Entebbe's past as an administrative and commercial town dates back to in 1893 when Sir Gerald Portal, a British Commissioner, left Kampala for a site near the shores of the Lake at Entebbe.
He was searching for a quiet place to work with minimum disturbance. Entebbe, a wooded peninsula with its giant trees and bushes, was the place. He named the port after his wife Alice. Entebbe, in the local Luganda language, means a seat.
It derived its origins from a few rocky seats where Mugula, one of the Ganda chiefs of the past century used to sit to adjudicate cases or hold court. The name was shortened from Entebbe za Mugula to Entebbe.
Although no ships land there any more the port still stands today.
Entebbe's hopes for becoming a thriving commercial centre were blown when Sir Hesketh Bell, a British commissioner, who took over administration in 1906, gave his name to a port on the lake shores at Luzira, to accommodate lake steamers. This was later followed by the development of a road and railway line to Kampala.
The competition of the railway line from Mombasa to Kampala across the Nile Bridge at Jinja, put Entebbe's development on halt save for being the seat of Government for several years. The establishment of Entebbe International Airport and a few hotels to serve the colonial state led to infrastructural development. The Airport was commissioned in 1947 heralding the development of aviation infrastructure in the country.