History of Port Elizabeth
P.E. “Port Elizabeth” goes by many names: The Friendly City, the Windy City, the City on the Bay, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Area. Whatever you call it, P.E. is a lekker place. It’s not humid like Durban. It isn’t as posh as Cape Town. The beaches are great. The locals are friendly. The sea’s warm. So why don’t more people go there? One will never know.
Historically, Port Elizabeth goes back a long way. Bartolomeu Dias saw the bay on his momentous journey around the Cape and named it Bahia de Lagoa, or Lagoon Bay. This was soon corrupted to Algoa Bay, which it remained for a few hundred years until it was recently renamed Nelson Mandela Bay, for no apparent reason other than to curry favor with the tourists.
Algoa Bay, by the way, should not be confused with Delagoa Bay, which is the old name for Lourenço Marques, which has now become Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, a country that used to be called Portuguese East Africa. D’you get all that? I tell you, the nomenclature is a tricky business in this part of the world.
The Dutch did little to develop the potential of Algoa Bay because the strong summer winds had a habit of driving ships into the rocks. Nevertheless, in time, the Eastern districts of the colony needed a harbor, and Algoa Bay was the only one around. In 1799, the first British administration built a small outpost, called Fort Frederick, on the banks of the Bakens River mouth, and a small town began to develop. The subsequent Batavian administration then founded a town close to Fort Frederick, which they called Uitenhage.
This tour will reveal the history and places of interest in the city area of Port Elizabeth. A perfect orientation trip.
We begin with the Bushman people who roamed the area long before the Portuguese first landed here in 1488. We discuss the Boers, who entered the area next, followed by the British and then the Blacks (Xhosa).
The 90 years of bloody Frontier Wars (Wars of Dispossession) are also discussed on this tour.
We then explore the colonial architecture downtown and discover the green spaces of Port Elizabeth.
The journey culminates in a view of the 2010 Mandela Bay Soccer Stadium and a glimpse of the industrial area.