1902 Encyclopedia > Bartolommeo Dias (Bartolomeu Dias)

Bartolommeo Dias
(also known as: Bartholomew Diaz; Bartolomeu Dias)
Portuguese navigator

(c. 1450 - 1500)





BARTOLOMMEO DIAS, a Portuguese navigator, the discoverer of the Cape of Good Hope, flourished towards the close of the 15th century, the date of his birth being unknown. He seems to have interested himself at an early period in geographical research, and to have been intimate with Martin Behem. In August 1486 he was appointed by King John II. to the command of a small expedition intended to carry on the work of exploration on the coast of Africa. After touching at various points on the western shore of the continent, and taking possession of them for his royal master, he sailed onward into the unknown sea and doubled the Cape without being aware of it. He touched land at the mouth of the Great Fish River. He now found that he had rounded the continent, and in his return voyage he sighted the promontory to which he gave the name Cabo Tormentoso, or Cabo de todos los tormientos (Cape of all the Storms). This was afterwards changed by the king for the happier title it still bears. Dias arrived in Lisbon in December 1487. He afterwards commanded a ship in the first expedition of Vasco da Gama, who sent him back to Portugal after they had reached the Cape Verd Islands. He held a similar position in the expedi-tion under Cabrai which discovered Brazil. On the return voyage the vessel he commanded foundered in a storm on the 29th May 1500.







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