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Faro de Cabo de San Vicente. Algarve, Portugal.During the reign of Manuel I of Portugal, at the beginning of the 16th century, the Bishop of Algarve, Fernando Coutinho, ordered a fortress and a tower to be built on the Cape of San Vicente as a lighthouse to defend that area of ​​the coast. In 1587, the British pirate Francis Drake destroyed the fort and the primitive lighthouse. The structure was ordered rebuilt by King Philip II of Portugal, (III of Spain) in 1606. Like all the fortresses in the area, it was razed during the earthquake of 1755.The modern lighthouse was ordered to be erected by Queen Maria II of Portugal It started operating in 1846. This first lighthouse was equipped with a catadioptric optics and 16 oil stanchions and parabolic reflectors made of galvanized copper in silver. It flashed white light for two seconds in a period of two minutes. Its range was around 6 nautical miles.2


Later the lighthouse was neglected until almost the abandonment until in 1897 restoration works began and improvement of the lighthouse, increasing the height of the same in 5.7 meters, concluding in 1908. The lighthouse was then equipped with a lens with hyperradiating lenses of Fresnel, with a focal length of 1,330 mm, of the largest in the world and of which only a dozen of them were installed, suspended on a raft of mercury and equipped with a clockwork mechanism to achieve its rotation. It was illuminated by a constant-level oil lamp with five wicks, changing years later to oil vapor incandescent lamps. Its characteristic light was in a flash of white light every 5 seconds and a range of 33 nautical miles.2


During the twentieth century they continued making improvements in the lighthouse, in 1914 a sound signal was installed, in 1926 it was electrified by feeding by generators, in 1947 it was converted into an aeronautical lighthouse, in 1948 it was connected to the electrical network for its feeding, in 1949 a radio beacon was mounted that was in use until 2001 and automated in 1982, remotely controlling it from the nearby Sagres lighthouse

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Taken on May 15, 2019