The Cape of Good Hope is a headland on the Atlantic coast side of South Africa. It is known for its spectacular scenery. It was originally named the Cape of Storms by Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias in 1488. It was later renamed, by King John II of Portugal, the Cape of Good Hope because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of a sea route to India & the East.
The Cape plays an important role in South African history as a stopping point for trading ships sailing between Europe & the European colonies in the east. Initially, Europeans bartered with the local Khoikhoi people for food & water but in 1652 the Dutch East India Company established a small provision station in the sheltered bay behind the Cape peninsula, forming the first European settlement in the region. Legend has it that the ghosts of the crew of The Flying Dutchman haunt the headland & its waters, though people are much more likely to see penguins.
The Cape peninsula is also rich in wildlife, particularly birds & is one of eight protected areas in the region, jointly designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the richness of its plant life & many of the species are unique. The shore of the peninsula is home to the cape gannet, the African black oystercatcher & four species of cormorant, but the most famous feathered residents are the colony of African penguins at Boulders Beach.
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