While Vasco de Gama proved to be the symbol of the early Portuguese Empire because of his achievements and voyage from South Africa to India in 1497-98, Camoes became the symbol of Portuguese identity by making known de Gama’s voyages and the empire in his epic, The Lusiads in 1572. In the Lusiads by Luis Vaz de Camoes, he depicts the Portuguese empire in a poem that narrates the explorer Vasco da Gama and what his voyage underwent through the Cape of Good Hope and into India. He explains Gama’s journey began to build the Portuguese empire by first forming a national identity through a correlation between colonization and new discoveries across the world in the sixteenth century. Creating the Portuguese empire into a national identity was a major impact to other empires that are geographically connected to the Portuguese because of their desire in expanding, which caused hostility by creating a common enemy through military forces that pushed towards territory and religious beliefs. Camoes experienced Gama’s voyage half-a-century later, which made him the first European artist to cross the equator. Through his experiences he illustrates how a regular man that has never been seen of nor heard of can become a common hero because of the Portuguese Empire being a small Empire. Camoes, the national poet of Portugal acknowledges the Portuguese empire in The Lusiads, by describing the identity of Portugal being a group achievement and not one-man’s achievement.
In 1497-98, Vasco