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Saint Helena

Saint Helena

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Saint Helena named after St Helena of Constantinople
Helena of Constantinople
Saint Helena also known as Saint Helen, Helena Augusta or Helena of Constantinople was the consort of Emperor Constantius, and the mother of Emperor Constantine I...

, is an island of volcanic
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union consisting of the islands of Saint Helena, Ascension Island and the Tristan da Cunha group...

 which also includes Ascension Island
Ascension Island
Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the equatorial waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, around from the coast of Africa and from the coast of South America, which is roughly midway between the horn of South America and Africa...

 and the islands of Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha is a remote volcanic group of islands in the south Atlantic Ocean and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying from the nearest land, South Africa, and from South America...

. Saint Helena measures about 16 by and has a population of 4,255 (2008 census).

The island was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 in 1502. It is one of the most isolated islands in the world. For centuries, it was an important stopover for ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa. The British also used the island as a place of exile, most notably for Napoleon I
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo and more than 5,000 Boer
Boer
Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State,...

 prisoners. Saint Helena is now Britain's second oldest remaining colony (now termed overseas territory
Dependent territory
A dependent territory, dependent area or dependency is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a State, and remains politically outside of the controlling state's integral area....

), after Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

.

Early history, 1502–1658


Most historical accounts state that the island was discovered on 21 May 1502 by the Galician navigator João da Nova
João da Nova
João da Nova , Xoán de Novoa or Joam de Nôvoa galician spellings, Juan de Nova, Spanish spelling, was a Galician explorer of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans at the service of Portugal...

 sailing at the service of the Portuguese Crown, and that he named it "Santa Helena" after Helena of Constantinople
Helena of Constantinople
Saint Helena also known as Saint Helen, Helena Augusta or Helena of Constantinople was the consort of Emperor Constantius, and the mother of Emperor Constantine I...

. Another theory holds that the island found by De Nova was actually Tristan da Cunha 2430 kilometres (1,509.9 mi) to its south, and that Saint Helena was discovered by some of the ships attached to the squadron of Estêvão da Gama
Estêvão da Gama (c.1470)
Estêvão da Gama was a Portuguese navigator and explorer, discoverer of the Trindade and Martim Vaz islands .Estêvão da Gama was Vasco da Gama's cousin, son of his cousin Aires da Gama, as explained by Manuel de Faria e Sousa, in its work "Ásia Portuguesa"...

 expedition on 30 July 1503 (as reported in the account of clerk Thomé Lopes
Thomé Lopes
Thomé Lopes or Tomé Lopes was a Portuguese scrivener, writer of an eyewitness account of the second journey of Vasco da Gama to India .Thomé Lopes's background is obscure...

).

The Portuguese found the island uninhabited, with an abundance of trees and fresh water. They imported livestock, fruit trees and vegetables, and built a chapel and one or two houses. Though they formed no permanent settlement, the island was an important rendezvous point and source of food for ships travelling from Asia to Europe.

Englishman Sir Francis Drake probably located the island on the final lap of his circumnavigation of the world (1577–1580). Further visits by other English explorers followed, and, once St Helena’s location was more widely known, English ships of war began to lie in wait in the area to attack Portuguese India carracks on their way home. In developing their Far East trade, the Dutch also began to frequent the island. The Portuguese and Spanish soon gave up regularly calling at the island, partly because they used ports along the West African coast, but also because of attacks on their shipping, the desecration of their chapel and religious icons, destruction of their livestock and destruction of plantations by Dutch and English sailors.

The Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 formally made claim to St Helena in 1633, although there is no evidence that they ever occupied, colonised or fortified it. By 1651, the Dutch had mainly abandoned the island in favour of their colony at the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

.

East India Company, 1658–1815


In 1657, Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 granted the English East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 a charter to govern St Helena and the following year the Company decided to fortify the island and colonise it with planters. The first governor, Captain John Dutton, arrived in 1659, and from that date St Helena was Britain’s second oldest colony (after Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

). A fort and houses were built. After the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, the East India Company received a Royal Charter giving it the sole right to fortify and colonise the island. The fort was renamed James Fort and the town Jamestown, in honour of the Duke of York
Duke of York
The Duke of York is a title of nobility in the British peerage. Since the 15th century, it has, when granted, usually been given to the second son of the British monarch. The title has been created a remarkable eleven times, eight as "Duke of York" and three as the double-barreled "Duke of York and...

, later James II of England
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

.

Between January and May 1673 the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

 forcibly took the island, before English reinforcements restored English East India Company control. The Company experienced difficulty attracting new immigrants, and unrest and rebellion fomented among the inhabitants. Ecological problems, including deforestation, soil erosion, vermin and drought, led Governor Isaac Pyke to suggest in 1715 that the population be moved to Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

, but this was not acted upon and the Company continued to subsidise the community because of the island's strategic location. A census in 1723 recorded 1,110 people, including 610 slaves.

Eighteenth-century governors tried to tackle the island's problems by extending tree plantations, improving fortifications, eliminating corruption, building a hospital, tackling the neglect of crops and livestock, controlling the consumption of alcohol and introducing legal reforms. From about 1770, the island enjoyed a lengthy period of prosperity. Captain James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

 visited the island in 1775 on the final leg of his second circumnavigation of the world. St James' Church
St James, Jamestown
Saint James' Church is a church on the island of Saint Helena and is part of the Anglican Diocese of Saint Helena. It is situated in the capital Jamestown and is the oldest Anglican Church in the southern hemisphere; the present building was put up in 1774....

 was erected in Jamestown in 1774 and in 1791-2 Plantation House
Plantation House (Saint Helena)
Plantation House is the official residence of the Governor of Saint Helena. It is located 2 miles to the south of the capital, Jamestown, on the island of Saint Helena.-History:...

 was built, and has since been the official residence of the Governor.

