Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/126

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112
Port au Prince—Port Elizabeth

and in 1900 valuable gold quartz reefs were discovered at Tarcoola.

Port au Prince (originally L'Hôpital, and for brief periods Port Henri and Port Républicain), the capital of the republic of Haiti, West Indies, situated at the apex of the triangular bay which strikes inland for about 100 m. between the two great peninsulas of the west coast, with its upper recesses protected by the beautiful island of Gonaives (30 m. long by 2 broad). The city is admirably situated on ground that soon begins to rise rapidly towards the hills, It was originally laid out by the French on a regular plan with streets of good width running north and south and intersected by others at right angles. Everything has been allowed to fall into disorder and disrepair, and to this its public buildings form no exception. Every few years whole quarters of the town are burned down, but the people go on building the same slight wooden houses, with only here and there a more substantial warehouse in brick. In spite of the old French aqueduct the water-supply is defective. From June to September the heat is excessive, reaching 95° to 99° F. in the shade. The population, mostly negroes and mulattoes, is estimated at 61,000. Port au Prince was first laid out by M. de la Cuza in 1749. In 1751, and again in 1770, it was destroyed by earthquakes.

Port Blair, the chief place in the convict settlement of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, situated on the south-east shore of the South Andaman Island, in 11° 42′ N., 93° E. It derives its name from Lieut. Blair, R.N., who first occupied it in 1789, as a station for the suppression of piracy and the protection of shipwrecked crews. Abandoned on account of sickness in 1796, it was not again occupied until 1856. It possesses one of the best harbours in Asia, while its central position in the Bay of Bengal gives it immense advantage as a place of naval rendezvous. (See Andaman Islands.)

Port Chester, a village of Westchester county, New York, U.S.A., in the south-east part of the state, on Long Island Sound, and about 10 m. N.E. of New York City (26 m. from the Grand Central Station). Pop. (1900), 7440, of whom 2110 were foreign-born; (1910 census), 12,800. It is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad, and by daily steamers to and from New York City. The village is a summer resort as well as a suburban residential district for New York City. Among its public institutions are a library, a park and a hospital. The village has various manufactures, including bolts and nuts, motors for racing boats and automobiles; there are also large planing and wood-moulding mills. The earliest mention of Port Chester in any extant record is in the year 1732. Until 1837 it was known as Saw Pit, on account of a portion of the village, it is said, being used as a place for building boats. During the War of Independence the village was frequently occupied by detachments of American troops. Port Chester was incorporated as a village in 1868.

Portcullis (from the Fr. porte-coulisse, porte, a gate, Lat. porta, and coulisse, a groove, used adjectivally for “sliding,” from couler, to slide or glide, Lat. colare; the Fr. equivalents are herse, a harrow, and coulisse; Ger. Fallgatter; Ital. saracinesca), a strong-framed grating of oak, the lower points shod with iron, and sometimes entirely made of metal, hung so as to slide up and down in grooves with counterbalances, and intended to protect the gateways of castles, &c. The defenders having opened the gates and lowered the portcullis, could send arrows and darts through the gratings. A portcullis was in existence until modern times in a gateway at York. The Romans used the portcullis in the defence of gateways. It was called cataracta from the Gr. καταρράκτης, a waterfall (καταρρήγνυσθαι, to fall down). Vegetius (De re milit. iv. 4) speaks of it as an old means of defence, and it has been suggested that in Psalm xxiv. 7, 9, “Lift up your heads, oh ye gates,” &c., there is an allusion to a similar contrivance. Remains of a cataracta are clearly seen in the gateway of Pompeii. The Italian name saracinesca originates from the crusades. (See Gate.)

Porte, the Sublime (Arab. babi-‘ali, the high gate, through the French translation la sublime porte), in Turkey, the official name for the government, derived from the high gate giving access to the building where the offices of the principal state departments are situated.

