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Dias reached the Southern tip of Africa before his crew forced him to abandon his quest to reach the Orient; however, he had reached a point at which he knew he had rounded the Southern tip, so he named it the "Cape of Good Hope.
Previously, the belief had been that the southern tip of Africa connected with the northern portion of Asia; and therefore a water route to the East was impossible. There was also the belief that if one reached a point too far south, the seas would boil. The belief in the juncture of the continents had been supported by Claudius Ptolemy, whose opinions were generally accepted as true. Dias' expedition was funded by Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal who hoped to find the elusive sea route and thereby avoid Italian and Muslim merchants who controlled most of the European trade in silk and spices. Dias proved that the water route did exist. His voyage was followed by Vasco da Gama who, with the aid of a Muslim navigator, was able to follow the monsoon winds and reach India.
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