UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme in 1992. It came originally from a growing awareness of the disastrous state of preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage in various parts of the world.
The Journal of the first voyage of Vasco da Gama to India from 1497 to 1499, attributed to Álvaro Velho, is now part of the Memory of the World. Unesco says "it provides testimony of the pioneer sea voyage to India, one of the defining moments that changed the course of history. This manuscript is the only known contemporary copy of the report of the first voyage of Vasco da Gama to India, whose journey apart from being one of the greatest pieces of European seamanship of that time, acted as a catalyst for a series of events that would change the world."