Bartolomeu Dias Facts

Bartolomeu Dias Facts
Bartolomeu Dias was the first European explorer to sail around the southern tip of Africa discovering what is called the Cape of Good Hope. This discovery made it possible for Europeans to trade with Asia and India via water instead of across land, which was very expensive at the time. Bartolomeu Dias was born in 1451 in Algarve, Portugal, but not much else is known about his early life. It is believed that his father was from a noble Portuguese family. On October 10th, 1487 King John II of Portugal assigned Bartolomeu Dias to sail to the southern tip of Africa in hopes of finding a trade route that would lead them to India.
Interesting Bartolomeu Dias Facts:
Bartolomeu Dias was a member of the royal Portuguese court when he was chosen to head the expedition to find the trade route to India.
Bartolomeu was also supposed to be searching for a man named Prester John, a supposed Christian King of Ethiopia. The king wished to establish a friendship to enable trade to India.
Bartolomeu Dias was the sailing master of the man-of-war (warship) San Christovao.
The expedition to the south of Africa began in the summer of 1487 and lasted for 16 months.
A terrible storm blew Dias' three ships out to sea and his crew did not spot land for 13 days.
The food supply on the expedition began to run low and the crew convinced Dias to return to Portugal before reaching their destination of India.
On the return trip Dias' fleet saw the tip of Africa. They had missed it on the way because of the storm.
Dias named the tip of Africa ‘Cape of Storms' because of the storm they had encountered when they first sailed past it.
The king of Portugal changed the name to the ‘Cape of Good Hope' because he believed that its discovery would eventually lead to a route to India via water.
The king was not happy that Dias and his crew had not reached India and that they had not found Prester John.
Dias moved to Guinea until the new king Manuel I hired him to oversee the building of the ships for Vasco de Gama's upcoming expedition.
Dias supervised the construction of two ships in 1494; both would be part of the first successful voyage to India traveling south around the Cape of Good Hope, led by Vasco de Gama.
After Vasco de Gama's successful expedition, king Manuel I sent a large fleet to India under the command of Pedro Alvares Cabral.
Bartolomeu Dias' commanded four ships. They first sailed to Brazil, arriving there in March of 1500.
Their next destination was South Africa, and then India.
In May of 1500, the fleet's ships met a terrible storm at the place Dias had called the ‘Cape of Storms' (that the king renamed the Cape of Good Hope).
Bartolomeu Dias' ship sunk in the storm. It was one of four ships in the fleet of 13 ships that sunk.
Bartolomeu Dias died off the Cape of Good Hope when his ship went down. He never did reach his destination of India.


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