Cape St. Vincent

Cape St. Vincent ( _pt. Cabo de São Vicente, IPA2|'kabu dɨ sɐ̃ũ vi'sẽtɨ), next to the Sagres Point, on the so-called "Costa Vicentina" (Vincentine Coast), is a headland in the municipality of Sagres, in the Algarve, southern Portugal.

Description

This cape is the southwesternmost point in Europe. It forms the southwestern end of the E9 European Coastal Path, which runs for 5000 km (3125 miles) to Narva-Jõesuu in Estonia.Approximately six kilometers from the village of Sagres, the cape is a landmark for a ship traveling to or from the Mediterranean. The cliffs rise nearly vertically from the Atlantic to a height of 75 meters.

The cape is a site of exuberant marine life and a high concentration of birds nesting on the cliffs, such as the rare Bonelli's eagle, peregrine falcons, kites, rock thrushes, rock pigeons, storks and herons.

History

Cape St. Vincent was already sacred ground in Neolithic times, as standing menhirs in the neighborhood attest. The ancient Greeks called it Ophiussa (Land of Serpents), inhabited by the Oestriminis and dedicated here a temple to Heracles. The Romans called it "Promontorium Sacrum" (or Holy Promontory). They considered it a magical place where the sunset was much larger than anywhere else. They believed the sun sank here hissing into the ocean, marking the edge of their world.

According to legend, the name of this cape is linked to the story of a fourth-century martyred Spanish priest St. Vincent whose body was brought ashore here. A shrine was erected over his grave; according to the Arab geographer Al-Idrisi, it was always guarded by ravens. King Afonso Henriques (1139-1185) had the body of the saint exhumed in 1173 and brought it by ship to Lisbon, still accompanied by the ravens.

The area around the cape was plundered several times by pirates from France and Holland and, in 1587, by Sir Francis Drake. All existing buildings, including the "Vila do Infante" of Henry the Navigator fell into ruins because of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. The Franciscan monks stayed on until 1834, when all monasteries were disbanded in Portugal.
Several naval battles were fought in the vicinity of this cape:
*The French Admiral Anne Hilarion de Tourville defeated a small Anglo-Dutch naval fleet commanded by Sir George Rooke escorting a convoy of between 400 and 500 English and Dutch merchant ships on 27 June 1693. The "Smyrna fleet" disaster, as it came to be known, saw ninety-four of the richly-laden merchant ships either captured or sunk; this event led to the dismissal of two English admirals whose convoy escort had turned back off Ushant, France.
*In 1780, this cape was the site of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent (between Britain and Spain).
*Admiral Jervis with Admiral Nelson defeated the Spanish fleet in 1797 at a second Battle of Cape St. Vincent.
*In 1833, a Loyalist Portugese fleet defeated the Miguelites during Portugal's Liberal Wars.

Lighthouse

The present lighthouse was built over the ruins of a sixteenth-century Franciscan convent in 1846. The statues of St. Vincent and St. Francis Xavier had been moved to the nearby church of Nossa Senhora da Graça on Point Sagres. This lighthouse, guarding one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, is the second most powerful in Europe; its two 1000-watt lamps can be seen as far as 60 kilometers away.

2007 earthquake

In February 12, 2007, an earthquake of magnitude 5.8 on the Richter scale struck about 160 kilometers east of the cape. [ [http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/0212/portugal.html "Earthquake off coast of the Algarve"] ]

Notes

References

*The Rough Guide to Portugal - 11th ed., March 2005; ISBN 1-84353-438-X
*Rentes de Carvalho J. - Portugal, um guia para amigos (in Dutch translation : Portugal); de Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam; 9th ed., August 1999; ISBN 90-295-3466-4


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cape St. Vincent —    Bk British naval victory of, 10 …   The makers of Canada

  • Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1780) — Battle of Cape St. Vincent Part of the America …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Cape St Vincent (1797) — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Cape St. Vincent partof=the French Revolutionary Wars campaign=Mediterranean Theater French Revolutionary Wars caption= The Battle of Cape St Vincent, 14 February 1797 by Robert Cleveley date=14… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Cape St. Vincent — Four naval battles have taken place near Cape St. Vincent on the southern coast of Portugal, near the Strait of Gibraltar: *The Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1693) took place during the Nine Years War. *The Battle of Cape St. Vincent (January 16… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1833) — Warbox conflict=Battle of Cape St. Vincent partof= Liberal Wars campaign= caption= date=5 July, 1833 place=Cape St. Vincent result=Loyalist victory combatant1=flagicon|Portugal|1830 Loyalist Portuguese combatant2= Miguelites commander1=Charles… …   Wikipedia

  • cape — cape1 caped, adj. /kayp/, n., v., caped, caping. n. 1. a sleeveless garment of various lengths, fastened around the neck and falling loosely from the shoulders, worn separately or attached to a coat or other outer garment. 2. the capa of a… …   Universalium

  • Vincent — /vin seuhnt/, n. 1. Saint, died A.D. 304, Spanish martyr: patron saint of winegrowers. 2. a male given name: from a Latin word meaning conquering. * * * (as used in expressions) Atanasoff John Vincent Beardsley Aubrey Vincent Benét Stephen… …   Universalium

  • Cape Vincent (town), New York — Cape Vincent is a town in Jefferson County, New York, USA. The population was 3,345 at the 2000 census.The Town of Cape Vincent is located in the northwest part of the county. In the town is a village also called Cape Vincent. Both town and… …   Wikipedia

  • Cape Vincent, New York — may refer to: * Cape Vincent (town), New York * Cape Vincent (village), New York …   Wikipedia

  • Cape Cod Buccaneers — Gründung 1981 Auflösung 1982 Geschichte Cape Cod Buccaneers 1981 – 1982 Stadion Cape Cod Coliseum Standort South Yarmouth, Massac …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”