Cape Finisterre

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Cape Finisterre
Finisterre on the Atlantic coast of Galicia
Location Galicia, Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Coordinates 42°52′57″N9°16′20″W / 42.88250°N 9.27222°W / 42.88250; -9.27222 Coordinates: 42°52′57″N9°16′20″W / 42.88250°N 9.27222°W / 42.88250; -9.27222
Offshore water bodies Atlantic Ocean

Cape Finisterre ( /ˌfɪnɪˈstɛər/ , [1] [2] also US: /-tɛri/ ; [3] Galician : Cabo Fisterra [fisˈtɛrɐ] ; Spanish : Cabo Finisterre [finisˈtere] ) is a rock-bound peninsula on the west coast of Galicia, Spain. [4]

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is considered to be the world's most influential dialect of English.

Galician language Language of the Western Ibero-Romance

Galician is an Indo-European language of the Western Ibero-Romance branch. It is spoken by some 2.4 million people, mainly in Galicia, an autonomous community located in northwestern Spain, where it is official along with Spanish. The language is also spoken in some border zones of the neighboring Spanish regions of Asturias and Castile and León, as well as by Galician migrant communities in the rest of Spain, in Latin America including Puerto Rico, the United States, Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe.

Spanish or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 450 million native speakers in Spain and the Americas. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.


In Roman times it was believed to be the end of the known world. The name Finisterre, like that of Finistère in France, derives from the Latin finis terrae, meaning "end of the earth". It is sometimes said to be the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula. However, Cabo da Roca in Portugal is about 16.5 kilometres (10.3 mi) further west and thus the westernmost point of continental Europe. Even in Spain Cabo Touriñán is farther west.

Finistère Department of France

Finistère is a department of France in the extreme west of Brittany.

France Republic in Europe with several non-European regions

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Iberian Peninsula Peninsula located in southwest Europe

The Iberian Peninsula, also known as Iberia, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Portugal and Spain, comprising most of their territory, as well as Andorra, small areas of France, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. With an area of approximately 596,740 square kilometres (230,400 sq mi)), it is both the second largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula, and by population, after the Balkan Peninsula.

Monte Facho is the name of the mountain on Cape Finisterre, which has a peak that is 238 metres (781 ft) above sea level. A prominent lighthouse is at the top of Monte Facho. The seaside town of Fisterra is nearby.

Fisterra Municipality in Galicia, Spain

Fisterra is a municipality in the province of A Coruña, in the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain. It belongs to the comarca of Fisterra. Fisterra is on Cape Finisterre, the final destination for many pilgrims on the Way of St. James.

The Artabri were an ancient Gallaecian Celtic tribe that once inhabited the area.

According to Strabo, the Artabri were an ancient Gallaecian Celtic tribe, living in the extreme north-west of modern Galicia, about Cape Nerium, outskirts of the city and port of Ferrol, where in Roman times, in the 1st century BC, a fishing port existed which also trade in metals as well as wild horsesin the bay of Ferrol most likely administered from nearby Nerium in an area dominated by the Artabri ) giving name to the Portus Magnus Artabrorum. Strabo reports several seaports among the Artabri. Ptolemy places them among Galaeci Lucenses and gives their capital town as Lucus Augusti.


Cape Finisterre has several beaches, including O Rostro, Arnela, Mar de Fora, Langosteira, Riveira, and Corbeiro. Many of the beaches are framed by steep cliffs leading down to the Mare Tenebrosum (or dark sea, the name of the Atlantic in the Middle Ages).

Atlantic Ocean Ocean between Europe, Africa and the Americas

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

There are several rocks in this area associated with religious legends, such as the "holy stones", the "stained wine stones", the "stone chair", and the tomb of the Celtic crone-goddess Orcabella. [5]

Celts Ethnolinguistic group

The Celts are a collection of ethnic groups of Europe identified by their use of the Indo-European Celtic languages and cultural similarities. The history of pre-Celtic Europe and the exact relationship between ethnic, linguistic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial. The exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is disputed; in particular, the ways in which the Iron Age inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts have become a subject of controversy. According to one theory, the common root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe, which flourished from around 1200 BC.


Cape Finisterre is the final destination for many pilgrims on the Way of St. James, the pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Cape Finisterre is about a 90 km walk from Santiago de Compostela. It is a recent tradition for pilgrims to burn their clothes or boots at the end of their journey at Cape Finisterre. [6]

The origin of the pilgrimage to Finisterre is not certain. However, it is believed to date from pre-Christian times and was possibly associated with Finisterre's status as the "edge of the world". The tradition continued in medieval times, when "hospitals" were established to cater to pilgrims along the route from Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre.[ citation needed ]

Some pilgrims continue on to Muxía, which is a day's walk away.[ citation needed ]

Pre-Christian beliefs

In the area there are many pre-Christian sacred locations. There was an "Altar Soli" on Cape Finisterre, [7] where the Celts engaged in sun worship and assorted rituals. [8] [9]

Greco-Roman historians called the local residents of Cape Finisterre the "Nerios". [10] Monte Facho was the place where the Celtic Nerios from Duio [11] carried out their offerings and rites in honor of the sun. Monte Facho is the site of current archaeological investigations and there is evidence of habitation on Monte Facho circa 1000 BCE. [12] There is a Roman Road to the top of Monte Facho and the remnants of ancient structures on the mountain. [13]

San Guillerme, also known as St. William of Penacorada, [14] lived in a house located on Monte Facho. Near San Guillerme's house is a stone now known as "St William's Stone" (Pedra de San Guillerme). Sterile couples used to copulate on St. William's Stone to try to conceive, following a Celtic rite of fertility. [7]

Maritime history

This was where the Phoenicians sailed from to trade with Bronze Age Britain, [15] perhaps to Mount Batten.

