Portuguese Navigator. In 1481 Dias accompanied Diogo d'Azambuja on an expedition to the Gold Coast of Africa. By 1486, his success led João II to appoint him the head of an expedition which was to endeavor to sail around the southern end of Africa in order to discern the size of the continent. He set sail in 1487 following the African coast, he lost sight of land in February 1488 and was driven by a storm which lasted for almost two weeks. As a result, he unknowingly rounded the African horn and made landfall at what is now Mossel Bay. Following the coast, he reached Algoa Bay, and then the limit of his exploration, the Great Fish River. On his return voyage he discovered the horn of Africa he had missed in the storm, which he named Cabo Tormentoso, or Cape of Storms. Dias explored a total of about 1260 miles of previously unknown African coast. He returned to Lisbon in December 1488 where King João renamed his discovery Cabo da Bõa Esperança, or Cape of Good Hope. Dias' voyage established a sea route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and Asia. He was created a cavalier of the royal court, and superintendent of the royal warehouses. In 1497 Dias sailed with Vasco da Gama's expedition as far as the Cape Verde Islands. He then sailed with Pedro Álvares Cabral on a trade expedition to India. The fleet left Lisbon, March 9, 1500. By the end of May they approached the Cape of Good Hope where a storm scattered the fleet and sunk four vessels, including that of Bartolomeu Dias with a loss of all hands. Dias has been represented twice on Portuguese banknotes; once in the 1991 issue, and again in 1994. His name has also been spelled Bartholomew Diaz.
Bio by: Iola