He was captain of the fleets for India in 1521, 1525, 1526, 1532, 1536, 1540 and 1546. However, he only completed six of these journeys because he arrived to the kingdom in 1525. He was member of a family of shipowners which was headed by his father, Duarte Tristao, who frequently invested in the Carreira da India between 1517 and 1528. In 1512, the king granted Duarte Tristao the privilege of becoming citizen of Lisbon, and he is referred as being the beneficiary of the fabric tax of that same city.
Vicente Gil had at least two brothers who had already been in India: Manuel Gil, captain of his own carrack ship in the 1552 return trip, and Jacome Tristao, captain in the fleets of 1543, 1544 and 1549. Amongst the residents of the House of Dom Joao III, we can find three sons of Duarte Tristao. There is no record of Manuel Gil, but there is a reference to another descendant, Simao Tristao, of whom no overseas journey is known. They are referred as Grooms of the Privy Chamber, meaning they were gentlemen of the Royal Household. However, it cannot be guaranteed that this was the position occupied by Vicente Gil when he left in 1521. The mission of this captain in Carreira da India was limited to the export of spices.
LACERDA, Teresa, Os Capitães das Armadas da Índia no Reinado de Manuel I ? uma avaliação social, Cascais, Câmara de Cascais, 2008, no prelo.
Author: Teresa Lacerda
Translated by: Marília Pavão