Robben Island

Cape Town, South Africa

Robben Island


Robben Island (Afrikaans: Robbeneiland) is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 kilometres (4.3 mi) west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, north of Cape Town, South Africa. It takes its name from the Dutch word for seals (robben), hence the Dutch/Afrikaans name Robbeneiland, which translates to Seal(s) Island.

Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 kilometres (2 miles) long north–south, and 1.9 km (1+18 mi) wide, with an area of 5.08 km2 (1+3132 sq mi). It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. It was fortified and used as a prison from the late-seventeenth century until 1996, after the end of apartheid.

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