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26831

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Dias Cross, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

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Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: This remarkable historical relic stands in the library of the University of the Witwatersrand at Milner Park. It is the padra of Saint Gregory, erected by the Portuguese navigator Bartholomew Diaz on 12th March, 1488, at Kwaaihoek near the mouth of the Bushman’s River (cf. C.P. 143).
After long and meticulous research Professor Eric Axelson in 1938 discovered the place where this cross had been erected. It had been broken up into small pieces, but Professor Axelson succeeded in recovering a large number of fragments scattered over a wide area, many of them at appreciable depths under the sand. This made it possible to reconstruct most of the padrão. It was considered to be too valuable to replace on the remote and exposed site where Diaz erected it, so it was placed in the library of the University for safe keeping. Several replicas of it were made, however, and one of them was placed at the original site at Kwaaihoek.
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Construction Date: 12th March, 1488
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