C. 1440 - 1510 GASPAR DA GAMA (Goa, India - Portugal)
A Jew, whose real name and origins are unknown, though some claim he was originally from Poland. He was captured and sold as a slave in India. While he was serving the ruler of Goa in 1498, the visiting Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama took him prisoner, forced him to convert, and gave him a new name. Using his vast knowledge of languages, Gaspar accompanied many Portuguese voyages, meeting Amerigo Vespucci and Pedro Cabral.