Cape Town, South Africa
It was in Cape Town that settlement by people from Europe began in South Africa some 348 years ago when, in 1652, the Dutch East India Company established a refreshment station to provision it's ships on long voyages between Holland and the East Indies.
South Africa's history basically starts in Cape Town, and is discussed further in the in the history section.
Navigating the Cape was so perilous for early sailors that it became known as the "the Cape of Storms. In 1486 the Portugese mariner Bartolomeu Diaz became the first to round the Cape. He was followed 11 years later by a countryman Vasco da Gama, who was the first to complete the voyage around Africa to India. It has been known ever since as the Cape of Good Hope. TABLE MOUNTAIN was named by another Portuguese navigator Antonio da Saldhana in 1503, and he was probably the first European to make a recorded climb of the 1,000 m massif.
From a small settlement in 1652 of 116 able men and some families, Cape Town has grown into a modern city, with a municipal area of over 300 square kilometers (115 square miles) and a rapidly growing population of over 3 million.
The Dutch who settled there in the mid-17th century and the British who annexed the Cape Colony in 1806 left thier marks on the cultural traditions and in the form of many splendid buildings in and around the building.
A excellent example is the THE CASTLE OF GOOD HOPE, a medieval fortress in the heart of the business district. Built in 1667 to protect the new settlement, it is now the oldest European structure in South Africa. The battlements are laid out in the form of a 5-pointed star as specified in 17th century military strategy. The object was to ensure that each angle of the castle defense was overlooked by another so that attackers could be fired on both from above and from the side. In fact, a shot was never fired in anger.
Cape Town is the legeslative capital of South Africa