Eudoxus of Cyzicus (/; Greek: Εὔδοξος, Eúdoxos; fl. c. 130 BC) was a Greek navigator for Ptolemy VIII, king of the Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, who found the wreck of a ship in the Indian Ocean that appeared to have come from Gades (today's Cádiz in Spain), rounding the Cape.
When Eudoxus was returning from his second voyage to India, the wind forced him south of the Gulf of Aden and down the coast of Africa for some distance. Somewhere along the coast of East Africa, he found the remains of the ship. Due to its appearance and the story told by the natives, Eudoxus concluded that the ship was from Gades and had sailed anti-clockwise around Africa, passing the Cape and entering the Indian Ocean. This inspired him to repeat the voyage and attempt a circumnavigation of the continent. Organising the expedition on his own account he set sail from Gades and began to work down the African coast. The difficulties were too great, however, and he was obliged to return to Europe.
After this failure he again set out to circumnavigate Africa. His eventual fate is unknown. Although some, such as Pliny, claimed that Eudoxus did achieve his goal, the most probable conclusion is that he perished on the journey.
In the 1450 Fra Mauro map, the Indian Ocean is depicted as connected to the Atlantic. Fra Mauro puts the following inscription by the southern tip of Africa, which he names the "Cape of Diab", describing the exploration by a ship from the East around 1420:
Detail of the Fra Mauro Map describing the construction of the junks that navigate in the Indian Ocean.
Around 1420 a ship, or junk, from India crossed the Sea of India towards the Island of Men and the Island of Women, off Cape Diab, between the Green Islands and the shadows. It sailed for 40 days in a south-westerly direction without ever finding anything other than wind and water. According to these people themselves, the ship went some 2,000 miles ahead until – once favourable conditions came to an end – it turned round and sailed back to Cape Diab in 70 days.
The ships called junks (lit. "Zonchi") that navigate these seas carry four masts or more, some of which can be raised or lowered, and have 40 to 60 cabins for the merchants and only one tiller. They can navigate without a compass, because they have an astrologer, who stands on the side and, with an astrolabe in hand, gives orders to the navigator. (Text from the Fra Mauro map, 09-P25.)
Fra Mauro explained that he obtained the information from "a trustworthy source", who traveled with the expedition, possibly the Venetian explorer Niccolò da Conti who happened to be in Calicut, India at the time the expedition left:
What is more, I have spoken with a person worthy of trust, who says that he sailed in an Indian ship caught in the fury of a tempest for 40 days out in the Sea of India, beyond the Cape of Soffala and the Green Islands towards west-southwest; and according to the astrologers who act as their guides, they had advanced almost 2,000 miles. Thus one can believe and confirm what is said by both these and those, and that they had therefore sailed 4,000 miles.
Fra Mauro also comments that the account of the expedition, together with the relation by Strabo of the travels of Eudoxus of Cyzicus from Arabia to Gibraltar through the southern Ocean in Antiquity, led him to believe that the Indian Ocean was not a closed sea and that Africa could be circumnavigated by her southern end (Text from Fra Mauro map, 11, G2). This knowledge, together with the map depiction of the African continent, probably encouraged the Portuguese to intensify their effort to round the tip of Africa.
Map showing the Cape Peninsula
, illustrating the position of the Cape of Good Hope. The main mountains and their peaks, including Table Mountain
, and its relation to the City of Cape Town
Map of the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas
the southernmost point of Africa.
Reproduction of the Cross of Vasco da Gama
at the Cape of Good Hope.
In the Early Modern Era, the first European to reach the cape was the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias on 12 March 1488, who named it the "Cape of Storms" (Cabo das Tormentas). It was later renamed by John II of Portugal as "Cape of Good Hope" (Cabo da Boa Esperança) because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of a sea route to India and the East.
The Khoikhoi people lived in the cape area when the Dutch first settled there in 1652. The Khoikhoi had arrived in this area about fifteen hundred years before. The Dutch called them Hottentots, a term that has now come to be regarded as pejorative.
Dutch colonial administrator Jan van Riebeeck established a resupply camp for the Dutch East India Company some 50 km north of the cape in Table Bay on 6 April 1652 and this eventually developed into Cape Town. Supplies of fresh food were vital on the long journey around Africa and Cape Town became known as "The Tavern of the Seas".
On 31 December 1687 a community of Huguenots (French Protestants) arrived at the Cape of Good Hope from the Netherlands. They had escaped from France and fled to the Netherlands to flee religious persecution in France. One example was Pierre Joubert who came from La Motte-d'Aigues. The Dutch East India Company needed skilled farmers at the Cape of Good Hope and the Dutch Government saw opportunities to settle Huguenots at the Cape and sent them there. The Cape colony gradually grew over the next 150 years or so until it stretched for hundreds of kilometres to the north and north-east.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the Dutch Republic was occupied by the French in 1795. Thus the Cape Colony became a French vassal and enemy of the British. Therefore, the United Kingdom invaded and occupied the Cape Colony that same year. The British relinquished control of the territory in 1803 but returned and reoccupied the Colony on 19 January 1806 following the Battle of Blaauwberg. The Dutch ceded the territory to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 The Cape was then administered as the Cape Colony and it remained a British colony until it was incorporated into the independent Union of South Africa in 1910 (now known as the Republic of South Africa).
The Portuguese government erected two navigational beacons, Dias Cross and da Gama Cross, to commemorate Vasco da Gama and Bartolomeu Dias as explorers who as mentioned were the first explorers to reach the cape. When lined up, the crosses point to Whittle Rock (34°21′24.63″S 18°28′26.36″E / 34°21′24.63″S 18°28′26.36″E / -34.3568417; 18.4739889), a large, permanently submerged shipping hazard in False Bay. Two other beacons in Simon's Town provide the intersection.