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There is no better place in the world to have a holiday than South Africa. For independent information, advice and facts about going on holiday to South Africa visit www.southafricaholiday.org.uk

South Africa Holiday: Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth, often shortened to "PE", and nicknamed "The Friendly City" or "The Windy City", is on Algoa Bay on South Africa's southern coast. Although one of the country's major seaports, it is renowned for its sunny climate and safe sandy beaches.

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The area around Algoa Bay was settled by indigenous tribes many centuries ago, firstly by San and Khoi and later by Xhosa people.
The first Europeans to visit the area were Bartolomeu Dias, who landed on St Croix Island in Algoa Bay in 1488, and Vasco da Gama who noted the nearby Bird Island in 1497. For centuries, the area was marked on navigation charts as "a landing place with fresh water".
In 1799, during the first British occupation of the Colony during the Napoleonic Wars, a stone Fort was built, named Fort Frederick after the Duke of York. This fort, built to protect against a possible landing of French Troops, overlooked the site of what later became Port Elizabeth.
Port Elizabeth was founded as a town in 1820 to house British settlers as a way of strengthening the border region between the Cape Colony and the warlike Xhosa tribe.
In 1820 a party of 4,000 British settlers arrived by sea. Port Elizabeth was founded by Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin, the Governor of the Cape Colony, who named it after his late wife, Elizabeth.
The town expanded, building a diverse community comprising European, Cape Malay and other immigrants, as well as African and Coloureds. Growth was particularly rapid after the railway to Kimberley was built in 1873.
During the Anglo-Boar War on 1899-1902 the British built a concentration camp here to house Boer women and children.
Forced relocation of the non-white population under the Group Areas Act began in 1962, causing various townships to be built in the surrounding area. The whole of the South End district was forcibly depopulated and flattened in 1965; forced relocations under the apartheid regime continued until 1975.
The Donkin Reserve is on a hill overlooking PE. Created in honour of Sir Rufane Donkin's wife, after whom the city is named, it has a lighthouse and a small stone pyramid inscribed with, "To the memory of one of the most perfect of human beings who has given her name to the Town below." The lighthouse, built in 1861, is now the tourist information office.
The Horse Memorial was erected to honour the many horses and mules which died during the Anglo-Boer War between 1899 and 1902.
On 18 August 1977, Steve Biko was arrested while travelling home from a political meeting with his friend Peter Jones. He was detained in Port Elizabeth for 26 days under the Terrorism Act.
Govan Mbeki died aged 91 on 30 August 2001 in Port Elizabeth.
In 2001 the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was formed and includes Port Elizabeth as well as the neighbouring towns of Uitenhage and Despatch.
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