The Cape of Good Hope?

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The Cape of Good Hope?

The author is the head of the sports team at the JoongAng Ilbo.

German poet Heinrich Heine (1797~1856)’s novel “From the Memoirs of Herr Schnabelewopski” is a story about a ghost ship. A Dutch captain left Europe and sailed along the western coast of Africa, and he continues the voyage into a storm. The devil is furious and curses the captain to wander around the ocean. The curse will be lifted when he meets a woman he loves, and he gets to search for the woman once in seven years.

Based on this story, German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) composed his opera, “The Flying Dutchman.” There was a ship that shared the same name. In 1641, the Flying Dutchman set sail from Amsterdam, and Captain Hendrick Van der Decken continued the voyage despite bad weather, and the ship sank near the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa.

The first European to sail to the southern tip is a matter of historical debate. It used to be widely believed that Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias (1451-1500) sailed along the Western coast of Africa and reached the Cape of Good Hope in 1488. Modern historians found that the timing must have been earlier than that based on Herodotus’ “History.” It records that Phoenicians sailed in the sea near the Cape of Good Hope during the reign of Necho II in the 26th Dynasty of ancient Egypt. It was around 600 BC, more than 2,000 years before Dias. Nevertheless, it was Dias that put the “name” on the southern tip of Africa. He named the land from which a south-bound ship turned to the east the “Cape of Storms.” Portugal’s King Juan II changed the name to the Cape of Good Hope.

The Suez Canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean was blocked after a container ship named Ever Given got stuck. HMM and other Korean shipping operators travelling through Europe and Asia decided to sail around the Cape of Good Hope. The detour takes longer and is more expensive as nearly 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles) are added. Since the Suez Canal opened in 1869, this is the second time ships have had to detour around the Cape of Good Hope, after the Middle East conflicts between 1967 and 1975. Ships going to the Cape of Good Hope means there is trouble on Earth. If Juan II had known, would he have given it the same name?

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