A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 778 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02.

From this river, the extreme boundary of the present voyage, Diaz commenced his return homewards, and discovered, with great joy and astonishment, on their passage back, the long sought for and tremendous promontory, which had been the grand object of the hopes and wishes of Portuguese navigation during seventy-four years, ever since the year 1412, when the illustrious Don Henry first began to direct and incite his countrymen to the prosecution of discoveries along the western shores of Africa.  Either from the distance which the caravels had been from the land, when they first altered their course to the eastwards, or from the cape having been concealed in thick fogs, it had escaped notice in the preceding part of the voyage.  At this place Diaz erected a stone cross in memory of his discovery; and, owing to heavy tempests, which he experienced off the high table land of the Cape, he named it Cabo dos Tormentos, or Cape of storms; but the satisfaction which King John derived from this memorable discovery, on the return of Diaz to Portugal in 1487, and the hope which it imparted of having opened a sure passage by sea from Europe through the Atlantic into the Indian ocean, by which his subjects would now reap the abundant harvest of all their long and arduous labours, induced that sovereign to change this inauspicious appellation for one of a more happy omen, and he accordingly ordered that it should in future be called, Cabo de boa Esperanca, or Cape of Good Hope, which it has ever since retained.

Soon after the discovery of the Cape, by which shorter name it is now generally preeminently distinguished, Diaz fell in with the victualler, from which he had separated nine months before.  Of nine persons who had composed the crew of that vessel, six had been murdered by the natives of the west coast of Africa, and Fernand Colazzo, one of the three survivors, died of joy on again beholding his countrymen.  Of the circumstances of the voyage home we have no account; but it is not to be doubted that Diaz and his companions would be honourably received by their sovereign, after a voyage of such unprecedented length and unusual success.

[1] Clarke, I. 342.


Journey overland to India and Abyssinia, by Covilham and de Payva[1].

Soon after the departure of Diaz, King John dispatched Pedro de Covilham and Alphonso de Payva, both well versed in the Arabic language, with orders to travel by land into the east, for the discovery of the country of Presbyter, or Prester John, and to trace the steps of the lucrative commerce then carried on with India by the Venetians for spices and drugs; part of their instructions being to endeavour to ascertain the practicability of navigating round the south extremity of Africa to the famed marts of Indian commerce, and to make every possible inquiry into the circumstances

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