Welcome to 16th century Europe, the age of sea travel and exploration! You enter a time when adventurers competed to open sea routes to new lands.
You are the last in line of a family which once enjoyed the luxuries of a noble life. Your family has been reduced to poverty ever since the demise of your grandfather. In an attempt to win recognition in the annals of sea-faring history, he went down with his fleet off the coast of Africa. Your father renewed your grandfather's quest, but once again the sea triumphed and he succumbed to the waves.
The previous century saw the successes of three renowned explorers. In 1487, Bartholomeu Dias landed at the southernmost point of Africa and named it the Cape of Good Hope. Five years later Christopher Columbus celebrated his discovery of the New World, in 1492. Finally, in 1498, Vasco da Gama opened a sea route to India!
Now the year is 1502, and the challenge is on your hands. Gain fortune and fame and restore your family name to honor. If you're a true salt, you should complete your journey before 1522.
--From the SNES Uncharted Waters instruction manual.