Located on the middle of the roundabout at the intersection of Ceon Steytier Ave and Heerengracht Street, Cape Town is a statue, erected in 1960, of Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese nobleman and sailor, who was the first European recorded to have rounded the Cape of Good Hope, in 1488.
In October 1487, King John II of Portugal appointed Dias to head an expedition to sail around the southern tip of Africa in the hope of finding a trade route to India to replace what was becoming an increasingly expensive overland trip via the Middle East.
Having successfully rounded, at a considerable distance, the southern tip of Africa in early 1488, Dias would like to have gone on the whole way to India but his crew refused to do so. The voyage ended at Kwaaihoek, near the mouth of the Bushman’s River in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa where he erected a Padrão de São Gregório, a stone cross inscribed with the coat of arms of Portugal laying claim to the area on 12 March 1488. Thus, Dias became the first European known to have set foot on South African soil. Permanent European settlement was left to the Dutch in later years.
It was on his return trip to Portugal that Dias actually discovered what he called the Cape of Storms (May 1488). King John II subsequently renamed it the Cape of Good Hope as it represented the opening of the route to the east and India, in particular.
Vasco da Gama later circumnavigated the Cape of Good Hope and continued the route to India.
Address: Intersection Ceon Steytier Ave and Heerengracht St