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Bartolomeu Dias Cross - Original
William Cullen Library, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Date:1488
Type:Monument
Status:Restored

 


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Coordinates:
26°11'26.56" S 28°01'45.71" E Alt: 1753m

This is the original Bartolomeu Dias Cross to commemorate the point which is the furthest East that Bartolomeu Dias (Bartholomew Diaz) reached in 1488. It is housed in the University of the Witwatersrand, William Cullen Library. It was found in about 1938 by Eric Axelson. A replica was erected on the spot where it was found.

Transcript of Explanatory text:

DIAS CROSS
OR
PADRÁO DE SÁO GREGÓRIO, 1488

Bartolomeu Dias erected the Padráo de Sáo Gregório in 1488 at what is today known as Kwaaihoek in the Eastern Cape, the most easterly point of his voyage. It is South Africa's oldest historical monument.

The Portuguese explorers erected these beacons as proof that they had reached the point they claimed to have reached, and as symbols of Christianity.

This particular Padráo stood until the 16th Century. Then it ceased to be mentioned in the records. The broken pieces of the Padráo were discovered in 1938 by Professor Eric Axelson, a former staff member of the University of the Witwatersrand. The fragments of the original cross were reassembled and given into the care of the University of the Witwatersrand, to be placed in the William Cullen Library. It was declared a National Monument in 1939.