When Asia was One
By Nayan Chanda, editor of YaleGlobal Online
Published in Global Asia, Vol I, No. 1
Before dawn on May 20, 1498, three ships with large sails appeared on the horizon of western India. Curious locals from Calicut took to their canoes for a closer look and found bearded white men aboard. It was the Portuguese fleet of Vasco da Gama, looking for “Christians and spices.” The era ushered in that morning would profoundly transform Asia over the next 450 years.