Cape of Good Hope

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The Cape of Good Hope (Afrikaans: Kaap die Goeie Hoop, Dutch: Kaap de Goede Hoop, Portuguese: Cabo da Boa Esperança) is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of South Africa.

There is a very common conception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the southernmost point is Cape Agulhas ("ah-GOOL-yuss"), about 150 kilometres (90 mi) to the east-southeast. The Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at the point where the warm-water Agulhas current meets the cold-water Benguela current and turns back on itself - a point that fluctuates between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point, about one kilometre east of the Cape of Good Hope.

When following the African coastline from the equator, however, the Cape of Good Hope marks the psychologically important point where one begins to travel more eastward than southward. Thus the first rounding of the cape in 1488 by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias was a major milestone in the attempts by the Portuguese to establish direct trade relations with the Far East. He called the cape Cabo Tormentoso.

As one of the great capes of the South Atlantic Ocean, the Cape of Good Hope has been of special significance to sailors for many years and is widely referred to by them simply as "the Cape."[1] It is a major milestone on the clipper route followed by clipper ships to the Far East and Australia, and still followed by several offshore yacht races.

The term Cape of Good Hope was also used to indicate the early Cape Colony established in 1652, in the vicinity of the Cape Peninsula. Just prior to the formation of the Union of South Africa, the term referred to the entire region that was to become the Cape Province in 1910.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.

References

  1. Along the Clipper Way, Francis Chichester; page 78. Hodder & Stoughton, 1966. ISBN 0-340-00191-7