However, the deception could not be continued for long. The truth came out in the most dramatic fashion. There was a Polish Jew, a trader from Alexandria who spoke fluent Venetian. He was in the service of the Muslim Sultan of Bijapur. He was found by the Portuguese back in India roaming around the Portuguese vessels with an intention to spy on them. He was caught and flogged till he confessed. He was carried by the Portuguese with the returning fleet, was converted to Christianity and later did yeoman service to Potugal as Gaspar da Gama. Vasco Da Gama was so pleased with him that he agreed to be his Godfather and lent his surname!
Although Gaspar publicly repeated the official version about Christian Calicut, the Jew who was forcibly converted to Christianity wanted to take revenge by leaking the truth.
When the story of Calicut came out from the mouth of Gaspar, it must have created quite a commotion in diplomatic and ecclesiastical circles. Our Florentine investor could be seen to quickly correct himself in his subsequent letter, quoting none other than Gaspar himself: He says that in those countries there are many gentiles, that is idolators, and only a few Christians, that the supposed Chruches and belfries are in reality temples of idolators and that the pictures within them are those of idols and not of saints. To me this seems more probable than saying that there are Christians but no divine ministrations, no priests and no sacrificial mass. He does not believe that there are any Christians of account other than some so called Jacobites and those of the Prester John, who is far from Calicut on this side of the gulf of Arabia.
The mood in Lisbon was upbeat after the return of Da Gama and they did not spare other nationalities. The joke making the rounds was that now that a new trade route had been discovered, Venetians would soon have to become fishermen, as they had no future in trade. The eagerness of the Florentine to puncture the ego could have been jealousy at the Portuguese achievement. If so, Sernigi was not alone - there was a fellow Florentine who felt the same way. Amerigo Vespucci wrote to his patron Lorenzo de Medici in 1500, deprecating the fuss being made about Vasco Da Gama's so called discovery:Such a voyage as that I do not call discovery, but merely a going to discovered lands, since as you will see by the map, they navigate continually in sight of land, and sail along the southern part of Africa, which is to proceed upon a way discussed by all the authorities in cosmography.
Facts support Vespucci - Da Gama had taken the same chief pilot who had accompanied Bartholomeo Diaz and was familiar with the route till the Cape; from Malindi Da Gama took the veteran pilot Ibn Majid. Where, indeed, was the discovery? Christians in Calicut??
Sanjay Subrahmaniam : Career and Legend of Vasco Da Gama, CUP
Joan-Pau Rubies: Travels and Ethnology in the Renaissance South India through Eurpoean Eyes, 2002, CUP