Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cape Horner Antoinette 10.4.1971

The Stamp on the FDC depicts the Cape Horner Antoinette under full sail.  Antoinette was a four-masted barque built in 1897 and used in the nitrate trade between Chile and France; she was lost in 1918. In the background of the stamp one can see the Solidor Tower, a strengthened keep with three linked towers, located in the Rance river estuary in Brittany. It was built between 1369 and 1382 to control access to areas up-river. Over the centuries, the tower lost its military interest and became a jail. It is now a museum celebrating the Breton sailors that explored Cape Horn.

The stamp on this FDC commemorates one of the Tall Ships the SS Antoinette. The original Cape- Horners. In 1520, for the first time in the history of navigation, a flotilla led by Magellan bypassed South America and reached the Pacific Ocean. The Strait of Magellan, between Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia, a narrow passage and very difficult for navigation was the reason for its isolation for almost a century. In 1616 the Dutch sailors named rocky cape the "Horn", the name of their city of departure.
The brave Dutch navigators had just opened up the Pacific route. Sailors and those sailing along this route would be nicknamed the "Cape Horners". The passage via the Cape Horn was not an easy undertaking. Strong winds, rain, hail, shallows of less than twenty meters and bitter cold were hurting men who ventured into this Southern region.
In 1850, the discovery of gold in California attracted ships from around the world. The majority of settlers preferred the dangers of those heading the route of the Far West. Rapid clippers from the US connected New York San to Francisco in less than 90 days. Later, the wealth of Australia, California and Chile  provided the Cape Horners an advantageous freight. 
The First World War and the opening of the Panama Canal sounded the death knell of tall ships. In a few years, they disappeared from these seas. 

Thank you Merja.

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