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
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 Mathew'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...

 in Hutt's Gate, in the Longwood
Longwood, Saint Helena
Longwood is a settlement and a district of the British island of Saint Helena, where Napoleon was exiled from 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. France owns the land around Napoleon's original grave, but the United Kingdom retains full sovereignty....

 district. The 680m high hill there is named for him and is called Halley's Mount.

The importation of slaves was made illegal in 1792. Governor Robert Patton (1802–1807) recommended that the Company import Chinese labour to supplement the rural workforce. The labourers arrived in 1810, and their numbers reached 600 by 1818. Many were allowed to stay, and their descendents became integrated into the population. An 1814 census recorded 3,507 people on the island.

British rule 1815–1821, and Napoleon's exile





In 1815 the British government selected Saint Helena as the place of detention of Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

. He was brought to the island in October 1815 and lodged at Longwood
Longwood, Saint Helena
Longwood is a settlement and a district of the British island of Saint Helena, where Napoleon was exiled from 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. France owns the land around Napoleon's original grave, but the United Kingdom retains full sovereignty....

, where he died on 5 May 1821. During this period, St Helena remained in the East India Company’s possession, but the British government met additional costs arising from guarding Napoleon. The island was strongly garrisoned with British troops, and naval ships circled the island.

The 1817 census recorded 821 white inhabitants, a garrison of 820 men, 618 Chinese indentured labourers, 500 free blacks and 1,540 slaves. In 1818, Governor Hudson Lowe
Hudson Lowe
Sir Hudson Lowe KCB, GCMG was an Anglo-Irish soldier and colonial administrator who is best known for his time as Governor of St Helena where he was the "gaoler" of Napoleon Bonaparte.-Early life and career:...

 initiated the emancipation of the slaves.

British East India Company, 1821–1834


After Napoleon's death the thousands of temporary visitors were soon withdrawn and the East India Company resumed full control of Saint Helena. Owing to Napoleon's praise of St Helena’s coffee during his exile on the island, the product enjoyed a brief popularity in Paris in the years after his death. The importation of slaves was banned in 1792, but the phased emancipation of over 800 resident slaves did not take place until 1827, some six years before legislation to ban slavery in the colonies was passed by the British Parliament.

British rule, a Crown colony, 1834–1981


Under the provisions of the 1833 India Act, control of St Helena was passed from the East India Company to the British Crown, becoming a crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

. Subsequent administrative cost-cutting triggered the start of a long-term population decline whereby those who could afford to do so tended to leave the island for better opportunities elsewhere. The latter half of the 19th century saw the advent of steam ships not reliant on trade winds, as well as the diversion of Far East trade away from the traditional South Atlantic shipping lanes to a route via the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 (which, prior to the building of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 involved a short overland section). These factors contributed to a decline in the number of ships calling at the island from 1,100 in 1855 to only 288 in 1889.

In 1840, a British naval station established to suppress the African slave trade was based on the island, and between 1840 and 1849 over 15,000 freed slaves, known as "Liberated Africans" were landed there. In 1900 and 1901, over 6,000 Boer
Boer
Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State,...

 prisoners were held on the island, and the population reached its all-time high of 9,850 in 1901.

In 1858, the French emperor Napoleon III successfully gained the possession, in the name of the French government, of Longwood House
Longwood House
Longwood House was the residence of Napoleon I during his exile on the island of Saint Helena, from 10 December 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. It is situated on a windswept plain some from Jamestown. Formerly the summer residence of the Lieutenant Governor, it was converted for the use of...

 and the lands around it, last residence of Napoleon I
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 (who died there in 1821). It is still French property, administered by a French representative and under the authority of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A local industry manufacturing fibre from New Zealand flax
New Zealand flax
New Zealand flax describes common New Zealand perennial plants Phormium tenax and Phormium cookianum, known by the Māori names harakeke and wharariki respectively...

 was successfully reestablished in 1907 and generated considerable income during the First World War. Ascension Island was made a dependency of St Helena in 1922, and Tristan da Cunha followed in 1938. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the United States built Wideawake airport on Ascension in 1942, but no military use was made of St Helena.

During this period, the island enjoyed increased revenues through the sale of flax, with prices peaking in 1951. However, the industry declined because of transportation costs and competition from synthetic fibres. The decision by the British Post Office
General Post Office
General Post Office is the name of the British postal system from 1660 until 1969.General Post Office may also refer to:* General Post Office, Perth* General Post Office, Sydney* General Post Office, Melbourne* General Post Office, Brisbane...

 to use synthetic fibres for their mailbags was a further blow, contributing to the closure of the island's flax mills in 1965.

From 1958, the Union Castle
Union-Castle Line
The Union-Castle Line was a prominent British shipping line that operated a fleet of passenger liners and cargo ships between Europe and Africa from 1900 to 1977. It was formed from the merger of the Union Line and Castle Shipping Line...

 shipping line gradually reduced its service calls to the island. Curnow Shipping, based in Avonmouth
Avonmouth
Avonmouth is a port and suburb of Bristol, England, located on the Severn Estuary, at the mouth of the River Avon.The council ward of Avonmouth also includes Shirehampton and the western end of Lawrence Weston.- Geography :...

