Country: Brazil City: Rio de Janeiro
Founded: August 21, 1898 Colors: Black and White
Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama is the oldest team named after a person we’ve seen so far. This is a huge club from Rio de Janeiro with a long history and plenty of titles. They were founded by the Portuguese immigrant community in Rio as a rowing club. Football came soon after, and they were one of the first clubs to take a stand against racism by refusing to comply with a ban on players who weren’t white. They can claim 1 Libertadores, 4 Brazilian Serie A titles, and 23 Carioca (Rio de janiero) State championships. Some of their most famous players include, Roberto Dinamite, Romario, Bellini, Bebeto, Bismarck, Vava, Edmundo,and Juninho Pernambucano, quite an impressive list!
The team is named after Dom Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidiguera. As you might remember from geography class, Vasco da Gama was the first European explorer to reach India by sea. He was born in Portugal in 1460 to a noble military family, and later in life he was given the mission of finding an open sea route from Portugal to the East. On July 8, 1497, he set off from Lisbon with four ships and 170 men. He sailed down the east coast of Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, and up the west coast of Africa, completing his journey in Calicut. It was the longest voyage ever made at the time, lasting two years with 300 days at sea and covering 24,000 miles. By the time he returned to Lisbon, only two ships and 55 men remained. This trip is historically important because it marked the beginning of the Portuguese colonial empire. Vasco da Gama later made other voyages. It was on one of these voyages that he contracted malaria, passing away in 1524.
Here is Vasco’s traditional hymn, done in a different style: