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

Cape Trafalgar (/trəˈfælɡər/;[1] Spanish: Cabo Trafalgar [ˈkaβo tɾafalˈɣaɾ], Arabic: رأس طرف الغرب‎) 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 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, corresponding possibly to Taraf al-Gharb (طرف الغرب 'cape of the west')[2][3] or Taraf al-Ghar (طرف الغار 'cape of the cave/laurel').[4][5][3]

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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Coordinates: 36°11′N 6°2′W / 36.183°N 6.033°W / 36.183; -6.033