, replaced the Union-Castle Line mailship service in 1977, using the RMS (Royal Mail Ship
Royal Mail Ship
Royal Mail Ship , usually seen in its abbreviated form RMS, a designation which dates back to 1840, is the ship prefix used for seagoing vessels that carry mail under contract by Royal Mail...

) St Helena.

1981 to present


The British Nationality Act 1981
British Nationality Act 1981
The British Nationality Act 1981 was an Act of Parliament passed by the British Parliament concerning British nationality. It has been the basis of British nationality law since 1 January 1983.-History:...

 reclassified St Helena and the other Crown colonies as British Dependent Territories. The islanders lost their status as "Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies" and thus lost the right of abode
Right of abode
The right of abode is an individual's freedom from immigration control in a particular country. A person who has the right of abode in a country does not need permission from the government to enter the country and can live and work there without restriction....

 in Britain. For the next 20 years, many could find only low-paid work with the island government, and the only available overseas employment was on the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

 and Ascension Island. The Development and Economic Planning Department, which still operates, was formed in 1988 to contribute to raising the living standards of the people of St Helena.

In 1989, Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York KG GCVO , is the second son, and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 launched the replacement RMS St Helena to serve the island; the vessel was specially built for the Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

 route and features a mixed cargo/passenger layout.

The St Helena Constitution took effect in 1989 and provided that the island would be governed by a Governor and Commander-in-Chief, and an elected Executive and Legislative Council. In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act
British Overseas Territories Act 2002
The British Overseas Territories Act 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which superseded parts of the British Nationality Act 1981...

 restored full passports to the islanders, and renamed the Dependent Territories (including St Helena) the British Overseas Territories
British overseas territories
The British Overseas Territories are fourteen territories of the United Kingdom which, although they do not form part of the United Kingdom itself, fall under its jurisdiction. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not acquired independence or have voted to remain British territories...

. In 2009, St Helena and its two territories received equal status under a new constitution, and the British Overseas Territory was renamed Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union consisting of the islands of Saint Helena, Ascension Island and the Tristan da Cunha group...

.

In 2011, the UK government announced it would invest in a £200m airport on the Island, which would benefit them in the long term, as £26m a year in aid would no longer be required. It is expected the airport will be up at running by 2015. The aims of the airport are to reduce prices of transportation of goods, increase tourism by more than 50 fold and to create new job opportunities. Flying to the Island will only be available from South Africa, according to the 2011 plans.

Geography, flora and fauna




Saint Helena is one of the most isolated places in the world, located in the South Atlantic Ocean more than 2000 kilometres (1,242.7 mi) from the nearest major landmass. The island is associated with two other isolated islands in southern Atlantic, also British territories — Ascension Island about 1300 kilometres (807.8 mi) to the due northwest in more equatorial waters and Tristan da Cunha, which is well outside the tropics 2430 kilometres (1,509.9 mi) to the south. The island is situated in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

 and has the same longitude
Longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

 as Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 in the United Kingdom.

The island of Saint Helena has a total area of 122 km² (47.1 sq mi), and is composed largely of rugged terrain of volcanic origin (the last volcanic eruptions occurred roughly 7 million years ago). The centre is covered by forest, of which some has been planted, including the Millennium Forest project. The highland areas contain most of the island's endemic flora, fauna, insects and birds. The coastal areas are barren, covered in volcanic rock and are warmer and drier than the centre of the island. There are no native land mammals on St Helena, but rabbits, rats and mice have been introduced, as well as feral cats and dogs.

The highest point of the island is Diana's Peak
Diana's Peak
Diana's Peak is the highest point, at , on the island of Saint Helena, a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is of volcanic origin. It was proclaimed a national park in March 1996, the first on the island. It is covered in tree fern thicket.The peak is located at the...

 at 818 m (2,683.7 ft). In 1996 it became the island's first national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

. In 2000 a project began to replant part of the lost Great Wood, called the Millennium Forest, and is now managed by the Saint Helena National Trust, established in 2002.

When the island was discovered, it was covered with unique indigenous vegetation, including a remarkable cabbage tree
Cabbage tree
Cabbage tree is a common name for several plant species:* Andira inermis, native to Central and South America.* Various members of the genus Cordyline native to New Zealand.**Cordyline australis...

 species. The flora of Saint Helena contains a high proportion of endemic species. The island's hinterland must have been a dense tropical forest but the coastal areas were probably quite green as well. The modern landscape is very different, with widespread bare rock in the lower areas, although inland it is green, mainly due to introduced vegetation. The dramatic change in landscape must be attributed to the introduction of goats and the introduction of new vegetation. As a result, the string tree (Acalypha rubrinervis
Acalypha rubrinervis
Acalypha rubrinervis is an extinct plant in the spurge family , from the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. It was called string tree on account of the thin pendulous inflorescences which resembled red strings...

) and the St Helena olive (Nesiota elliptica) are now extinct, and many of the other endemic plants are threatened with extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

.

There are several rocks and islets off the coast, including: Castle Rock, Speery Island, The Needle, Lower Black Rock, Upper Black Rock (South), Bird Island (Southwest), Black Rock, Thompson's Valley Island, Peaked Island, Egg Island, Lady's Chair, Lighter Rock (West), Long Ledge (Northwest), Shore Island, George Island, Rough Rock Island, Flat Rock (East), The Buoys, Sandy Bay Island, The Chimney, White Bird Island and Frightus Rock (Southeast), all of which are within one kilometre of the shore.

