What Is a Biography of Bartolomeu Dias?


Quick Answer

Bartolomeu de Novaes Dias was a Portuguese explorer who became the first explorer to round the Cape of Good Hope and Cabo das Agulhas at the southernmost point of Africa. His efforts led to the establishing the eastern sea route from Europe to the Indian Ocean and Asia.

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Full Answer

Born in 1450, Dias was a member of the court of Joao II, king of Portugal, in 1487, where he worked as the superintendent to the royal warehouses. The king chose Dias to lead an expedition tasked with finding a sea route to India, due to the Ottoman Empire closing the trade access by land to Asia.

Dias worked his way down the coast of Africa before being blown off course in 1488. He turned his ship to the south in an attempt for the winds to push him back towards the tip of Africa. On Feb. 3 of the same year, one of his men spotted land, which put them 300 miles east of the Cape of Good Hope and officially in the Indian Ocean.

After his journey, Dias lived in Guinea in West Africa, and he later served as an adviser to explorer Vasco da Gama. In 1500, Dias captained four ships as part of a fleet of Portuguese headed for India. Along the way, storms struck the fleet. Dias' ship sunk, and he and all the crew members perished.

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