Answer to Question #190544 in Geography for Nana Yaw

Question #190544

Account for the crossing of Cape Bojador and the Spanish explorations that ensued during the Age of Discovery.

Expert's answer

The first European sailor to circumnavigate Cape Bojador in 1434 was the Portuguese sailor Gil Eanes. Prior to this, the cape was considered insurmountable due to strong northeasterly winds. But more terrible than the winds for sailors were superstitions: for many centuries it was believed that navigation beyond this cape was impossible, because the sea was teeming with monsters who butted, and the ships' gear caught fire.

In 1452-1456, the popes Nicholas V and Calixtus III granted Portugal the right to own the lands open to the south and east of Cape Bohador, "down to the Indians."

In 1884, Spain declared the coastal region from Cape Bojador to the Cap Blanc Peninsula as its protectorate. In 1975, under the Madrid Treaty, the territory was ceded to Morocco, but in connection with the proclamation of the SADR in 1976, control over this region is still contested.

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