Alvise Cadamosto (or Ca Da Mosto), (1432-1477), a Venetian explorer, navigator and writer, celebrated for his voyages in the Portuguese service to West Africa. In 1454 he sailed from Venice for Flanders, and, being detained by contrary winds off Cape St Vincent, was enlisted by Prince Henry the Navigator among his explorers, and given command of an expedition which sailed (22nd of March 1455) for the south. Visiting the Madeira group and the Canary Islands (of both which he gives an elaborate account, especially concerned with European colonization and native customs), and coasting the West Sahara (whose tribes, trade and trade-routes he likewise describes in detail), he arrived at the Senegal, whose lower course had already, as he tells us, been explored by the Portuguese 60 m. up. The negro lands and tribes south of the Senegal, and especially the country and people of Budomel, a friendly chief reigning about 50 m. beyond the river, are next treated with equal wealth of interesting detail, and Cadamosto thence proceeded towards the Gambia, which he ascended some distance (here also examining races, manners and customs with minute attention), but found the natives extremely hostile, and so returned direct to Portugal. Cadamosto expressly refers to the chart he kept of this voyage.
At the mouth of the Gambia he records an observation of the "Southern Chariot" (Southern Cross). Next year (1456) he went out again under the patronage of Prince Henry. Doubling Cape Blanco he was driven out to sea by contrary winds, and thus made the first known discovery of the Cape Verde Islands. Having explored Boavista and Santiago, and found them uninhabited, he returned to the African mainland, and pushed on to the Gambia, Rio Grande and Geba. Returning thence to Portugal, he seems to have remained there till 1463, when he reappeared at Venice. He died in 1477.
Besides the accounts of his two voyages, Cadamosto left a narrative of Pedro de Cintra's explorations in 1461 (or 1462) to Sierre Leone and beyond Cape Mesurado to El Mina and the Gold Coast; all these relations first appeared in the 1507 Vicenza Collection of Voyages and Travels (the Paesi novamente retrovati et novo mondo da Alberico Vesputio Florentino); they have frequently since been reprinted and translated (e.g. Ital. text in 1508, 1512, 1519, 1521, 1550 (Ramusio), etc.; Lat. version, Itinerarium Portugallensium, etc.,1508, 1532 (Grynaeus), etc.; Fr. Sensuyt le nouveau monde, etc., 1516, 1521; German, Newe unbekante Landte, etc., 1508). See also C. Schefer, Relation des voyages ... de Ca' da Mosto (1895); R.H. Major, Henry the Navigator (1868), pp. 246-287; C.R. Beazley, Henry the Navigator (1895), pp. 261-288; Yule Oldham, Discovery of the Cape Verde Islands (1892), esp. pp. 4-15.
It may be noted that Antonio Uso di Mare (Antoniotto Ususmaris), the Genoese, wrote his famous letter of the 12th of December 1455 (purporting to record a meeting with the last surviving descendant of the Genoese-Indian expedition of 1291, at or near the Gambia), after accompanying Cadamosto to West Africa; see Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography (1892), iii. 416-418.