Port Elizabeth Deals, Specials & Catalogues
Port Elizabeth, also known as The Bay, is one of South Africa’s most prominent cities, as well as being one of the largest in terms of both size and population.
As one of the country’s major seaports, the city forms a logistical center and is a focal point for the country’s import/export economy. Often nicknamed ‘The Windy City’, or ‘The Friendly City’, Port Elizabeth, (or PE, as the name is often abbreviated) is also of significant historical and cultural importance to much of South Africa’s population.
The area in which Port Elizabeth would later be founded was first inhabited by hunter-gatherer societies whose lineage is likely to have been ancestral to the indigenous San people. Around two thousand years ago, these inhabitants were gradually absorbed or displaced by the incoming Xhosa tribes, who begin to migrate into the area from further north. Early European visitors to the area included the Portuguese explorers Bartholomeu Dias and Vasco Da Gama, and the region was used as a landing place by explorers and merchants alike for many centuries.
The area of Algoa Bay, in which the city of Port Elizabeth would eventually be founded, changed hands many times over the years. It was originally part of the Cape Colony, first founded by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. In 1799, during the Napoleonic Wars, the British took control of the colony, building a fort that overlooked the site of what would become Port Elizabeth. In the early 19th century, the Strandfontein farm, which would later become part of Port Elizabeth, was owned by Voortrekker leader Piet Retief.
In 1820, a party of four thousand settlers were sent by the British government to establish the town that would become Port Elizabeth, and the area’s population exploded overnight. The town was officially founded by Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin, then the Acting Governor of the Cape Colony, who named it after his late wife. In 1861, Port Elizabeth became an autonomous municipality, and was connected to the railway network just over a decade later.
Port Elizabeth is located on the east coast of South Africa, near what was formerly known as Algoa Bay. The Chatty, Shark, and Baakens rivers all flow through the city. Today, it forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. Port Elizabeth also marks the end of the famous Garden Route.
As one of South Africa’s oldest settlements, Port Elizabeth is home to a variety of historical and cultural landmarks. Fort Frederick, the first fort built in the region by the British, still stands as a heritage site. The Donkin Reserve is an installation and monument portraying various parts of South African culture and history. A newer landmark can be found in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Port Elizabeth is home to around 312,392 people, at a density of 1200 per square kilometer.
The majority of the population is White, with Afrikaans being the predominant language.