Cape Trafalgar

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This article is about a geographic region in Spain. For the German ship of the same name, see SMS Cap Trafalgar.
Cape Trafalgar
Cabo de Trafalgar
Spain Cabo Trafalgar.jpg
Cape Trafalgar lighthouse
Map showing the location of Cape Trafalgar
Map showing the location of Cape Trafalgar
Location in Andalusia
Coordinates 36°11′N 6°2′W / 36.183°N 6.033°W / 36.183; -6.033Coordinates: 36°11′N 6°2′W / 36.183°N 6.033°W / 36.183; -6.033

Cape Trafalgar (/trəˈfælɡər/;[1] Spanish: Cabo Trafalgar [ˈkaβo tɾafalˈɣaɾ]) is a headland in the Province of Cádiz in the south-west of Spain. The 1805 naval Battle of Trafalgar, in which the Royal Navy decisively defeated Napoleon's combined Spanish and French fleet, took place off the cape.

It lies on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the Strait of Gibraltar at 36°10'58"N, 6°2'2"W. The International Hydrographic Organization defines the Western limit of the strait and the Mediterranean Sea as a line that joins Cape Trafalgar to the North to Cape Spartel to the south.

The most prominent structure on the cape is a 34-metre-high lighthouse (51 metres above sea level), the faro de Cabo Trafalgar, built in 1860.


The name is of Arabic origin, Taraf al-Ghar (طرف الغار 'cape of the cave/laurel').[2][3][4] Or corresponding possibly to Taraf al-Gharb (طرف الغرب 'cape of the west')[5][4]

In both cases, taraf (طرف) literally means 'edge' or 'extremity'[6] and hence refers to a promontory (edge of the land).

In modern Arabic, however, the place is sometimes re-transcribed as al-Taraf al-Aghar (الطرف الأغر).[7]


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