On 1 September 1853, the first triangular postage stamp was issued in the Cape of Good Hope, which was a British colony at the time. The triangular shaped stamp, which became known as the Cape Triangular, was the first stamp to be issued in Africa.
It’s currently one of the 13 most valuable stamps in the world, estimated at US$40,000.
The stamp was designed by Charles Davidson Bell, who was Surveyor General of the Cape Colony at the time. The triangular shape of the stamp was a unique design for a stamp during this period, which depicted the figure of Hope. Sir George Cathcart had supposedly suggested that the stamps look completely different from those of the British.
The reason for these stamps was allegedly due to the fact that postage was based on distance, and therefore proved unfairly expensive. The Cape Triangular stamps appeared in two values, the “four pence blue” and the “one penny red”, and could be used to pay inland post only.
Source: Wallis, F. (2000) Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau
The Cape Agulhas lighthouse began operating on 1 March 1849.
The lighthouse was based on the design of the ancient lighthouse of Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the world and it was built from limestone.
Today, the Agulhas lighthouse is the second oldest working lighthouse in South Africa (the oldest being the Greenpoint lighthouse) and was declared a national monument in 1973.
The Cape Agulhas lighthouse is 27 metres tall, and its beam can be seen up to 31 nautical miles away. It is used in combination with a radio transmitter to warn ships not to come too close to shore.
Agulhas is Portuguese for ‘needle’, the name is said to have been given to the cape because the compass-needle was seen to point due north, that is, with no magnetic deviation.
The Cape of Good Hope, south of Cape Town is a famous landmark for maritime navigators.
This famous landmark is also known as the Cape of Storms, named by the brave Portuguese navigators who explored the southern ocean in the 16th century. The early Spice Route around the Cape has evolved into a busy shipping route and rich fishing grounds. It is regarded as the mythical meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, although geographically Cape Agulhas is the most southern tip of the African continent.