The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was the first European to discover India. He accomplished this by establishing the sea route from Europe to India, which was previously unknown.
Vasco da Gama's discovery of the European-Indian sea route aided the Portuguese in establishing trade in Asia, which was a significant part of the global Imperial Age. For over a hundred years after da Gama's discovery on May 20, 1498, Portugal held the global lead in trade and naval presence around the Asian subcontinent. This lead was finally broken after England, France and the Netherlands were able to replicate the route and send ships en masse to India for trade purposes.