The Cape of Good Hope (Afrikaans: Kaap die Goeie Hoop [ˌkɑːp di ˌχujə ˈɦʊəp], Dutch: Kaap de Goede Hoop [ˌkaːb də ˌɣudə ˈɦoːp] (listen), Portuguese: Cabo da Boa Esperança [ˈkaβu ðɐ ˈβoɐ ʃpɨˈɾɐ̃sɐ]) is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.
A common misconception is that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa. This misconception was based on the misbelief that the Cape was the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Contemporary geographic knowledge instead states the southernmost point of Africa 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. That oceanic meeting point fluctuates between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point (about 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) 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 Herodotus mentioned a claim that the Phoenicians had done so far earlier). Dias called the cape Cabo das Tormentas ("Cape of Storms"; Dutch: Stormkaap), which was the original name of the "Cape of Good Hope".
As one of the great capes of the South Atlantic Ocean, the Cape of Good Hope has long been of special significance to sailors, many of whom refer to it simply as "the Cape". It is a waypoint on the Cape Route and 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 is also used in three other ways:
Eudoxus of Cyzicus (/ˈjuːdəksəs/; Greek: Εὔδοξος, Eúdoxos; fl. c. 130 BC) was a Greek navigator for Ptolemy VIII, king of the Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, who found the wreck of a ship in the Indian Ocean that appeared to have come from Gades (today's Cádiz in Spain), rounding the Cape.
When Eudoxus was returning from his second voyage to India, the wind forced him south of the Gulf of Aden and down the coast of Africa for some distance. Somewhere along the coast of East Africa, he found the remains of the ship. Due to its appearance and the story told by the natives, Eudoxus concluded that the ship was from Gades and had sailed anti-clockwise around Africa, passing the Cape and entering the Indian Ocean. This inspired him to repeat the voyage and attempt a circumnavigation of the continent. Organising the expedition on his own account he set sail from Gades and began to work down the African coast. The difficulties were too great, however, and he was obliged to return to Europe.
After this failure he again set out to circumnavigate Africa. His eventual fate is unknown. Although some, such as Pliny, claimed that Eudoxus did achieve his goal, the most probable conclusion is that he perished on the journey.
In the 1450 Fra Mauro map, the Indian Ocean is depicted as connected to the Atlantic. Fra Mauro puts the following inscription by the southern tip of Africa, which he names the "Cape of Diab", describing the exploration by a ship from the East around 1420:
"Around 1420 a ship, or junk, from India crossed the Sea of India towards the Island of Men and the Island of Women, off Cape Diab, between the Green Islands and the shadows. It sailed for 40 days in a south-westerly direction without ever finding anything other than wind and water. According to these people themselves, the ship went some 2,000 miles ahead until - once favourable conditions came to an end - it turned round and sailed back to Cape Diab in 70 days".
"The ships called junks (lit. "Zonchi") that navigate these seas carry four masts or more, some of which can be raised or lowered, and have 40 to 60 cabins for the merchants and only one tiller. They can navigate without a compass, because they have an astrologer, who stands on the side and, with an astrolabe in hand, gives orders to the navigator". (Text from the Fra Mauro map, 09-P25.)
Fra Mauro explained that he obtained the information from "a trustworthy source", who traveled with the expedition, possibly the Venetian explorer Niccolò da Conti who happened to be in Calicut, India at the time the expedition left:
"What is more, I have spoken with a person worthy of trust, who says that he sailed in an Indian ship caught in the fury of a tempest for 40 days out in the Sea of India, beyond the Cape of Soffala and the Green Islands towards west-southwest; and according to the astrologers who act as their guides, they had advanced almost 2,000 miles. Thus one can believe and confirm what is said by both these and those, and that they had therefore sailed 4,000 miles".
Fra Mauro also comments that the account of the expedition, together with the relation by Strabo of the travels of Eudoxus of Cyzicus from Arabia to Gibraltar through the southern Ocean in Antiquity, led him to believe that the Indian Ocean was not a closed sea and that Africa could be circumnavigated by her southern end (Text from Fra Mauro map, 11, G2). This knowledge, together with the map depiction of the African continent, probably encouraged the Portuguese to intensify their effort to round the tip of Africa.
In the Early Modern Era, the first European to reach the cape was the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias on 12 March 1488, who named it the "Cape of Storms" (Cabo das Tormentas). It was later renamed by John II of Portugal as "Cape of Good Hope" (Cabo da Boa Esperança) because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of a sea route to India and the East.
