Bartholomew Diaz


In 1486 King Joao II of Portugal appointed Diaz to find a sea route to India. Then, in 1488, he became the first sailor to explore the southern tip of Africa. His discovery opened a trade route from Europe to India.


Bartholomew Diaz was a mariner from Portugal. Almost nothing about him is known until 1487 when he was nearly in his mid to late 30's. Diaz' expeditions were a breakthrough and spread opportunities for trade routes and later explorers along southern Africa.

Diaz was a kind and fair sailor. Throughout his expeditions he was very compassionate towards the natives of Africa.

Bartholomew traveled 16,000 miles and spent 15 months at sea. Despite his achievements king Joao had forced Diaz to explain his failure to meet with Covilha and Paiva in a private meeting. Because Joao thought Bartholomew was a failure he never put him in a position of authority thereafter.

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The Conclusion

Manuel I, king Joao's successor, ordered Diaz to be a shipbuilding consultant for Vasco da Gama's expedition. After returning home, Manuel sent out a fleet to India, where Diaz captained four of the ships. In May 1500, the fleet of 13 ships was attacked by vicious storms. Four of the ships wrecked, including Diaz' ship. He, along with his crew, were lost at sea.