The national bird of St Helena is the Saint Helena Plover, known locally as the Wirebird. It appears on the coat of arms of Saint Helena
Coat of arms of Saint Helena
The coat of arms of Saint Helena was authorised on January 30, 1984.The arms feature a shield, with the top third showing the national bird, the Saint Helena Plover Charadrius sanctaehelenae, known locally as the Wirebird - stylized, but with its unmistakable head pattern...

 and on the flag.

Climate



The climate of Saint Helena is tropical, marine and mild, tempered by the Benguela Current
Benguela Current
The Benguela Current is the broad, northward flowing ocean current that forms the eastern portion of the South Atlantic Ocean gyre. The current extends from roughly Cape Point in the south, to the position of the Angola-Benguela Front in the north, at around 16°S. The current is driven by the...

 and trade winds which blow almost continuously. The climate varies noticeably across the island. Temperatures in Jamestown
Jamestown, Saint Helena
Jamestown is the capital and historic chief settlement of the island of Saint Helena, in the South Atlantic Ocean. Located on the island's north-western coast, it is the island's port, with facilities for unloading goods delivered to the island, and the centre of the island's road and...

, on the north leeward shore, range between 21–28 °C (69.8–82.4 F) in the summer (January to April) and 17–24 °C (62.6–75.2 F) during the remainder of the year. The temperatures in the central areas are, on average, 5-6 °C (9-11 °F) lower. Jamestown also has a very low annual rainfall, while 750–1000 mm (29.5–39.4 in) falls per year on the higher ground and the south coast, where it is also noticeably cloudier. There are weather recording stations
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
Longwood, Saint Helena
Longwood is a settlement and a district of the British island of Saint Helena, where Napoleon was exiled from 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. France owns the land around Napoleon's original grave, but the United Kingdom retains full sovereignty....

 and 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...

 districts.

Administrative divisions



Saint Helena is divided into eight districts, each with a community centre. The districts also serve as statistical subdivisions and electoral areas. The four most populated districts send two representatives each to the Legislative Council
Legislative Council of Saint Helena
The Legislative Council of Saint Helena has 15 members, 12 members elected for a four-year term by popular vote and 3 members ex officio...

, and the remaining districts send one representative each.
balance
Area
km2
Area
sq mi
Pop.
1998
Pop.
2008
Pop./km²
2008
Alarm Forest
Alarm Forest, Saint Helena
Alarm Forest is one of the smaller of the eight districts of Saint Helena, in the northern part of the island of Saint Helena, southeast of Jamestown. In 2008 it had a population of 276, compared to a population of 289 in 1998....

 
5.9 2.3 289 276 46.8
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...

 
36.5 14.1 177 153 4.2
Half Tree Hollow
Half Tree Hollow
Half Tree Hollow is the "suburb" of Jamestown, Saint Helena, a British island in the South Atlantic. The village is built at the top of Jacob's Ladder, a hillside stairway connecting it with Jamestown...

 
1.6 0.6 1,140 901 563.1
Jamestown
Jamestown, Saint Helena
Jamestown is the capital and historic chief settlement of the island of Saint Helena, in the South Atlantic Ocean. Located on the island's north-western coast, it is the island's port, with facilities for unloading goods delivered to the island, and the centre of the island's road and...

 
3.6 1.4 884 714 198.3
Levelwood
Levelwood, Saint Helena
Levelwood is a district and settlement on the island of Saint Helena. In 2008 it had a population of 316, compared to a population of 376 in 1998, and is rural in nature....

 
14.0 5.4 376 316 22.6
Longwood
Longwood, Saint Helena
Longwood is a settlement and a district of the British island of Saint Helena, where Napoleon was exiled from 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. France owns the land around Napoleon's original grave, but the United Kingdom retains full sovereignty....

 
33.4 12.9 960 715 21.4
Sandy Bay
Sandy Bay, Saint Helena
Sandy Bay is a bay on the island of Saint Helena and a district of the island. In 2008 the district had a population of 205, compared to a population of 254 in 1998....

 
15.3 5.9 254 205 13.4
Saint Paul's
Saint Paul's, Saint Helena
St. Paul's is a dispersed area of settlement in the central part of the island of Saint Helena, and is a district of the island. In 2008 the district had a population of 795, compared to a population of 908 in 1998...

 
11.4 4.4 908 795 69.7
Royal Mail Ship
St. Helena
149 171
Jamestown
Harbour
20 9
Total 121.7 47.0 5,157 4,255 35.0

Politics



Executive authority in Saint Helena is invested in Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 and is exercised on her behalf by the Governor of Saint Helena
Governor of Saint Helena
The Governor of Saint Helena is the representative of the British monarch in the United Kingdom's overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha...

. The Governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government. Defence and Foreign Affairs remain the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

There are fifteen seats in the Legislative Council of Saint Helena
Legislative Council of Saint Helena
The Legislative Council of Saint Helena has 15 members, 12 members elected for a four-year term by popular vote and 3 members ex officio...

, a unicameral legislature. Twelve of the fifteen members are elected in elections held every four years. The other three members are the Governor and two ex officio officers. The Executive Council consists of the Governor, two ex officio officers, and six elected members of the Legislative Council appointed by the Governor. There is no elected Chief Minister, and the Governor acts as the head of government.

Both Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha have an Administrator appointed to represent the Governor of Saint Helena.

