The sea route to the East

Although historians of the past had a tendancy to forget that there had been a variety of indigenous inhabitants of the Cape Peninsula long before the 15th century, it is from this time that the history of the Peninsula is most well known. It was during the 15th century that European seafarers searched for a sea route to the East. Such a route would enable them to outflank the the Islamic empire in its control of trade to the Meditteranean region.

The first European reputed to have rounded the cape was Bartholemew Dias. With a small fleet of 3 vessels he left Portugal in 1487. Off the Namibian coast he was battered by strong winds and driven South. Eventually they were able to turn East but found only open sea. Turning North they eventually encountered land and realised they had “turned the corner” and rounded the South of Africa.

Cape Point

Dias Beach The Southern most beach at Cape Point.

Dias reportedly named the Peninsula the “Cape of Storms”but when he reached Portgal and reported his discovery King John renamed it the “Cape of Good Hope”

Explore Cape Point on a guided hike with Ridgway Ramblers.