Muscat was wet and dreary when the Splendour of the Seas arrived in Mina Sultan Qaboos
The weather in northern Oman has been unusually wet over the last few weeks. Heavy storms coming down from the north have brought rain, hail and flooding in some areas. So the weather was far from splendid when the Splendour of the Seas docked in Mina Sultan Qaboos.
possibly the oldest wreck ever found from Europe’s initial period of colonization in Asia
The Esmeralda shipwreck is one of the earliest shipwrecks from the start of Portugal’s entry into the Arabia Sea.
There can have been few countries whose population exploded around the world as quickly or indeed violently as the Portuguese. From a small insignificant land on the edge of Europe, they swept into East Asia. Leading the charge in many respects was Vasco de Gama who crossed the Arabian Sea in 1498 with 4 small ships landing into the Indian port of Calicut. In 1502 he led the 4th Portuguese fleet into the region, this time with the clear intention to subjugate the coastal populations, largely in retaliation for defeats in previous years and to monopolise trade destined for Europe. His fleet was of 20 ships, indicative of the value of the potential trade as well as the numbers of ships lost during the previous annual sailings from Portugal that made larger numbers of ships essential to achieve success.