The Khoikhoi people lived in the cape area when the Dutch first settled there in 1652. The Khoikhoi had arrived in this area about fifteen hundred years before. The Dutch called them Hottentots, a term that has now come to be regarded as pejorative.
Dutch colonial administrator Jan van Riebeeck established a resupply camp for the Dutch East India Company some 50 km north of the cape in Table Bay on 6 April 1652 and this eventually developed into Cape Town. Supplies of fresh food were vital on the long journey around Africa and Cape Town became known as "The Tavern of the Seas".
On 31 December 1687 a community of Huguenots (French Protestants) arrived at the Cape of Good Hope from the Netherlands. They had escaped from France and fled to the Netherlands to flee religious persecution in France. One example was Pierre Joubert who came from La Motte-d'Aigues. The Dutch East India Company needed skilled farmers at the Cape of Good Hope and the Dutch Government saw opportunities to settle Huguenots at the Cape and sent them there. The Cape colony gradually grew over the next 150 years or so until it stretched for hundreds of kilometres to the north and north-east.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the Dutch Republic was occupied by the French in 1795. Thus the Cape Colony became a French vassal and enemy of the British. Therefore, the United Kingdom invaded and occupied the Cape Colony that same year. The British relinquished control of the territory in 1803 but returned and reoccupied the Colony on 19 January 1806 following the Battle of Blaauwberg. The Dutch ceded the territory to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 The Cape was then administered as the Cape Colony and it remained a British colony until it was incorporated into the independent Union of South Africa in 1910 (now known as the Republic of South Africa).
The Portuguese government erected two navigational beacons, Dias Cross and da Gama Cross, to commemorate Vasco da Gama and Bartolomeu Dias as explorers who as mentioned were the first explorers to reach the cape. When lined up, the crosses point to Whittle Rock ( ), a large, permanently submerged shipping hazard in False Bay. Two other beacons in Simon's Town provide the intersection.
The Cape of Good Hope is at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula, about 2.3 kilometres (1.4 mi) west and a little south of Cape Point on the south-east corner. Cape Town is about 50 kilometres to the north of the Cape, in Table Bay at the north end of the peninsula. The peninsula forms the western boundary of False Bay. Geologically, the rocks found at the two capes, and indeed over much of the peninsula, are part of the Cape Supergroup, and are formed of the same type of sandstones as Table Mountain itself. Both the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point offer spectacular scenery; the whole of the southernmost portion of the Cape Peninsula is a wild, rugged, scenic and generally unspoiled national park.
The term the Cape has also been used in a wider sense, to indicate the area of the European colony centred on Cape Town, and the later South African province. Since 1994, it has been broken up into three smaller provinces: the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape; parts of the province were also absorbed into the North West.
With its diverse habitat, ranging from rocky mountain tops to beaches and open sea, the Cape of Good Hope is home to at least 250 species of birds including one of the two mainland colonies of African penguins.
"Bush birds" tend to be rather scarce because of the coarse, scrubby nature of fynbos vegetation. When flowering, however, proteas and ericas attract sunbirds, sugarbirds, and other species in search of nectar. For most of the year, there are more small birds in coastal thicket than in fynbos.
The Cape of Good Hope section of Table Mountain National Park is home to several species of antelope. Bontebok and eland are easily seen, and red hartebeest can be seen in the grazing lawns in Smitswinkel Flats. Grey rhebok are less commonly seen and are scarce, but may be observed along the beach hills at Olifantsbos. Most visitors are unlikely to ever see either Cape grysbok or klipspringer.
The Cape of Good Hope section is home to four Cape mountain zebra. They might be seen by the attentive or lucky visitor, usually in Smitswinkel Flats.
The area offers excellent vantage points for whale watching. The southern right whale is the species most likely to be seen in False Bay between June and November. Other species are the humpback whale and Bryde's whale. Seals, dusky dolphins and killer whales have also been seen.
The strategic position of the Cape of Good Hope between two major ocean currents, ensures a rich diversity of marine life. There is a difference between the sea life west of Cape Point and that to the east due to the markedly differing sea temperatures.
The South African Marine Living Resources Act is strictly enforced throughout the Table Mountain National Park, and especially in marine protected areas. Disturbance or removal of any marine organisms is strictly prohibited between Schusters Bay and Hoek van Bobbejaan, but is allowed in other areas during season and with relevant permits.
Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) are the mammals most intimately associated with the Cape of Good Hope. Baboons inside the Cape of Good Hope section of the park are a major tourist attraction. There are 11 troops consisting of about 375 individuals throughout the entire Cape Peninsula. Six of these 11 troops either live entirely within the Cape of Good Hope section of the park, or use the section as part of their range. The Cape Point, Kanonkop, Klein Olifantsbos, and Buffels Bay troops live entirely inside the Cape of Good Hope section of the Park. The Groot Olifantsbos and Plateau Road troops range into the park.
Chacma baboons are widely distributed across southern Africa and are classified as ″least concern" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, the South African Parks Department states in its publication Mountains in the Sea that the baboon population on the Cape is "critically endangered." This is due to habitat loss, genetic isolation, and conflicts with humans. Cape baboons have been eliminated from the majority of their range across the Cape Peninsula, and the Cape of Good Hope section of Table Mountain National Park provides a sanctuary for the troops that live within its boundaries. It provides relative safety from nearby towns, where people have killed many baboons after the baboons raid their houses looking for food. Baboons are also frequently injured or killed outside of the park by cars and by electrocution on power lines. Inside the park, some management policies such as allowing barbecues and picnics in the baboon home ranges cause detriment to the troops, as they become embroiled in conflicts with guests to the park.
The Cape of Good Hope is an integral part of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, the smallest but richest of the world's six floral kingdoms. This comprises a treasure trove of 1100 species of indigenous plants, of which a number are endemic (occur naturally nowhere else on earth). The main type of fynbos ("fine bush") vegetation at the Cape of Good Hope is Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos, an endangered vegetation type that is endemic to the Cape Peninsula. Coastal Hangklip Sand Fynbos grows on low-lying alkaline sands and, right by the sea, small patches of Cape Flats Dune Strandveld can be found.
Characteristic fynbos plants include proteas, ericas (heath), and restios (reeds). Some of the most striking and well-known members belong to the Proteacae family, of which up to 24 species occur. These include king protea, sugarbush, tree pincushion and golden cone bush (Leucadendron laureolum).
In May 1895, Queen Victoria authorised Colonial governments to adopt various British military medals and to award them to their local military forces. The Cape of Good Hope introduced this system in September 1895 and, in 1896, instituted the Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Cape of Good Hope).Cape Colony
The Cape of Good Hope, also known as the Cape Colony (Dutch: Kaapkolonie), was a British colony in present-day South Africa, named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Dutch colony of the same name, the Kaap de Goede Hoop, established in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company. The Cape was under Dutch rule from 1652 to 1795 and again from 1803 to 1806. The Dutch lost the colony to Great Britain following the 1795 Battle of Muizenberg, but had it returned following the 1802 Peace of Amiens. It was re-occupied by the UK following the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806, and British possession affirmed with the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814.
The Cape of Good Hope then remained in the British Empire, becoming self-governing in 1872, and uniting with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa in 1910. It then was renamed the Province of the Cape of Good Hope. South Africa became a sovereign state in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster. In 1961 it became the Republic of South Africa and obtained its own monetary unit called the Rand. Following the 1994 creation of the present-day South African provinces, the Cape Province was partitioned into the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and Western Cape, with smaller parts in North West province.
The Cape of Good Hope was coextensive with the later Cape Province, stretching from the Atlantic coast inland and eastward along the southern coast, constituting about half of modern South Africa: the final eastern boundary, after several wars against the Xhosa, stood at the Fish River. In the north, the Orange River, also known as the Gariep River, served as the boundary for some time, although some land between the river and the southern boundary of Botswana was later added to it. From 1878, the colony also included the enclave of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands, both in what is now Namibia.Cape Province
The Province of the Cape of Good Hope (Afrikaans: Provinsie van die Kaap die Goeie Hoop), commonly referred to as the Cape Province (Afrikaans: Kaapprovinsie) and colloquially as The Cape (Afrikaans: Die Kaap), was a province in the Union of South Africa and subsequently the Republic of South Africa. It encompassed the old Cape Colony, and had Cape Town as its capital. Following the end of the Apartheid era, the Cape Province was split up to form the new Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces, along with part of the North West.Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal
The Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal is a British campaign medal which was awarded to members of the Cape Colonial Forces who took part in three campaigns in and around the Cape of Good Hope, in Basutoland in 1880–1881, in Transkei in 1880–1881 and in Bechuanaland in 1896–1897.Commander-in-Chief, Africa (Royal Navy)
The Commander-in-Chief, Africa was the last title of a British Royal Navy's formation commander located in South Africa from 1795 to 1939. Under varying titles, it was one of the longest-lived formations of the Royal Navy. It was also often known as the Cape of Good Hope Station.Huguenots in South Africa
A large number of people of European heritage in South Africa are descended from Huguenots. Most of these originally settled in the Cape Colony, but were absorbed into the Afrikaner and Afrikaans-speaking population, because they had religious similarities to the Dutch colonists.
