St. Francis Church

St. Francis Church- The original burial site of Vasco da Gama

St. Francis Church- The original burial site of Vasco da Gama

Today, for the first time in my life, I visited Fort Kochi. One of the first places I stopped at was the St. Francis Church, which is the oldest European church in India, and the original burial site of the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama.  In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first person to sail from Europe to India. Both the Portuguese and the Spanish were in search of an ocean alternative to the Arab monopoly on the lucrative spice trade, and the Portuguese had the good fortune to sail east vs. west. He and a few other Portuguese men who followed were allowed by the Raja of Cochin to build a fort in Kochi, and subsequently, in 1506, Francisco de Almeida, the Portuguese viceroy, was allowed to build a Christian church.  Ten years later, the church was completed and was dedicated to Saint Anthony. Continue reading