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  Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

photograph by Noelbsb, published 15 december 2014

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


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Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope (Afrikaans: die Kaap van Goeie Hoop [di ˌkɑːp fɐn ˌχujə ˈɦoə̯p], Dutch: Kaap de Goede Hoop [ˌkaːp də ˌɣudə ˈɦoːp] ( ), Portuguese: Cabo da Boa Esperança [ˈkaβu ðɐ ˈβow.wɐ ʃpɨˈɾɐ̃sɐ]) is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.

There is a misconception 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, about 150 kilometres (90 mi) to the east-southeast. The currents of the two 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 1.2 kilometers east of the Cape of Good Hope).

When following the western side of the African coastline from the equator, however, the Cape of Good Hope marks the point where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward. Thus, the first modern rounding of the cape in 1488 by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias was a milestone in the attempts by the Portuguese to establish direct trade relations with the Far East (although in his histories Herodotus proves, disbelievingly, that some Phoenicians had done so far earlier than this[1]). Dias called the cape Cabo das Tormentas ("Cape of Storms"), which was the original name of the "Cape of Good Hope".[2]

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