Even before the large-scale arrival of the Huguenots at the Cape of Good Hope in the 17th century, a small number of individual Huguenot refugees settled there. They included Francois Villion, later known as Viljoen, and the du Toit brothers. In fact, the first Huguenot to arrive at the Cape of Good Hope was Maria de la Quellerie, the wife of governor Jan van Riebeeck, who started the settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 on behalf of the Dutch East India Company; however, she and her husband left for Batavia after ten years.
After a commissioner was sent out from the Cape Colony in 1685 to attract more settlers, a more dedicated group of immigrants began to arrive. A larger number of French refugees began to arrive in the Cape after leaving their country as a result of the Edict of Fontainebleau (1685), which revoked the Edict of Nantes (1598) that had granted religious toleration to Protestants.
On 31 December 1687 a group of Huguenots set sail from France as the first of the large scale emigration of Huguenots to the Cape of Good Hope, which took place during 1688 and 1689. In total some 180 Huguenots from France, and 18 Walloons from the present-day Belgium, eventually settled at the Cape of Good Hope. A notable example of this is the emigration of Huguenots from La Motte d'Aigues in Provence, France. After this large scale emigration, individual Huguenot immigrant families arrived at the Cape of Good Hope as late as the first quarter of the 18th century, and the state-subsidised emigration of Huguenots was stopped in 1706.
This small body of immigrants had a marked influence on the character of the Dutch settlers. They were purposely spread out and given farms amongst the Dutch farmers. Owing to the policy instituted in 1701 of the Dutch East India Company which dictated that schools should teach exclusively in Dutch, that all official correspondence had to be done in Dutch, and strict laws of assembly, the Huguenots ceased by the middle of the 18th century to maintain a distinct identity, and the knowledge of French diminished and eventually disappeared as a home language. This assimilation into the colonial population was also due to the fact that many Huguenot descendants married individuals from the Dutch population.Invasion of the Cape Colony
The Invasion of the Cape Colony was a British military expedition launched in 1795 against the Dutch Cape Colony at the Cape of Good Hope, the southern tip of Southern Africa. The Dutch colony at the Cape, established in the seventeenth century, was at the time the only viable South African port for ships making the journey from Europe to the European colonies in the East Indies. It therefore held vital strategic importance, although it was otherwise economically insignificant. In the winter of 1794, during the French Revolutionary Wars, French troops entered the Dutch Republic, which was reformed into the Batavian Republic. In response, Great Britain launched operations against the Dutch Empire to use its facilities against the French Navy.
The British expedition was led by Vice-Admiral Sir George Keith Elphinstone and sailed in April 1795, arriving off Simon's Town at the cape in June. Attempts were made to negotiate a settlement with the colony, but talks achieved nothing and an amphibious landing was made on 7 August. A short battle was fought at Muizenberg, and skirmishing between British and Dutch forces continued until September when a larger military force landed. With Cape Town under threat, Dutch governor, Abraham Josias Sluysken, surrendered the colony. Elphinstone subsequently strengthened the garrison against counterattack and stationed a Royal Navy squadron off the port. Almost a year later a Dutch reinforcement convoy reached the colony only to find that it was badly outnumbered, and surrendered without a fight. The British occupation continued until the Peace of Amiens in 1802 when it was returned to the Dutch. In 1806, during the Napoleonic Wars, a second British invasion reoccupied the colony after the Battle of Blaauwberg and it remained a British colony until the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910.Meritorious Service Medal (Cape of Good Hope)
In May 1895, Queen Victoria authorised Colonial governments to adopt various British military medals and to award them to members of their local permanent military forces. The Cape of Good Hope introduced this system in September 1895 and, in 1896, instituted the Meritorious Service Medal (Cape of Good Hope).The medal is a distinctive Colonial version of the British Meritorious Service Medal. It was coupled to a Meritorious Service Annuity and was awarded in limited numbers, usually upon retirement, to selected warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers of the Permanent Force of the Cape of Good Hope who had completed twenty-one years of meritorious service.Namaqualand 0-4-2IST Caledonia
The Cape Copper Company 0-4-2IST Caledonia of 1904 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1904, a single 0-4-2 inverted saddle-tank locomotive was placed in service by the Cape Copper Company as a shunting engine at O'okiep in Namaqualand in the Cape of Good Hope.Namaqualand 0-4-2T Britannia
The Cape Copper Company 0-4-2T Britannia of 1905 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1905, a single 0-4-2 tank locomotive was placed in service by the Cape Copper Company as a shunting engine at Port Nolloth in the Cape of Good Hope.Namaqualand 0-6-0T
