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There is Later Stone Age archaeological material preserved in caves and rock shelters, such as Melkhoutboom Cave, in the Cape Fold Belt Mountain surrounding Port Elizabeth see Deacon and Deacon, ; Deacon, ; Binneman, and large numbers of coastal shell middens have been reported at Humewood, St.

Most recently, Binneman and Webley reported thirteen shell middens and stone tool scatters about m east of the Coega River mouth in the archaeological assessment carried out for the development of maritime infrastructure for the Port of Ngqura. Importantly, some of this archaeological material was recorded in secondary context in the gravels from older river terraces along the banks of the Coega River. Hunters and gatherers ancestral to the San first settled the area around what is now called Algoa Bay at least 10, years ago.

Around 2, years ago, they were gradually assimilated by agriculturalist populations ancestral to the Xhosa people.

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For centuries, the area appeared on European navigation charts marked simply as "a landing place with fresh water". The Portuguese Crown had as one of its main goals in the Indian Ocean taking over the lucrative trade of Arab and Afro-Arabian merchants who plied routes between the East African coast and India. As they took over that trade in Africa, the Portuguese strengthened trading with Goa , their main trading point in India.


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The name Algoa means "to Goa", just as the port further north in present-day Mozambique, Delagoa means "from Goa" in Portuguese. The area became part of the Cape Colony. This area had a turbulent history between the settlement by the Dutch East India Company in and the formation of the Union of South Africa in In , at the time of the first British occupation of the Colony during the Napoleonic Wars , British troops built a stone fort named Fort Frederick after the Duke of York.

This fort, aiming to deter a possible landing of French troops, was constructed to oversee the site of what later became Port Elizabeth. The fort is now preserved as a monument.


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From to the Strandfontein farm was owned by Piet Retief. An estimated men, woman and children of his party were massacred. Frederik Korsten owned the Strandfontein farm after Retief. The suburb of Korsten was named after Frederick in the 19th century. This area was later developed as the Summerstrand beach suburb of Port Elizabeth.

In a party of 4, British settlers arrived by sea, encouraged by the government of the Cape Colony to form a settlement to strengthen the border region between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa people. Diplomat Edmund Roberts visited Port Elizabeth in the early s. Roberts noted that Port Elizabeth in the s had "contained four houses, and now it has upward of one hundred houses, and its residents are rated at above twelve hundred persons". Port Elizabeth was granted the status of autonomous municipality in Completion of the railway to Kimberley in was a major stimulus to trade and a rapid increase in population in the town.

With the massive expansion of the Cape Colony's railway network to the interior over the following years, the harbour of Port Elizabeth became the focus for serving import and export needs of a large area of the Cape's hinterland. The rapid economic development around the port, which followed the railway construction, caused Port Elizabeth to be nicknamed "the Liverpool of South Africa", after a major British port. The town expanded as a diverse community, comprising Xhosa as well as European, Cape Malay , and other immigrants.

During the Second Boer War of —, the port served as an important transit-point for British soldiers, horses, and materials headed by railway to the front. No armed conflict took place within the city, but it felt the effects of the war with the arrival of many refugees who moved into the city.

These included Boer women and children, whom the British interned in a concentration camp. After the war, the British erected a monument to military horses that died during the war. Under apartheid , the South African government established legal racial segregation and started programs to separate communities physically as well as by classification and custom. The forced relocation under the auspices of the Group Areas Act of the non-white population from mixed areas began in , causing various townships to be built for their use.

Classification was sometimes arbitrary, and as in many other localities throughout the country, many citizens appearing to have mixed ancestry were at times subject to re-classification, which often had intrusive sociopolitical results. The non-white tenants of South End, and land owners in Fairview were forcibly relocated from through to , as these areas were valued as prime real estate. As black South Africans organized to try to achieve civil rights and social justice, government repression increased.

In Steve Biko , the black anti-apartheid activist, was interrogated and tortured by the security police in Port Elizabeth before being transported to Pretoria , where he died. The meeting in Port Elizabeth was led by Professor Z. Matthews and by Raymond Mhlaba. On 25 July , a day before the official start of the Defiance Campaign , 30 volunteers led by Raymond Mhlaba gathered at the New Brighton Civic Centre and prayed throughout the night.

