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Cadamosto's accounts of his journeys, including his detailed observations of west African societies, have proven invaluable to historians.
Alvise was born at the Ca' da Mosto, a palace on the Grand Canal of Venice from which his name derives.
who was hired by the Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator and undertook two known journeys to West Africa in 14, accompanied by the Genoese captain Antoniotto Usodimare.
Cadamosto and his companions are credited with the discovery of the Cape Verde Islands and the points along the Guinea coast, from the Gambia River to the Geba River (in Guinea-Bissau), the greatest leap in the Henrican discoveries since 1446.
The next year, he served the same position on a Venetian galley to Flanders.
Upon his return, he found his family disgraced and dispossessed.
Urged by their frightened crews (and probably desirous to keep his human cargo intact – he had been carrying a shipload of slaves since Cayor), Cadamosto decided to call off venturing further and backed out of the river.
Cadamosto does not supply details of the return trip to Portugal.
Cadamosto and Usodimare tried to put in there, but quickly decided against it when an interpreter they landed to make contact with the local Serer natives gathered on the beaches was killed on the spot.Cadamosto cruised down the west African coast to the mouth of the Senegal River (which he calls the Rio do Senega, the first recorded use of that name.) He does not seem to have stopped here, his destination being further south, at an anchorage point along the Grande Côte he called the Palma di Budomel (location uncertain, probably around Mboro, Cadamosto notes that this spot (or resgate) was already used by Portuguese traders.He dates that trade between the Portuguese and the Wolof people of the Senegal region was opened around 1450 ("five years before I went on this voyage").At a remarkably young age, Cadamosto cast out as a merchant adventurer, sailing with Venetian galleys in the Mediterranean.From 1442 to 1448, Alvise undertook various trips on Venetian galleys to the Barbary Coast and Crete, as a commercial agent of his cousin, Andrea Barbarigo.
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The Damel invited him inland while the details of the trade were finalized.