The Namaqualand 0-6-0T of 1871 were two South African steam locomotives from the pre-Union era in the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1871, two 2 feet 6 inches (762 millimetres) gauge tank locomotives with a 0-6-0 wheel arrangement were placed in service by the Cape Copper Mining Company. They were the first steam locomotives to enter service on the hitherto mule-powered Namaqualand Railway between Port Nolloth and the Namaqualand copper mines around O'okiep in the northwestern Cape of Good Hope.Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope
The Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope functioned as the legislature of the Cape Colony, from its founding in 1853, until the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, when it was dissolved and the Parliament of South Africa was established. It consisted of the House of Assembly (the lower house) and the legislative council (the upper house).Postage stamps and postal history of the Cape of Good Hope
This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Cape of Good Hope.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, led by the explorer Bartolomeu Dias. Table Bay, for over one hundred years known as Saldanha (named after one of Albuquerque's sea captains), became a convenient harbor on the long, hard and dangerous sea voyage to the East. Here letters were left and exchanged with ships sailing back to Europe. Frequently, packets of letters were left under postal stones inscribed in French, Dutch and Danish, which became the first, unmanned, post offices of the Cape. The earliest of these, dated 1619, was inscribed in English. A supply camp was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 in the area which later became Cape Town. It was first occupied by British Forces in 1795. Since 1814 it was a British Colony until it was incorporated into the Union of South Africa, as the Cape Province, on 31 May 1910.Revenue stamps of the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope issued revenue stamps from 1864 to 1961. There were a number of different stamps for several taxes.Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope
The Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, is the oldest continuously existing scientific institution in South Africa. Founded by the British Board of Longitude in 1820, it now forms the headquarters building of the South African Astronomical Observatory.
The institution was located on a small hill 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south-east from the centre of Cape Town. Over the following century a suburb of the city grew up in the area; the suburb was named Observatory after the pre-existing Royal Observatory. It was declared a National Heritage Site in December, 2018 and has also been the subject of an ICOMOS/IAU Case Study as a World Heritage Site.South African Astronomical Observatory
South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the national centre for optical and infrared astronomy in South Africa. It was established in 1972. The observatory is run by the National Research Foundation of South Africa. The facility's function is to conduct research in astronomy and astrophysics. The primary telescopes are located in Sutherland, which is 370 kilometres (230 mi) from Observatory, Cape Town, where the headquarters is located.The SAAO has links worldwide for scientific and technological collaboration. Instrumental contributions from the South African Astronomical Observatory include the development of a spherical aberration corrector and the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT).
The Noon Gun on Cape Town's Signal Hill is fired remotely by a time signal from the Observatory.University of South Africa
The University of South Africa (UNISA), and colloquially Unisa, is the largest university system in both South Africa and Africa by enrollment. It attracts a third of all higher education students in South Africa. Through various colleges and affiliates, UNISA has over 300,000 students, including international students from 130 countries worldwide, making it one of the world's mega universities and only such university in Africa.
UNISA is a dedicated open distance education institution. Distance learning (ODL) entails a student-centred approach that gives students flexibility and choice over what, when, where, and how they learn, and provides them with extensive student support.
As a comprehensive university, Unisa offers both vocational and academic programmes, many of which have received international accreditation, as well as an extensive geographical footprint, giving their students recognition and employability in many countries the world over.University of the Cape of Good Hope
The University of the Cape of Good Hope, renamed the University of South Africa in 1916, was created when the Molteno government passed Act 16 of 1873 in the Cape of Good Hope Parliament. Modelled on the University of London, it offered examinations but not tuition, and had the power to confer degrees upon successful examination candidates. Today, this function still exists within the Department of Music where, for over 100 years, music pupils have been examined.Western Cape Division
The Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa (previously named the Cape Provincial Division and the Western Cape High Court, and commonly known as the Cape High Court) is a superior court of law with general jurisdiction over the Western Cape province of South Africa. The division, which sits at Cape Town, consists of 31 judges led by Judge President John Hlophe.