Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Spontaneous Combustion of the Mariposa

In 1900, during the Anglo-Boer War, the steamer Mariposa entered the roadstead with a load of hay as fodder for the British cavalry. Probably due to spontaneously combustion this fodder caught fire on the 20th May 1900 and attempts to quench it were in vain. The ship was towed out to sea where the cargo smouldered for weeks. She was later beached and declared unseaworthy.

This blog is based almost exclusively upon the autobiography of seaman Bisset and an article from the Port Elizabeth Advertiser

Main picture: The Mariposa beached on North End beach

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Cecil Rhodes and the Countess of Carnarvon

The Countess of Carnarvon possessed neither pretensions of royalty nor naval majesty. Instead, it was a small screw steamer of 100 tons, which operated in Algoa Bay. In his inimitable way of paying scant regard to treaties and morality, Cecil John Rhodes conjured up a masterstroke to acquire land illegally on the Pungwe River in Gazaland, Portuguese East Africa using this nondescript vessel as a gunrunner. 

If this scheme was illegal and immoral, Cecil John Rhodes did not understand the basis of what was unlawful. Would this outrageous scheme finally blot his copybook? 

Main picture: The Countess of Carnarvon, probably painted in Genoa after her completion

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