One commentator has observed that, notwithstanding the high unemployment resulting from the loss of full passports during 1981–2002, the level of loyalty to the British monarchy by the St Helena population is probably not exceeded in any other part of the world. King George VI
George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

 is the only reigning monarch to have visited the island. This was in 1947 when the King, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was the queen consort of King George VI from 1936 until her husband's death in 1952, after which she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II...

 (later the Queen Mother), Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret were travelling to South Africa. Prince Philip
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

 arrived at St Helena in 1957 and then his son Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York KG GCVO , is the second son, and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 visited as a member of the armed forces in 1984 and his sister the Princess Royal
Princess Royal
Princess Royal is a style customarily awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter. The style is held for life, so a princess cannot be given the style during the lifetime of another Princess Royal...

 arrived in 2002.

Demographics



Saint Helena was first settled by the English in 1659, and the island presently has a population of about 4,250 inhabitants, mainly descended from people from Britain – settlers ("planters") and soldiers – and slaves who were brought there from the beginning of settlement – initially from Africa (the Cape Verde Islands, Gold Coast
Gold Coast (region)
The Gold Coast was the region of West Africa which is now the nation of Ghana. Early uses of the term refer literally to the coast and not the interior. It was not until the 19th century that the term came to refer to areas that are far from the coast...

 and west coast of Africa are mentioned in early records), then India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

. Eventually the planters felt there were too many slaves and no more were imported after 1792.

In 1840, St Helena became a provisioning station for the British West Africa Squadron
West Africa Squadron
The Royal Navy established the West Africa Squadron at substantial expense in 1808 after Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807. The squadron's task was to suppress the Atlantic slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa...

, preventing slavery to Brazil (mainly), and many thousands of slaves were freed on the island. These were all African, and about 500 stayed while the rest were sent on to the West Indies and Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

, and eventually to Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

.

Imported Chinese labourers arrived in 1810, reaching a peak of 618 in 1818, after which numbers were reduced. Only a few older men remained after the British Crown took over the government of the island from the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 in 1834. The majority were sent back to China, although records in the Cape suggest that they never got any further than Cape Town. There were also a very few Indian lascars who worked under the harbour master.

The citizens of Saint Helena hold British Overseas Territories citizen
British Overseas Territories citizen
The status of British Overseas Territories citizen relates to persons holding British nationality by virtue of a connection with a British Overseas Territory.-British Nationality Act 1981:...

ship. On 21 May 2002, full British citizenship was restored by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002
British Overseas Territories Act 2002
The British Overseas Territories Act 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which superseded parts of the British Nationality Act 1981...

. See also British nationality law
British nationality law
British nationality law is the law of the United Kingdom that concerns citizenship and other categories of British nationality. The law is complex because of the United Kingdom's former status as an imperial power.-History:...

.

During periods of unemployment, there has been a long pattern of emigration from the island since the post-Napoleonic period. The majority of "Saints" emigrated to the UK, South Africa, and in the early years, Australia. The population has steadily declined since the late 1980s and has dropped from 5,157 at the 1998 census to 4,255 in 2008. In the past emigration was characterised by young unaccompanied persons leaving to work on long-term contracts on Ascension and the Falkland Islands, but since "Saints" were re-awarded UK citizenship in 2002, emigration to the UK by a wider range of wage-earners has accelerated due to the prospect of higher wages and better progression prospects.

Saint Helena is one of the few territories in the world which has never had a recorded HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

 / AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 case.

Religion



The majority of people belong to the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

, being members of the Diocese of St Helena, which includes Ascension Island, and which has its own Bishop residing on St Helena. The 150th Anniversary of the Diocese was celebrated in June 2009. Other Christian denominations on the island include: Roman Catholic (since 1852), Salvation Army
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

 (since 1884), Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 (since 1845), and, in more recent times, Seventh-day Adventist
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

 (since 1949), New Apostolic
New Apostolic Church
The New Apostolic Church is a chiliastic church, converted to Protestantism as a free church from the Catholic Apostolic Church. The church has existed since 1879 in Germany and since 1897 in the Netherlands...

, and Jehovah's Witness
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 (one out of every 35 residents is a Jehovah's Witness, the highest ratio in the world). The Baha'i Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 has also been represented on the island since 1954.

Tristan da Cunha and Ascension


Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha is a remote volcanic group of islands in the south Atlantic Ocean and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying from the nearest land, South Africa, and from South America...

, settled since 1815, has a population of fewer than three hundred inhabitants of mainly British, Irish, Italian and St Helenian descent. Christianity is the main religion, mainly Anglican and some Roman Catholic.

Ascension Island
Ascension Island
Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the equatorial waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, around from the coast of Africa and from the coast of South America, which is roughly midway between the horn of South America and Africa...

 has no native inhabitants. It is a working island with a transient population of approximately 1,000, made up mainly of members of the American
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 and British militaries, supporting civilian contractors who serve on the joint Anglo-American airbase, and members of their families (a few of whom were born on the island). There are also some Cable & Wireless
Cable & Wireless
Cable & Wireless Worldwide PLC is a global telecommunications company headquartered in Bracknell, United Kingdom. Cable & Wireless specialises in providing communication networks and services to large corporates, governments, carrier customers and resellers...

 and local government employees.

Economy


Some of the data in this section has been sourced from the Government of St Helena Sustainable Development Plan.


