Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Only Naval Engagement in Algoa Bay

Apart from one naval engagement between British and French warships in Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth has been spared the horrors and depredations of war. Compared with other naval engagements such as those in the Pacific Ocean during WW2, this one can justifiably be rated as minor. 

Having said that, during this Napoleonic era with tensions between the maritime dominant nation, Great Britain, and the pretender to the “throne,” France, being white hot, any misstep in the southern oceans placed the British position on the Indian subcontinent in danger.

Main picture:  Fight between the ship of the line, Jupiter and the French frigate, Preneuse Continue reading

Algoa Bay before the Settlers: Sojourn by Henry Lichtenstein in the Early 1800s

Most of what is nowadays known as the Eastern Province was devoid of whites prior to the arrival of the 1820 Settlers. Notwithstanding that fact, a sprinkling of intrepid Dutch farmers did farm in the area between the Gamtoos River and the Great Fish River. By all accounts, it was a precarious existence at best. Not only were they at the mercy of marauding bands of black tribesmen but they were also in danger from large predatory animals.

In spite of all these clear and present dangers, numerous indomitable adventurers also traversed this treacherous landscape. One such person was Henry Lichtenstein, a German medical doctor and a professor of natural history at the University of Berlin.

This is his story as recorded in his book entitled Travels in Southern Africa in the years 1803, 1804, 1805 & 1806.

Main picture: Henry Lichtenstein  Continue reading