Simonstown, town (1991 pop. 58,323), Western Cape, SW South Africa, on False Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a seaside resort and a station of the South African navy; industry centers around ship construction and repair. There is also a fishing industry, and fish oil is processed. Simonstown was founded by the Dutch in 1741 as a naval depot and named for Simon van der Stel, governor of Cape Colony from 1679 to 1697. In 1814 the town became the headquarters of the British South Atlantic squadron. In 1957 the base was turned over to South Africa. For a time Simonstown took on renewed strategic importance when the Suez Canal was closed after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The oldest English church (consecrated 1814; rebuilt 1834) in South Africa is in Simonstown.
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