🇮🇳 Vasco da Gama, often shortened to Vasco, is a city in the state of Goa on the west coast of India. It is named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. It is the headquarters of the Mormugão taluka. The city lies on the western tip of the Mormugao peninsula, at the mouth of the Zuari River, about 30 km from Panaji, Goa's capital, 28 km from Margao, the district headquarters and about 5 km from Dabolim Airport.
The city was founded in 1543 and remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when Goa ceased to be a Portuguese territory. The 1888-constructed Mormugao Port remains a busy shipping route in Asia. It is one of the major ports of independent India. The ship-building area of Goa Shipyard Limited that builds Indian Navy and Coast Guard vessels was also built there in 1957 (during the Portuguese era). Initially built around the city's harbour as the barge-repair yard Estaleiros Navais de Goa, the area has now[when?] expanded to include more related activities. The Indian Navy also has a presence with its vast campuses, which include the naval base INS Hansa.
Industry Vasco is heavily reliant on the port for most of its economic activity. Manganese ore mined in interior regions is brought to Mormugao by barges navigating the rivers Mandovi and Zuari, and then either collected in the Mormugao Port to be loaded onto bulk carrier ships or directly loaded onto the ships using trans-shippers. Ore which is collected on the port is handled by machinery called MOHP (Mechanical Ore-Handling Plant). This includes massive bucket wheel loaders and miles of conveyor belts. The port has berthing facilities for large cruise liners as well as a floating dry dock. There are shipping and freight forwarding agents as well as offices of major mining companies based in the city. The Mormugao Port Trust which operates the port is the largest employer in the Vasco region and has a complete mini-township in Headland Sada which includes schools, residential complexes and amenities for employees of the Port.
Vasco da Gama has a population of over 100,000 people. Vasco da Gama also forms one of the centres of the wider Goa state which has a population of over 1,817,000 people.