East London is a city of the south east coast of South Africa. Originally called Port Rex, the river port was founded in 1836 by John Bailie, one of the 1820 Settlers, who had surveyed the Buffalo River estuary. It was later renamed to East London in honour of the Great British capital. It became a city in 1914.
In the mid 19th Century, the landing point and later port from 1870 served as an important supply post for the military headquarters at King William's Town, 31 miles distant. Fort Glamorgan was built on the West Bank in 1847. This fort and others; Fort Murray, Fort White, Fort Cox, Fort Hare, Fort Jackson and Fort Beaufort protected the area known as British Kaffraria.
During the Boer War, East London was utilised, as was Port Elizabeth, to land troops, horses and equipment which would then be transported to the front by train. Boer prisoners also passed through East London on their way to camps overseas.