29 May 1500
The first European known to set foot on South African soil was Bartholomew (or Bartolomeu) Dias. In December 1487 Dias sailed down the African coast, landing in among other places present-day Angola and Walvis Bay, Namibia. During this voyage, strong winds forced him to sail over a thousand kilometers off-course, and thus he sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa. He named the Cape "the Cape of Storms" (Cabo das Tormentas), but King John II of Portugal later renamed it Cabo de Boa Esperanca (Cape of Good Hope). On 3 February 1488 Dias landed in Mossel Bay. On 12 March 1488 Dias erected his first padrÁƒÂƒ£o, or stone cross, at Kwaaihoek near the mouth of the Bushman's River on the Eastern Cape coast. It is South Africa's oldest monument. In 1500 Dias accompanied Pedro ÁƒÂƒÂlvares Cabral on the voyage that resulted in the discovery of Brazil. The expedition then turned back towards the south coast of Africa and on *29 May it fell victim to a cyclone. Bartolomeu Dias drowned at sea along with the crew. In 1960, a statue of Dias was unveiled in Cape Town. * Note: The date is given as 24 May in some sources.