The island had a monocrop economy until 1966, based on the cultivation and processing of New Zealand flax
New Zealand flax
New Zealand flax describes common New Zealand perennial plants Phormium tenax and Phormium cookianum, known by the Māori names harakeke and wharariki respectively...

 for rope and string. St Helena's economy is now very weak, and the island is almost entirely sustained by aid from the British government. The public sector dominates the economy, accounting for about half of gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 (GDP). Inflation was running at 3.6% in 2005. There have been recent increases in the cost of fuel, power and all imported goods.

The Saint Helena tourist industry is heavily based on the promotion of Napoleon's imprisonment. A golf course also exists and the possibility for sportfishing tourism is great. Three hotels operate on the island but since the arrival of tourists is directly linked to the arrival and departure schedule of the RMS (Royal Mail Ship
Royal Mail Ship
Royal Mail Ship , usually seen in its abbreviated form RMS, a designation which dates back to 1840, is the ship prefix used for seagoing vessels that carry mail under contract by Royal Mail...

), occupancy levels are very low at about 10%. Some 1,180 short- and long-term visitors arrived on the island in 2005.

Saint Helena produces what is said to be the most expensive coffee in the world. It also produces and exports Tungi Spirit
Tungi Spirit
Tungi Spirit is the name given to a distilled product made in Saint Helena from the fruit of the prickly or cactus pear .- Usage :...

, made from the fruit of the prickly or cactus pears, Opuntia ficus-indica
Opuntia ficus-indica
Opuntia ficus-indica is a species of cactus that has long been a domesticated crop plant important in agricultural economies throughout arid and semiarid parts of the world. It is thought to possibly be native to Mexico...

 ("Tungi" is the local St Helenian name for the plant). Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha and Saint Helena all issue their own postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

s which provide a significant income.

Economic statistics


Quoted at constant 2002 prices, GDP fell from £12.4 million in 1999/2000 to £11.2 million in 2005/6. Imports are mainly from the UK and South Africa and amounted to £6.4 million in 2004/5 (quoted on an FOB basis). Exports are much smaller, amounting to £0.24 million in 2004/5. Exports mainly comprise fish and coffee. Philatelic
Philately
Philately is the study of stamps and postal history and other related items. Philately involves more than just stamp collecting, which does not necessarily involve the study of stamps. It is possible to be a philatelist without owning any stamps...

 sales were £0.06 million that year. The limited number of visiting tourists spent about £0.43 million in 2004/05, representing a contribution to GDP of 3.1%.

Public expenditure rose from £10.2 million in 2001/02 to £12.3 million in 2005/06. The contribution of UK budgetary aid to total SHG government expenditure rose from £4.6 million in to £6.4 million over the same period. Wages and salaries represent about 38% of recurrent expenditure.

Unemployment levels are low (50 in 2004 compared with 342 in 1998). The economy is dominated by the public sector, the number of government positions only falling slightly from 1,163 in 2002 to 1,142 in 2006. Public sector employment is characterised by high turnover rates, mainly due to emigration. St Helena’s private sector employs approximately 45 per cent of the employed labour force and is largely dominated by small and micro businesses with 218 private businesses employing 886 in 2004.

Household survey results suggest that the percentage of households who spend less than £20 per week on a per capita basis fell from 27% to 8% between 2000 and 2004, implying a decline in income poverty. Nevertheless, 22% of the population claimed social security benefit in 2006/7, although most of these are aged over 60 – this sector represents 20% of the population.

Banking and currency


In 1821, Saul Solomon issued a token copper currency of 70,560 halfpennies Payable at St Helena by Solomon, Dickson and Taylor — presumably London partners — which circulated alongside the East India Company's local coinage until the Crown took over the Island in 1836. The coin remains readily available to collectors.

Today Saint Helena has its own currency, the Saint Helena pound
Saint Helena pound
The Saint Helena pound is the currency of the Atlantic islands of Saint Helena and Ascension, which are constituents of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha...

 which is at parity with the pound sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

. The government of Saint Helena produces its own coinage and banknotes. The Bank of Saint Helena was established on Saint Helena and Ascension Island in the year 2004. It has branches in Jamestown
Jamestown, Saint Helena
Jamestown is the capital and historic chief settlement of the island of Saint Helena, in the South Atlantic Ocean. Located on the island's north-western coast, it is the island's port, with facilities for unloading goods delivered to the island, and the centre of the island's road and...

 on Saint Helena, and Georgetown, Ascension Island
Georgetown, Ascension Island
Georgetown is the capital and chief settlement of Ascension Island, situated on the west coast of the island.The town is centred around St Mary's Church, part of the Anglican Diocese of St Helena and the former Exiles Club, which is on the site of the original Royal Marines barracks from the times...

 and it took over the business of the St. Helena government savings bank and the Ascension Island Savings Bank.

For more information on currency in the wider region, see the Sterling Currency in the South Atlantic and the Antarctic.

Transport




Saint Helena is one of the most remote islands in the world, has no commercial airports, and travel to the island is by ship only. A large military airfield is located on Ascension Island, with two Friday flights to RAF Brize Norton, England (as from September 2010). These RAF flights offer a limited number of seats to civilians. The ship RMS Saint Helena runs between St Helena and Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

, also visiting Ascension Island and Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay , is a city in Namibia and the name of the bay on which it lies...

, and occasionally voyaging north to Tenerife
Tenerife
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands, it is also the most populated island of Spain, with a land area of 2,034.38 km² and 906,854 inhabitants, 43% of the total population of the Canary Islands. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year, the...

 and Portland
Isle of Portland
The Isle of Portland is a limestone tied island, long by wide, in the English Channel. Portland is south of the resort of Weymouth, forming the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England. A tombolo over which runs the A354 road connects it to Chesil Beach and the mainland. Portland and...