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By half past six we were already in police vans on our way to jail. It turned out that my party group was the very first to defy unjust laws in the whole of South Africa. Little did we know that we were making history. Mhlaba became the first man to be arrested during the campaign, while Florence Matomela was the first woman. Other volunteers who emerged as key role players during the campaign included Nosipho Dastile , Nontuthuzelo Mabala, Lilian Diedricks and Veronica Sobukwe. After the formation of the ANC -affiliated United Democratic Front in , political consciousness in black townships grew.

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In Port Elizabeth townships, black South Africans demanded the integration of public institutions, the removal of troops from black townships, and the end of workplace discrimination. To launch an effective campaign to cripple the white-owned institutions of Port Elizabeth and to undermine the legitimacy of apartheid, several women suggested the idea of a consumer boycott to the Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation PEBCO in May The economic boycott began on July 15, , and received massive support in townships around Port Elizabeth.

By September , white business-owners became desperate and called on the government to meet the demands of black South Africans. In November the boycott was still hurting white businesses in Port Elizabeth greatly. The white South African government reached an agreement with PEBCO which stated that the boycott would halt until March if business owners arranged for the release of black leaders. In , as the deal was approaching its end, the boycotters imposed a deadline of March 31, stating that the boycott would resume if the initial demands were not met.

On March 11, the government unexpectedly banned two leaders, one of whom was Mkuseli Jack. However, on March 22, the ban was lifted by the decision of a Supreme Court Justice on the grounds that the government had given insufficient reasons. Jack ripped up the ban papers, and used the celebration as a way to represent the solidarity that the campaign required. As the demands of the boycotters were not met by March 31, the boycott was renewed on April 1. The boycott continued for nine weeks, but on June 12, , another state of emergency was imposed by the National Party government.

Security forces searched through the townships, arresting thousands and raiding the offices of black civics, trade unions, the UDF , the South African Council, and churches and also confiscating documents. The IDZ, under the stewardship of the Coega Development Corporation CDC , since inception has managed to attract to its investment account in excess of Rbillion into the economy of the Eastern Cape and has enabled the creation of over 45 jobs.

The CDC consistently continues to demonstrate its capability as the leading catalyst for socio-economic growth in the Eastern Cape, [ citation needed ] with a view to becoming so for South Africa. In the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality was formed as an administrative area covering Port Elizabeth, the neighbouring towns of Uitenhage and Despatch and the surrounding agricultural areas.

The name honours former President Nelson Mandela.

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The combined metropolitan area had a population estimated at around 1. A quarter-final between Netherlands , Brazil was hosted, then for the Third Place playoff, Uruguay, Germany were hosted at the stadium. The World Cup was played between 11 June and 11 July Spain were the eventual champions.

Port Elizabeth was also one of the five cities that hosted the Afcon event. Nigeria were eventual champions. The area lies between the winter rainfall, Mediterranean climate zones of the Western Cape and the summer rainfall regions of eastern South Africa. Winters are cool but mild and summers are warm but considerably less humid and hot than more northerly parts of South Africa's east coast. Port Elizabeth represents a large percentage of South Africa's biological diversity and the city is a confluence point five of the seven South African biomes, namely the Thicket, Grassland, Nama-Karoo, Fynbos and Forest Biomes.

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A mosaic of these 5 Biomes could be experienced in these reserves. The outward bound route is an eco-outdoor adventure and sports route incorporating walking and wildlife experiences. The aim of this route is to spread tourism to similar attractions along the route, leading to increased foot traffic and related benefits to these sites. As a British colonial town, the city had a strongly British character, and the central area retains that to this day.

Few of the buildings featured in this tour would be out of place in an English market town. The Port Elizabeth main public library is an excellent example of Victorian Gothic architecture. Various memorials are situated throughout the city environs, and there are many tours available to familiarise visitors with especially the apartheid era.

Port Elizabeth could be considered to be the country's leading centre of Art Deco style architecture due to its European heritage. Many buildings display the intricate stonework, wrought iron and stained glass of that era which are prominently visible in the Central Historical areas of the city. The area also boasts a collection of Cape Dutch style architecture as well as the Victorian and Edwardian styles, resulting from the arrival of the British settlers.