Dias—The discovery of The Cape of Good Hope

At the end of the 13th century, Venetian merchant Marco Polo described the East as a prosperous land full of Gold which elicited the desire of Europeans to travel to the East to search for gold1 . However, the tax bullying and extortion by Ottoman Turks, who controlled the main travel route, as well as ongoing warfare and pirate attacks, significantly hampered the trade between the East and the West. After the respective political unification and centralization of Portugal and Spain in the 15th century, the Kings of Portugal and Spain wished to pioneer a new route to the East to find gold and spices which were viewed as potential sources of income2 .Furthermore, the southernmost tip of Africa was considered an important part of maritime exploration and Western European explorers were greatly interested in taking this route to the East. Thus, King Joao II of Portugal entrusted Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias to pioneer a new route by crossing the southernmost point of Africa and entering the Indian Ocean. In July of 1487, Dias set out from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, with his expedition crew and followed a familiar route south passing through Mina and Walvis Bay, a port in Southwestern Africa. However, while passing through the southernmost part of Africa, Dias turned back to avoid dangerous navigation conditions and arrived in Lisbon in 1488. The Cape of Good Hope was discovered in this difficult expedition and its discovery laid the foundation for subsequent travels to the East3 .

 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartolomeu_Dias

 

  1. Hua Ye  Story of the ocean[M] Petroleum Industry Press (2014)10-12 []
  2. Wang Ye  Youth knowledge Encyclopedia  Encyclopedia of geographical knowledge [M] Yunnan University press (2011)218 []
  3. Cui Jia A book to read the history of human exploration [M] China industry and Commerce Publishing House (2014)26-27 []

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