Port Elizabeth, a seaport of the Cape province, South Africa, in Algoa Bay, by which name the port is often designated. It lies in 35° 57′ S., 25° 37′ E. on the east side of Cape Recife, being by sea 436 m. from Cape Town and 384 m. from Durban. In size and importance it is second only to Cape Town among the towns of the province. It is built partly along the seashore and partly on the slopes and top of the hills that rise some 200 ft. above the bay. The Baaken’s River, usually a small stream, but subject (as in 1908) to disastrous floods, runs through the town, which consists of four divisions; the harbour and business quarter at the foot of the cliffs, the upper part, a flat table-land known as “The Hill”; “The Valley” formed by the Baaken’s River; and “South Hill,” east of the river.

The Town.—Jetty Street leads from the north jetty to the market square, in or around which are grouped the chief public buildings—the town-hall, court-house, post office, market buildings, public library, St Mary’s church (Anglican) and St Augustine’s (Roman Catholic). Several of these buildings are of considerable architectural merit and fine elevation. The library, of Elizabethan design, contains some 45,000 volumes. The market buildings, at the south-east corner of the square, and partly excavated from the sides of the cliff, contain large halls for the fruit, wool and feather markets and the museum. Feather-Market Hall, where are held the sales of ostrich feathers, seats 5000 persons. The museum has valuable ethnographical and zoological collections. Other public buildings include a synagogue and a Hindu temple. Leading west from Market Square is Main Street, in which are the principal business houses. Between Main Street and the sea is Strand Street, also a busy commercial thoroughfare. Behind the lower town streets rise in terraces to “The Hill,” a residential district. Here is an open plot of ground, Donkin Reserve, containing the lighthouse and a stone pyramid with an inscription in memory of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Rufane Donkin, described as “one of the most perfect of human beings, who has given her name to the town below.” A fountain, surmounted by the statue of a war-horse, erected by public subscription in 1905 commemorates “the services of the gallant animals which perished in the Anglo-Boer war, 1899–1902.” Farther west is a large hospital, one of the finest institutions of its kind in South Africa. At the southern end of The Hill is St George’s Park, which has some fine trees, in marked contrast to the general treeless, barren aspect of the town. Port Elizabeth indeed possesses few natural amenities, but its golf links are reputed the finest in South Africa. The town, apart from its transit trade and the industries connected therewith, has some manufactures—jam and confectionery works; oil, candle and explosive works; saw and flour mills; tanneries, &c. It has an excellent water supply.

The Harbour.—There is no enclosed basin, but the roadstead has excellent holding ground, protected from all winds except the south-east, the prevailing wind being westerly. No harbour or light dues are charged to vessels of any flag. The port has three jetties of wrought iron, respectively 1162, 1152 and 1462 ft. in length, extending to the four fathoms line. These jetties are provided with hydraulic cranes, &c., and railways connect them with the main line, so that goods can be sent direct from the jetties to every part of South Africa. In favourable weather Vessels drawing up to 21 ft. can discharge cargo alongside the jetties. In unfavourable conditions and for larger steamers tugs and lighters are employed. Rough weather prevents discharge of cargo by lighters, on an average, seven days in the year. The customs-house and principal railway station are close to the north jetty. The port is state owned, and is under the administration of the harbour and railway board of the Union.

Trade.—Port Elizabeth has a large import trade, chiefly in textiles, machinery, hardware, apparel and provisions, supplying to a considerable extent the markets of Kimberley, Rhodesia, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. The exports are mainly the products of the eastern part of the Cape province, the most important being ostrich feathers, wool and mohair. Skins, hides and maize are also exported. In 1855 the value of the imports was £376,000; in 1883 £2,364,000; in 1898 £6,248,000; in 1903, £10,137,000. Depression in trade brought down the imports in 1904 to £6,855,000. In 1906 they were £6,564,000 and in 1907 £6,004,000. The export trade has been of slower but more steady growth. It was valued at £584,000 in 1855, at £2,341,000 in 1883, £2,103,000 in 1898, £2,010,000 in 1903. Indicative of the fact that the agricultural community was little affected by the trade depression are the export figures for 1904 and 1906, which were £2,044,000 and £2,627,000 respectively. In 1907 goods valued at £3,150,000 were exported.

Population.—The population within the municipal area was at the 1904 census 32,959; that within the district of Port Elizabeth 46,626, of whom 23,782 were whites. Many of the inhabitants are of German origin and the Deutsche Liedertafel is one of the most popular clubs in the town.