Early History of Limbe
In August 1858, the Rev. Alfred Saker of the (London) Baptist mission left Fernando poo where he was carrying out his missionary activities when he arrived there in 1840. Fernando poo was a Roman Catholic dominated area, so the new governor, Don Carlos Chacon found Alfred Saker and his religious activities unacceptable. Saker was then forced to leave. However, he had earlier explored the coast westwards from Bimbia and opened a mission station in 1848 with Rev. and Mrs. Joseph Merrick. He was struck by the beauty of the Ambas Bay with its many islands. He then landed with his party of ex-Jamaican slaves on Mondoli Island, and without any waste of time selected the rocky area at the mouth of the Limbe river. He immediately contacted king William of Bimbia who authorized him to settle on the entire Ambas Bay of its islands and the strip of coastland. However, prior to the arrival of the missionaries on the site, Limbe was devoid of inhabitants except some few visiting fishermen who came to rest at night.
Saker applied to the British Foreign Office for the new settlement to be acknowledged but the idea was not accepted. He however went ahead to establish by-laws to administer his new found settlement. He insisted the area should be called after Queen Victoria the then ruling monarch of England. The settlement was known as Victoria from that period.
From England to Germany
Victoria was officially transferred from England to Germany by exchange of memorandum of 27th January and 31st January 1887. The effective transfer was on 28th March 1887. The British came back after the end of the first World War with the French who replaced the Germans in Douala.
Origin of Name
The name Victoria, which had been in existence since 1858 when it was founded by Rev. Alfred Saker, was changed by a presidential decree on May 16th, 1982 from its original name to Limbe. The origin of the name Limbe is from the river which runs across the city. Foo is the native name very popularly used by the natives who identified the settlement as a missionary hideout for various criminals who were rescued from jungle (vigilante) justice by the missionaries.
Limbe 1 Municipality is very cosmopolitan with nearly all the tribal groups of Cameroon represented. The early influx of migrants started when the C.D.C. (Cameroon Development Corporation) was created in 1947. In search of labour for the C.D.C. plantations, various tribes from even neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Togo, Congo and the French speaking Cameroon settled in the entire division to seek for livelihood. However, the Isuwu and Bakweri’s who earlier settled in Victoria where more Europeanized. The ethnic composition has grown very highly due to inter marriages which has brought, the various tribes closer with the production of children who can claim dual or more ancestral lineages.
Limbe has some German/British structures which are antiquities and are still maintained for historical purposes for example the Senior Divisional Office; the Senior Divisional Officer’s residence (1890); the Baptist church (at Down Beach) (1877); Old Presbyterian Church (at Down Beach) (1891); the bridge over Limbe River to Senior Divisional Officer’s residence (at Jengele River) (1890); Presbyterian Primary School (at Down Beach) (1927); Cape Nachtigal lighthouse (1903); Botanical Gardens set up by the Germans under the Direction of Dr. Preuss as a centre for development of tropical agriculture.
History of The Limbe 1 Council
Limbe 1 municipality is a subdivision of Fako in the South West region of Cameroon created by presidential decree No. 2007/115 of 23rd April 2007. The Limbe 1 Council was created by presidential decree No. 2007/117 of 24th April 2007. The headquarters of this newly created subdivision is POH, pronounced FOO (which is a Bakweri word that means far). The boundaries of the Council are: Buea Council to the north, Tiko Council to the east, Limbe 3 Council to the southeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Limbe 2 Council to the west.
The Council was initially located at Down Beach. On the 18th of June 2019, the Council relocated to the newly constructed site adjacent Savoy Palmz Hotel. The first Lord Mayor was Dr. Daniel Matute Lyonga who reigned from the 1st of August 2007 until 29th of September 2013 when he was appointed senator. The second and current Lord Mayor Ro-danny Mokako Mbua was elected on September 30th 2013.