L'Agulhas, Western Cape


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The most southerly cape on the African continent was named in 1488 by Portuguese navigator, Bartholomeu Dias, Cape L'Agulhas -'Cape of the Needle' - the reference was to the compass needle which swung in various directions when the Portuguese vessels rounded the cape. Dias found that the magnetic needle and true north coincided. In modern idiom, there was no magnetic declination or variation. Within the forty km range of the lighthouse, the coast is fringed with dangerous reefs on which more ships have been wrecked than on any part of the South African coast.

For information on Agulhas National Park see A Quick Guide To South Africa's National Parks.

List of references:

Fransen, Hans. 2004. The old buildings of the Cape. A survey of extant architecture from before c1910 in the area of Cape Town - Calvinia - Colesberg - Uitenhage. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. pp 447-448
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 81

List of buildings:

Church: n.d..
Fishtraps: Pre-Industrial. Cape Agulhas National Park, district
Lighthouse, Cape Agulhas : 1848.
Ratelrivier: late 1700+. Cape Agulhas National Park, district
Rhenosterkop: late 1700+. Cape Agulhas National Park, district
Rietfontein: late 1700+. Cape Agulhas National Park, district
Saltworks: 1900s. Cape Agulhas National Park, district