, UK. It berths in James Bay, St Helena approximately thirty times per year. The RMS Saint Helena was due for decommissioning in 2010. However, its service life has been extended indefinitely until the airstrip is completed.

After a long period of rumour and consultation, the British government announced plans to construct an airport in Saint Helena
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...

 in March 2005 and the airport was originally expected to be completed by 2010. However constant delays by the British government meant an approved bidder, the Italian firm Impregilo
Impregilo
Impregilo S.p.A. is an Italian-based construction and civil engineering business headquartered in Milan. The company was founded in 1959 and, through mergers, has grown to become the leading Italian engineering and general contracting group in the construction and environmental sectors...

, was not chosen until 2008, and then the project was put on hold in November 2008, allegedly due to new financial pressures brought on by the credit-crunch. By January 2009, construction had not commenced and no final contracts had been signed, and Governor Andrew Gurr departed for London in an attempt to try and speed up the process and solve the problems. On 22 July 2010, the British government agreed to help pay for the new airstrip using taxpayer money. In November 2011 a new deal between the British government and South African company Basil Read was signed and now means the airport is proposed to open in 2015, with flights to and from South Africa.

A minibus offers a basic service to carry people around Saint Helena, with most services designed to take people into Jamestown for a few hours on weekdays to conduct their business.

Radio


Radio St Helena, which started operations on Christmas Day 1967, provides a local radio service that has a range of about 100 km from the island, and also broadcasts internationally on Shortwave Radio (11092.5 kHz) on one day a year. The station presents news, features and music in collaboration with its sister newspaper, the St Helena Herald.

Saint FM
Saint FM
Saint FM is a radio station serving the island of Saint Helena. The station's studios and administration offices are located at Association Hall, Main Street, Jamestown...

 provides a local radio service for the island which is also available on internet radio and relayed in Ascension Island. The station is not government funded. It was launched in January 2005. It broadcasts news, features and music in collaboration with its sister newspaper, the St Helena Independent.

Television


St Helena Broadcasting Service will broadcast television in 2014 on channel 1. Cable & Wireless
Cable & Wireless
Cable & Wireless Worldwide PLC is a global telecommunications company headquartered in Bracknell, United Kingdom. Cable & Wireless specialises in providing communication networks and services to large corporates, governments, carrier customers and resellers...

 offers television for the island via three DStv
DStv
DStv is MultiChoice's multi-channel digital satellite TV service in Africa, launched in 1995. It operates from two satellites over Africa, broadcasting on Ku band via Eutelsat W7 and Intelsat 7 , which only requires a small satellite dish...

 (digital satellite TV) channels.

Telecommunications


Cable and Wireless provide the telecommunications service in the territory. Saint Helena has the international calling code +290 which, since 2006, Tristan da Cunha shares. Telephone numbers are 4 digits long. Numbers start with 1-9, with 8xxx being reserved for Tristan da Cunha numbers and 2xxx for Jamestown.

Internet


Saint Helena has a 10/3.6 Mbit/s internet link via Cable & Wireless International UK.

This is offered on 4 contract levels from lite £20 per month to gold at £120 per month. Both Internet and phone service are subject to sun outages.

Local newspapers


The island has two local newspapers, both of which are available on the internet. The St Helena Herald has been published by the partially publicly funded St Helena News Media Services (SHNMS) since 2000. The St Helena Independent has been published since November 2005.

Funding


In October 2008, the St Helena government announced that the island’s media must choose whether they obtained revenue from government subsidies or from advertising. They could not do both. On this basis, the partly publicly subsidised Media Services, which publishes the St Helena Herald and broadcasts on Radio St Helena, would no longer be allowed to run advertisements. Simultaneously, the St Helena Independent and Saint FM announced that they would need to increase advertising rates, which barely covered the cost of producing adverts.

Education


Education is free and compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16. There are three first schools, three middle schools, and one secondary school for 11-18 year olds. The British examination system is followed. There is no tertiary education
Tertiary education
Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education, such as a high school, secondary school, university-preparatory school...

 institution in Saint Helena.

Sport


Sports played on the island include association football, cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

, tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

, shooting sports
Shooting sports
A shooting sport is a competitive sport involving tests of proficiency using various types of guns such as firearms and airguns . Hunting is also a shooting sport, and indeed shooting live pigeons was an Olympic event...

 and yachting
Yachting
Yachting refers to recreational sailing or boating, the specific act of sailing or using other water vessels for sporting purposes.-Competitive sailing:...

. Saint Helena has sent teams to a number of Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years....

. Saint Helena is a member of the International Island Games Association
International Island Games Association
The International Island Games Association is an organisation the sole purpose of which is to organise the Island Games, a friendly biennial athletic competition between teams from several European islands and other small territories. The IGA liaises with the member island associations and with...

. The Saint Helena cricket team is due to make its debut in international cricket
International Cricket
International Cricket is a cricket video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System that was only released in Australia in 1992. Developed by Melbourne-based Beam Software, it was the only cricket game released for the NES. There were no attempts to release a cricket video game to the North...

 in Division Three of the African region
World Cricket League Africa Region
The World Cricket League Africa Region or Africa World Cricket League is a one-day cricket tournament organised by the African Cricket Association for non-Test national cricket teams in Africa...

 of the World Cricket League
World Cricket League
The ICC World Cricket League is a series of international one-day cricket tournaments for national teams without Test status, administered by the International Cricket Council. All associate and affiliate members of the ICC are eligible to compete in the league system, which features a promotion...

 in 2011.