Because it is a prominent landfall on the route from northern Europe to the Mediterranean, several nearby battles are named the "Battle of Cape Finisterre". There was the First Battle of Cape Finisterre (1747) and the Battle of Cape Finisterre (1805). The coast, known locally as the Costa da Morte (Death Coast), [16] has been the site of numerous shipwrecks and founderings, including that of the British ironclad HMS Captain, leading to the loss of nearly 500 lives, in 1870.[ citation needed ]

Additionally, laws governing the colonies of the British Empire (including the 1766 amendment to the Sugar Act of 1764) used the latitude of Cape Finisterre as the latitude past which certain goods could not be shipped north directly between British colonies. For instance, it was forbidden to ship sugar cane directly from Jamaica to Nova Scotia, as such a transaction crossed through this latitude. Instead, the laws required that the sugar cane be shipped first from Jamaica to England, where it would be re-exported to Nova Scotia. It also applied to the export of cotton from British America, and later contributed to British support for the pro-slavery South during the American Civil War (see History of cotton (section Civil War)).

Likewise, the latitude of Cape Finisterre was used to signal that a change of flags flown by Norwegian and Swedish merchant ships was required.[ citation needed ] Following independence and the subsequent union with Sweden in 1814, Norwegian merchant ships were required to fly the Swedish flag (until 1818) and the Swedish flag with the Norwegian (the Dannebrog with the Norwegian lion) flag in the canton. From 1818 - 1821 Swedish ships also flew this flag in place of the pure Swedish flag (until 1844) when sailing south of Cape Finisterre.

Finisterre was the former name of the current FitzRoy sea area used in the UK Shipping Forecast. In 2002, it was renamed FitzRoy – in honour of the founder of the Met Office) – to avoid confusion with the smaller sea area of the same name featuring in the marine forecasts produced by the French and Spanish meteorological offices.[ citation needed ]

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Province of A Coruña Province of Spain

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Finisterre, Finistère, Finisterra, or Fisterra may refer to:

Cambre Place

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Galicians ethnic group

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Muxía Place

Muxía is a coastal town and municipality in the province of A Coruña in the autonomous community of Galicia in northwestern Spain. It belongs to the comarca of Fisterra. It is one of the final destinations for pilgrims on the Way of St. James after visiting the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in Santiago de Compostela.

The Confraternity of Saint James is a pilgrim's association, educational charity and book publisher for the ancient and modern-day pilgrim route the Way of St. James to the city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northern Spain.

Pilgrims hat wide-brimmed hat, often with badges of cockle shells, associated with pilgrims on the Way of St. James

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FinisTerrae organization

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Auditorio Monte do Gozo

Auditorio Monte do Gozo is an outdoor concert venue in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. It is an amphitheatre-like setting, with a stage, an open area, and then rows of concrete bench seating arranged in a semicircle. It has a capacity that has been stated as anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 people, with one account stating an official capacity at 37,800.

Monte do Gozo mountain near Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

Monte do Gozo is a hill in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. It is known for being the place where Christian pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago get their first views of the three spires of their destination, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. At 370 metres (1,210 ft), it is the pilgrims' last hill and last stop before reaching the cathedral, with about an hour's walk still to go, and by tradition is where they cry out in rapture at finally seeing the end of their path.

Cape Finisterre Lighthouse lighthouse in Spain

The Cape Finisterre Lighthouse is an active lighthouse on Cape Finisterre, in the Province of A Coruña, on the northwestern coast of Galicia in Spain.

The English Way is one of the paths of the Camino de Santiago. It begins in the Galician port cities of Ferrol (118 km) or A Coruña (75 km) and runs south to Santiago de Compostela.


  1. "Finisterre". Collins English Dictionary . HarperCollins . Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  2. "Finisterre, Cape". Oxford Dictionaries . Oxford University Press . Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  3. "Finisterre, Cape". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  4. Photograph of Cape Finisterre, seen from the air, facing north
  5. Orcabella is a Celtic goddess that takes the form of a hag and has a prodigious sexual appetite. Humans cannot hurt Orcabella; they only see her or feel her. Orcabella has many features that are similar to the Irish crone-goddess, Cailleach Bhéirre ( LA MITOLOGÍA Y EL FOLKLORE DE GALICIA Y LAS REGIONES CÉLTICAS DEL NOROESTE EUROPEO ATLÁNTICO Archived 2017-05-11 at the Wayback Machine , Manuel ALBERRO, Inst. of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter)
  6. "Camino hacia Finisterre". Albergue Cuatro Cantones. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
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  10. "History of Corcubion". Corcubion City Council's Website. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
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  12. "Arqueología". Vigo en Fotos (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  13. Sweetkinky (20 December 2005). "Monte Facho". Google Earth Community . Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
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