On this day:

1497 Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama departs on his first voyage, becoming the first European to reach India by sea

1777 Vermont abolishes slavery, the first region in US to do so

2011 Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched for the last time

Born on this day:

1914 Jyoti Basu, Indian politician

1973 Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Indian founder and CEO of mobile payments company Paytm, born in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh

Gone on this day:

1695 Christiaan Huygens, Dutch mathematician, astronomer, physicist