Shipwreck at Port Edward
Port Edward is the site of one of the worlds most important shipwrecks and this historical treasure is now being formally investigated with a view to enhancing tourism to the area. In the 15th century, the Portuguese dominated the exploration of the world and the opening up of the trade route to the East. In 1552 the Sao Joao (St John, the Biggest ship afloat) was heading back from the East with an immensely valuable cargo of spices, Ming porcelain, beads and money cowries.
After losing full use of the sails and rudder in a storm off the Southern Cape, the master attempted to return to Delagoa Bay. The carrack never made it and after floundering off Port Edward, anchor was thrown and a party landed with a view to bringing the crew and passengers ashore. A further wave pushed the vessels onto the rocks, with the loss of about 100 souls. The remaining approximately 400 survivors embarked on an epic land journey in an attempt to reach Delagoa Bay.
Only a few survivors eventually made it home to Portugal carrying with them the sad tale of the loss of one of the world’s great ships and the trials and tribulations of the sea. This wreck is still regarded as one of the greatest disasters at sea. The survivors' journey was the first interaction of people from Europe with the coast, hinterland and the people of this great area.
A living monument of the wreck has been erected in Port Edward. Every year the Portuguese festival is celebrated to commemorate the lives lost at sea.
Last Updated (Friday, 07 August 2009 21:14)