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Longwood, Saint Helena

Longwood, Saint Helena

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Longwood is a settlement and a district of the British island of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Saint Helena , named after St Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha...

, where Napoleon was exiled from 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 owns the land around Napoleon's original grave, but the United Kingdom retains full sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...


In 2008 it had a population of 715, compared to a population of 960 in 1998. The area of the district is 33.4 km2. The large district (second only to Blue Hill
Blue Hill, Saint Helena
Blue Hill is a hill and one of eight districts of the island of Saint Helena, a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean, located in the west and southwest of the island. Its main settlement, with the location of the community centre, is Blue Hill Village...

) includes the settlement of Hutt's Gate, with its St Matthew's church
St Matthew, Hutt's Gate
Saint Matthew is a church on the island of Saint Helena and is part of the Anglican Diocese of Saint Helena. It is situated in Hutt's Gate in the Longwood district. The church opened in 1862...

. The district also contains the island's only existing golf course
Golf course
A golf course comprises a series of holes, each consisting of a teeing ground, fairway, rough and other hazards, and a green with a flagstick and cup, all designed for the game of golf. A standard round of golf consists of playing 18 holes, thus most golf courses have this number of holes...


The district contains Prosperous Bay Plain
Prosperous Bay Plain
Prosperous Bay Plain is an area on the north-eastern coast of Saint Helena, a British island territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is the site of the proposed Saint Helena Airport and is notable for its high invertebrate biodiversity.-Geography:...

, which is where the proposed Saint Helena Airport
Saint Helena airport
Saint Helena Airport is a proposed airport that will be constructed in the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, an island in the South Atlantic Ocean. From the 1960s there was an idea to build an airport on the St Helena Island. In 1999 this was taken up by the island government...

 would be sited.

There is a weather recording station
Weather station
A weather station is a facility, either on land or sea, with instruments and equipment for observing atmospheric conditions to provide information for weather forecasts and to study the weather and climate. The measurements taken include temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind...

 in the Longwood district. Readings of temperature, air pressure and visibility are automatically read and communicated every 3 hours.


On leaving the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, in 1676, Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley FRS was an English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist who is best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley's Comet. He was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, following in the footsteps of John Flamsteed.-Biography and career:Halley...

 visited Saint Helena and set up an observatory with a 24 feet (7.3 m) aerial telescope
Aerial telescope
An aerial telescope is a type of very-long-focal-length refracting telescope built in the second half of the 17th century that did not use a tube. Instead, the objective was mounted on a pole, tree, tower, building or other structure on a swivel ball-joint. The observer stood on the ground and held...

 with the intention of studying star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

s from the Southern Hemisphere. The site of this telescope is near St Matthew's church in the district. The 680m high hill there is named for him and is called Halley's Mount.

Halley's Observatory was in use 1677-1678. Having returned to England in 1678, Halley published Catalogus Stellarum Australium in 1679, which included details of 341 southern stars. These additions to present-day star maps earned him comparison with Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe , born Tyge Ottesen Brahe, was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations...

. Halley subsequently was awarded with his Masters from Oxford and Fellowship of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...


In 1686 Halley published the second part of the results from his Helenian expedition, being a paper and chart on trade wind
Trade wind
The trade winds are the prevailing pattern of easterly surface winds found in the tropics, within the lower portion of the Earth's atmosphere, in the lower section of the troposphere near the Earth's equator...

s and monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

s. In this he identified solar heating as the cause of atmospheric
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

 motions. He also established the relationship between barometric pressure
A barometer is a scientific instrument used in meteorology to measure atmospheric pressure. Pressure tendency can forecast short term changes in the weather...

 and height above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. His charts were an important contribution to the emerging field of information visualization
Information visualization
Information visualization is the interdisciplinary study of "the visual representation of large-scale collections of non-numerical information, such as files and lines of code in software systems, library and bibliographic databases, networks of relations on the internet, and so forth".- Overview...


In the 19th/early 20th centuries, an observatory (in use 1840-1849) was situated in Longwood village and two further observatories were erected in the Hutt's Gate area: one in use 1892-1924 and the second in use 1925-1975.