da Gama extended the sea route exploration of his predecessor Bartolomeu Dias, who had first rounded Africa's Cape of Good Hope in 1488, culminating a generation of Portuguese sea exploration fostered by the nautical school of Henry the Navigator. He was created count of Vidigueira for his services to the crown.

Da Gama's voyage was successful in establishing a sea route from Europe to India that would permit trade with the Far East, without the use of the costly and unsafe Silk Road caravan routes of the Middle East and Central Asia. However, the voyage was also hampered by its failure to bring any trade goods of interest to the nations of Asia Minor and India. The route was fraught with peril: only 54 of his 170 voyagers, and two of four ships, returned to Portugal in 1499. Nevertheless, da Gama's initial journey led directly to a several-hundred year era of European domination through sea power and commerce, and 450 years of Portuguese colonialism in India that brought wealth and power to the Portuguese throne.

His story has elements of myth, due to a Eurocentric gloss that downplays the part played by Arab navigators in his voyages, for example. The Portuguese national epic, the Lusíadas of Luís Vaz de Camões, largely celebrates his voyages. However, with Christopher Columbus, da Gama is deservedly one of the most famous of all European explorers since his voyages changes the face of the globe, bringing two continents closer to each other for good or for ill.

Source: New World Encyclopedia