L'Africaine (The African Woman) is an opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer. The French libretto was written by Eugène Scribe.
Act I - The beautiful Inès is forced by her father, the Grand Admiral, to marry Don Pédro instead of her true love, Vasco da Gama. Da Gama, who is thought to be dead, appears at the Grand Council saying he has discovered a new land. His request for an expedition is refused, causing da Gama to attack the Grand Inquisitor. Da Gama is then imprisoned.
Act II - In prison, Sélica (an African queen) saves da Gama, whom she loves, from being murdered by Nélusco, a member of her entourage. Inès agrees to marry Don Pédro if da Gama is freed. Don Pédro mounts an expedition to the new lands, assisted by Nélusco.
Act III - Nélusco is navigating Don Pédro's ship, but is secretly planning to destroy the Europeans. Da Gama has followed Don Pédro in another ship, and begs him to return to Lisbon. Don Pédro refuses, and a storm breaks out. The local people kill all on the ships save da Gama.
Act IV - Sélica is returns to her homeland, and swears revenge on her enemies. Da Gama is captured by priests, who intend to sacrifice him. Sélica saves him by saying that he is her husband. Da Gama resigns himself to this new life.
Act V - Inès has made her way to this new land. She meets da Gama, but their reunion is interrupted by Sélica, who feels betrayed. When she realises the strength of the lover's affection, she allows them to return to Europe. She then commits suicide by inhaling the perfume of poisoness blossoms. Nélusco follows her into death.