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When Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias rounded the rocky headland of South Africa’s Cape Peninsula in 1488, he became the first European to do so, thus opening the way for a sea route from Europe to Asia. He named it the “Cape of Storms”, because of the perilous sea, but it was later renamed “Cape of Good Hope”, because it brought hopes of a new sea route to India. On his return journey, Dias passed another rocky headland, but he was unaware that this unimpressive point was the southern extremity of Africa. Indeed, many people still believe that Cape of Good Hope is the southern-most tip of the African continent, but that title belongs to Cape Agulhas – the inconspicuous rocky headland about 150 km further south. Incidentally, Cape Agulhas is also the place where the official dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans passes. A stone plaque on the beach marks the place.

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© Amusing Planet, 2014.


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