Port Elizabeth Timeline 1799-1986

Table of Contents:

2 March, British government lands troops in Delagoa Bay. Construction begins on the building of Fort Frederick.
Founding of Bethelsdorp.
25 April, Proclamation issued creating the District of Uitenhage. In September the farm of the widow Scheepers was chosen as the site for the new administrative village.
14 February, Captain Jacob Cuyler appointed commander of Fort Frederick and provisional landdrost of Uitenhage.
November, The farm Strandfontein provisionally granted to Piet Retief. This was but one of the farms acquired by Retief at a time when he planned to establish himself as a government contractor, supplying beef to the troops.
Main Street is laid out.
10 April, Arrival of the Chapman in Algoa Bay, which brings the first English settlers to the Eastern Cape. This was followed by the ships Nautilus on April 14, Ocean on April 15, Kinnersley Castle on April 29 and Northampton on April 30.
6 June, Arrival of Cape Governor, Sir Rufane Donkin, to supervise the settlement of British immigrants. On this day the new town was named Port Elizabeth in honour of his late wife.
The Hill, North End and South End are laid out.
4 June, Frederick Korsten granted a piece of land on the beach adjoining Strandfontein for the establishment of a whale fishery.
October, A plot of land located on Main Street was granted to Nikolaas Hitge “to build an inn which might prove a decoration to the town”. The Red Lion Hotel was subsequently taken over in 1823 by the government to house a custom house and public offices. The site is currently occupied by Woolworths.
1 October, William Dunn appointed Customs Officer and in January 1822 became the town’s first postmaster.
A census of the town indicates that its population consists of 73 men, 30 women, 44 boys and 33 girls. The figures exclude the 75 KhoiKhoi employed by the residents and the 64 slaves they also owned.
Port Elizabeth declared a separate magisterial district, until 6 February 1832 when it was included in the district of Uitenhage.
London Missionary Society settlement established.
January, Port Elizabeth prepares its defences against a possible attack from Xhosa warriors. The attackers eventually turn back before reaching Uitenhage.
6 February, Port Elizabeth again creates a separate magisterial district.
20 June, Victoria accedes to the English throne.
March, Catholic mission founded in Port Elizabeth by Bishop Raymond Griffith.
10 April, Foundation stone laid for the first jetty.
April, David Livingstone arrives in Port Elizabeth and begins preparations for his journey inland.
November, German, born Joseph Mosenthal establishes the merchant firm of Mosenthals in Port Elizabeth.
6 January, The sailing ship Margaret Hardy arrives in Algoa Bay, bringing the first of a new contingent of settlers from England.
7 May, The first issue of the Eastern Province Herald is printed.
February, The Cape government decides to move all lepers and paupers in the colony to Robben Island. A group of 16 lepers and 13 destitute persons from Port Elizabeth are transported there by the cutter Isaac.
April, Artist Frederick I’Ons visits Port Elizabeth.
9 November, The first strike recorded in the Cape takes place when a group of Mfengu beach labourers lay down tools and demand higher wages. In June 1852 they again go on strike, following the proclamation of a new town regulation which requires them to wear clothing while at work.
8 February, Meeting of citizens adopt a set of municipal regulations and forward them to the government in Cape Town.
12 May, The first public concert to be held in Port Elizabeth raises GBP 50 in aid of famine victims in Ireland and Scotland.
18 November, New municipal regulations for Port Elizabeth are promulgated by the Governor, Sir Henry Pottinger.
February, Artist Thomas Baines visits Port Elizabeth. He returns to the town several times making copious sketches and paintings.
7 September, The first issue of the Port Elizabeth Telegraph is printed. In February 1898 it is renamed The Cape Daily Telegraph and ceases publication in December 1908.
2 October, The Port Elizabeth Public Library and Reading Room open an inner room in the Commercial Hall with 154 members.
January, The first Chinese residents of Port Elizabeth arrive on the Norfolk. Additional settlers from China are known to have reached Algoa Bay in November 1881 and December 1883, whilst additional Chinese refugees from the war in the Transvaal arrive in Port Elizabeth in October and November 1899.
19 May, Meeting held at the Commercial Hall to protest the proposed transport of English convicts to the Cape.
August, Plans laid for the reclamation of land north of Jetty Street subsequently known as the Victoria Quay.