Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Saint Helena

St. Helena with its capital Jamestown

Saint Helena is an island of volcanic origin in the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the most isolated islands in the world. The highest point of the island is Diana's Peak at 818 m (2,684 ft).

Area: 122 km2
Population: 4255
Capital: Jamestown

It can only be reached by boat, but in 2005 the UK government announced the construction of an airport on the island. After several delays it’s expected to be completed by 2015. The main export products are stamps, coffee and Tungi Spirit.


The island, named after Helena of Constantinople, was uninhabited when it was discovered by the Portuguese at the start of the 16th century. It was usable as a stopover for ships on the route from Europe to Asia, therefore the Dutch and English dislodged the Portuguese from the area. After the Dutch decided to use Cape Town as their supply point the island was colonized by the English.

In 1676 the astronomer Edmond Halley (known for ‘his’ comet) set up an observatory on the island. From 1815 until his death in 1821 Napoleon was forced lived on Saint Helena. In 1900 and 1901 more than 5000 Boer prisoners were held captive, and in 1890-1897 the Zulu king Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo was imprisoned over here.

picture gallery

next episode: Napoleon

1 comment:

  1. Some interesting history, Rob. I did not know about the Boer imprisonment on the island, but it makes sense. I'm just surprise the Argentinians haven't claimed the island.

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