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Six Pre-Colonial Portuguese Shipwrecks Identified on the South African Coast:The Legacy of Bartolomeu Dias


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1 10 Laura Road St Francis Bay, South Africa
 

For hundreds of years European merchants had undertaken successful trade missions to the eastern markets; crossing overland, they operated from the city states of Genoa, Pisa, Amalfi and Venice. When the overland route was blocked by the Ottoman Turks, an alternative route was planned. To the rulers of Spain and Portugal, the only possibility was to find a sea route to the east, and a sea route around Africa was considered feasible by the rulers of Portugal. Under the guidance of Prince Henry of Portugal, the son of Joao I, the coast of Africa was slowly explored. By 1483 CE Diego Cao had reached Cape Cross on the desolate Namibian coast. Joao II, sanctioned the next expedition, which was led by Bartolomeu Dias, who left Lisbon in 1487 CE. His instructions were to go round the southern tip of Africa and attempt to establish contact with Prester John, the mythical Christian king, whose cooperation was considered essential to break the Moslem monopoly on African trade. This article deals with precolonial Portuguese shipwrecks off the South African coast, engaged in trade voyages during Portugal’s dominance of the Indian ocean route to India.

Keywords

Algoa Bay, Bartolomeu Dias, Chinese Porcelain, Mozambique, Padrao.
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  • Six Pre-Colonial Portuguese Shipwrecks Identified on the South African Coast:The Legacy of Bartolomeu Dias

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Authors

Malcolm Turner
10 Laura Road St Francis Bay, South Africa

Abstract


For hundreds of years European merchants had undertaken successful trade missions to the eastern markets; crossing overland, they operated from the city states of Genoa, Pisa, Amalfi and Venice. When the overland route was blocked by the Ottoman Turks, an alternative route was planned. To the rulers of Spain and Portugal, the only possibility was to find a sea route to the east, and a sea route around Africa was considered feasible by the rulers of Portugal. Under the guidance of Prince Henry of Portugal, the son of Joao I, the coast of Africa was slowly explored. By 1483 CE Diego Cao had reached Cape Cross on the desolate Namibian coast. Joao II, sanctioned the next expedition, which was led by Bartolomeu Dias, who left Lisbon in 1487 CE. His instructions were to go round the southern tip of Africa and attempt to establish contact with Prester John, the mythical Christian king, whose cooperation was considered essential to break the Moslem monopoly on African trade. This article deals with precolonial Portuguese shipwrecks off the South African coast, engaged in trade voyages during Portugal’s dominance of the Indian ocean route to India.

Keywords


Algoa Bay, Bartolomeu Dias, Chinese Porcelain, Mozambique, Padrao.

References





DOI: https://doi.org/10.18520/cs%2Fv117%2Fi10%2F1683-1686