The Governor's Cup is a yacht race (and the first prize) between Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

 and Saint Helena island, held every two years in December/January; the most recent event was in December 2010. In Jamestown a timed run takes place up Jacob's Ladder
Saint Helena Railway Company
In 1829, the Saint Helena Railway Company built an inclined-plane cableway on Saint Helena. It was intended to lift supplies from the port and capital of Jamestown up to Ladder Hill Fort. It was rebuilt as a long, steep staircase, by the Royal Engineers in 1871 now known as Jacob’s Ladder...

 every year, with people coming from all over the world to take part.

Scouting



There are scouting
Scouting
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....

 and guiding
Girl Guides
A Guide, Girl Guide or Girl Scout is a member of a section of some Guiding organisations who is between the ages of 10 and 14. Age limits are different in each organisation. It is the female-centred equivalent of the Scouts. The term Girl Scout is used in the United States and several East Asian...

 groups on Saint Helena and Ascension Island. Scouting was established on Saint Helena island in 1912. Lord and Lady Baden-Powell visited the Scouts on Saint Helena on the return from their 1937 tour of Africa. The visit is described in Lord Baden-Powell's book entitled African Adventures.

See also


  • Saint Helena National Trust
  • Saint Helena Police Service
    Saint Helena Police Service
    The Saint Helena Police Service is the local police force for the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, consisting of the islands of Saint Helena, Ascension and the island group of Tristan da Cunha. The service has approximately 30 officers, mainly on the most...



Further reading

  • Gosse, Philip Saint Helena, 1502–1938 ISBN 0-904614-39-5
  • Smallman, David L., Quincentenary, a Story of St Helena, 1502–2002 ISBN 1-87229-47-6
  • Jackson, E. L. St Helena: The Historic Island, Ward, Lock & Co, London, 1903
  • Cannan, Edward Churches of the South Atlantic Islands 1502–1991 ISBN 0-904614-48-4
  • George, Barbara B. St Helena — the Chinese Connection (2002) ISBN 1-899489-22
  • Cross, Tony St Helena including Ascension Island and Tristan Da Cunha ISBN 0-7153-8075-3
  • Brooke, T. H., A History of the Island of St Helena from its Discovery by the Portuguese to the Year 1806”, Printed for Black, Parry and Kingsbury, London, 1808
  • Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations Voyages Traffiques & Discoveries of the English Nation, from the Prosperous Voyage of M. Thomas Candish esquire into the South Sea, and so around about the circumference of the whole earth, begun in the yere 1586, and finished 1588, 1598–1600, Volume XI.
  • Darwin, Charles, Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands, Chapter 4, Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1844.
  • Duncan, Francis, A Description of the Island Of St Helena Containing Observations on its Singular Structure and Formation and an Account of its Climate, Natural History, and Inhabitants, London, Printed For R Phillips, 6 Bridge Street, Blackfriars, 1805
  • Janisch, Hudson Ralph, Extracts from the St Helena Records, Printed and Published at the “Guardian” Office by Benjamin Grant, St Helena, 1885
  • Van Linschoten, Iohn Huighen, His Discours of Voyages into ye Easte & West Indies, Wolfe, London, 1598
  • Melliss, John C. M., St Helena: A Physical, Historical and Topographical Description of the Island Including Geology, Fauna, Flora and Meteorology, L. Reeve & Co, London, 1875
  • Schulenburg, A. H., St Helena Historiography, Philately, and the "Castella" Controversy”, South Atlantic Chronicle: The Journal of the St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society, Vol.XXIII, No.3, pp. 3–6, 1999
  • Bruce, I. T., Thomas Buce: St Helena Postmaster and Stamp Designer, Thirty years of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan Philately, pp 7–10, 2006, ISBN 1-890454-37-0
  • Crallan, Hugh, Island of St Helena, Listing and Preservation of Buildings of Architectural and Historic Interest, 1974
  • Kitching, G. C., A Handbook of St Helena Including a short History of the island Under the Crown
  • Eriksen, Ronnie, St Helena Lifeline, Mallet & Bell Publications, Norfolk, 1994, ISBN 0-620-15055-6
  • Denholm, Ken, South Atlantic Haven, a Maritime History for the Island of St Helena, published and printed by the Education Department of the Government of St Helena
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  • Weider, Ben & Hapgood, David The Murder of Napoleon (1999) ISBN 1-58348-150-8
  • Chaplin, Arnold, A St Helena's Who's Who or a Directory of the Island During the Captivity of Napoleon, published by the author in 1914. This has recently been republished under the title Napoleon’s Captivity on St Helena 1815–1821, Savannah Paperback Classics, 2002, ISBN 1-902366-12-3
  • Holmes, Rachel: Scanty Particulars: The Scandalous Life and Astonishing Secret of James Barry, Queen Victoria's Most Eminent Military Doctor, Viking Press, 2002, ISBN 0-375-5055-6
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  • Dampier, William, Piracy, Turtles & Flying Foxes, 2007, Penguin Books, 2007, pp 99–104, ISBN 0-1410-2541-4
  • Clements, B.; "St Helena:South Atlantic Fortress"; Fort, (Fortress Study Group
    Fortress Study Group
    The Fortress Study Group is an international organisation based in the UK, which aims to further the understanding of military fortifications, particularly those designed after the introduction of gunpowder artillery.-History:...

    ), 2007 (35), pp75–90

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