Nelson is the largest urban area in the upper South Island, positioned on the shores of Tasman Bay. The site of the city was chosen in 1841 as it had the best harbour in the region – Nelson Haven – and was close to the fertile Waimea Plains. Māori have lived in the region since the 1300s, and knew the area that is now Nelson city as Whakatū. In 1858 Nelson became a city when Queen Victoria made it the seat of an Anglican bishop. Yet it had just over 5,000 people, and cattle still wandered the streets. Nelson grew very slowly from the 1860s until the 1950s, when population growth increased and new suburbs developed.