Port Elizabeth, Vodeo

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16, 1.0297, 30.9107
Port Elizabeth
Town
Port Elizabeth from Close Bay Hill
FoundedAugust 1616
CountryVodeo Flag.png Vodeo
 • ProvinceCambria Flag.png Cambria
 • Territorial authorityBrynderwyn District
Population
 • Census (2017)903
Postal Code1518
Telephone Code04 2895
For the Pasalian city of the same name, see Port Elizabeth.

Port Elizabeth is a town located on Welcome Island, the largest of the Welcome Islands of Cambria, Vodeo. It is situated 2.5 kilometres (1.7 mi) east of Mantatata, 11 kilometres (6.9 mi) south of Gibbons Bay, and 17 kilometres (10.5 mi) north-east of Brynderwyn. The town had a population of 903 at the 2017 census, and is considered the administrative centre for the Welcome Islands, even though it is smaller than Gibbons Bay to the north.

Founded as a sugar port in 1616, the town became most famous as a pirate haven in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. With the decline of piracy in the mid-18th century, the town reverted to being a sugar port in tandem with Brynderwyn and Port Adelaide. In the 20th century the town became a tourist destination, and is today considered one of Vodeo's most important historic towns.

History

Port Elizabeth was founded by Ingerish settlers not long after the transfer of New Cambria to Ingerland in 1616. The shelter and depth of Port Elizabeth contrasted with the shallower Gibbons Bay and open Stuck Bay, and the hills around the town offered vantage points for the town's defence. By the mid-17th century the town had established itself as a sugar port, with both raw cane and refined sugar being shipped to Port Adelaide and Brynderwyn, or further afield. This prosperity soon made the town a magnet for traders and privateers, and by the 1690s the town rivalled Brynderwyn and Port Adelaide in importance.

While attempts were made in the 1700s and 1710s to clean up the mainland ports, Port Adelaide continued to thrive as a pirate port, with pirates congregating in the town from as far away as Astrasia. By this time the town had earned the nickname "The Hellhole of the Uthyra", owing to its large number of taverns, gambling dens, and brothels. Such was the notoriety of the town that in 1707, Missionary James Williams of Brynderwyn described the town as "nothing but a horrendous Wretch of a Town, where every Sin and Vice flourishes with wicked abandon, and nary is there to be seen a Person of Sober and God-fearing Habits."

Port Elizabeth remained a pirate haven thanks largely to the Ingerish Civil War (1717-25), which saw pirates and privateers fill a gap created by the recalling of many Ingerish soldiers and sailors back to Ingerland. In exchange for protecting the Cambrian and St Austellian coasts, the colonial governors offered amnesty and turned a blind eye to the goings-on in Port Elizabeth. At this time the town was the home port of a number of Uthyran pirates, most notably "Red" Rachel Montgomery and James "Dog" Richards, and was a major base of operations during the War of the Vodean Coast.

Port Elizabeth experienced a final boom in piracy following the declaration of Cambrian independence in December 1725, but by the late 1730s the pirate trade dwindled as a result of anti-piracy campaigns by the Ingerish, Castellanese, and Florescentan navies. What pirates remained in the town opted to retire from piracy or offer their skills to the new Cambrian Navy, and by 1750 the town was once again a sugar port, albeit with its importance diminished with the increased prominence of Port Adelaide.

Present day

Port Elizabeth, along with the rest of Welcome Island, gained international attention in 1926 with the publication of An Angler's Haven by Ingerish writer and game fisher Aubrey Davis. Game fishing proved to be a lucrative trade for the town, and from the 1950s onward the town began to embrace its pirate past. A number of hotels, cafes, restaurants, and other businesses pay homage to the pirate era, while a flagpole erected at the landward end of the town wharf flies a skull-and-crossbones flag.

Since 1978 the town has been one of the main ports of call on the Pirate Run, a regatta that sails from Avington to Holme every December to celebrate Cambria's declaration of independence in 1725.

Transport

Port Elizabeth is linked to the mainland by a passenger ferry from the town wharf, and by road via the vehiclar ferry at Mantatata. A road to the north links the town to the northern towns and villages, and to the Welcome Island Aerodrome near Port Henderson.