The Info List - Saint Helena

Saint Helena
Saint Helena
(/ˌsɪnt həˈliːnə/ SINT-hə-LEE-nə) is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic
South Atlantic
Ocean, 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
and 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi) west of the Cunene River, which marks the border between Namibia
and Angola
in southwestern Africa. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.[3] Saint Helena
Saint Helena
measures about 16 by 8 kilometres (10 by 5 mi) and has a population of 4,534 (2016 census).[2] It was named after Saint Helena
Saint Helena
of Constantinople. It is one of the most remote islands in the world, and was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. It was an important stopover for ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa
South Africa
for centuries. Napoleon
was imprisoned there in exile by the British, as were Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo
Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo
(for leading a Zulu army against British rule) and more than 5,000 Boers taken prisoner during the Second Boer War, including Piet Cronjé.[4] Between 1791 and 1833, Saint Helena
Saint Helena
became the site of a series of experiments in conservation, reforestation and attempts to boost rainfall artificially.[5] This environmental intervention was closely linked to the conceptualisation of the processes of environmental change and helped establish the roots of environmentalism.[5] Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is Britain's second-oldest overseas territory after Bermuda.


1 History of Saint Helena

1.1 Early history (1502–1658) 1.2 East India Company
East India Company
(1658–1815) 1.3 British rule (1815–1821) and Napoleon's exile 1.4 British East India Company
East India Company
(1821–1834) 1.5 Crown colony (1834–1981) 1.6 1981 to present

2 Airport 3 Geography

3.1 Climate

4 Administrative divisions 5 Population

5.1 Demographics 5.2 Religion

6 Politics 7 Human rights

7.1 Child abuse scandal

8 Biodiversity 9 Economy

9.1 Economic statistics 9.2 Banking and currency

10 Transport

10.1 Sea 10.2 Air 10.3 Local

11 Media and communications

11.1 Radio 11.2 Online 11.3 Television 11.4 Telecommunications 11.5 Internet 11.6 Satellite earth station 11.7 Local newspapers

12 Culture and society

12.1 Education 12.2 Sport 12.3 Scouting

13 Notable people from St. Helena 14 Namesake 15 See also 16 References 17 Further reading 18 External links

History of Saint Helena[edit] Main article: History of Saint Helena Early history (1502–1658)[edit] Most historical accounts state that the island was sighted on 21 May 1502 by Galician navigator João da Nova
João da Nova
sailing in the service of Portugal, and that he named it Santa Helena after Helena of Constantinople. Another theory holds that the island found by da Nova was actually Tristan da Cunha, 2,430 kilometres (1,510 mi) to the south,[6] and that Saint Helena
Saint Helena
was discovered by some of the ships attached to the squadron of the Estêvão da Gama expedition on 30 July 1503 (as reported in the account of clerk Thomé Lopes).[7][8][9] However, a paper published in 2015 reviewed the discovery date and dismissed 18 August as too late for da Nova to make the discovery and then return to Lisbon by 11 September, whether he sailed from Saint Helena or Tristan da Cunha.[10] It demonstrates that 21 May is probably a Protestant rather than a Catholic or Orthodox feast day, and the date was first quoted in 1596 by Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, who was probably mistaken because the island was discovered several decades before the Reformation
and the start of Protestantism.[11][12] The alternative discovery date of 3 May is suggested as being historically more credible; it is the Catholic feast day of the finding of the True Cross
True Cross
by Saint Helena
Saint Helena
in Jerusalem, and cited by Odoardo Duarte Lopes[13] and Sir Thomas Herbert.[14] 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. They formed no permanent settlement, but the island was an important rendezvous point and source of food for ships travelling by Cape Route
Cape Route
from Asia to Europe, and frequently sick mariners were left on the island to recover before taking passage on the next ship to call at the island.[15] Englishman Sir Francis Drake
Francis Drake
probably located the island on the final leg of his circumnavigation of the world (1577–1580).[16] Further visits by other English explorers followed and, once Saint 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
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
formally claimed Saint 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. East India Company
East India Company

A View of the Town and Island of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
in the Atlantic Ocean belonging to the British East India
Company, engraving, c. 1790.

In 1657, Oliver Cromwell[17] granted the English East India Company
East India Company
a charter to govern Saint 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, making Saint Helena one of Britain's earliest colonies outside North America and the Caribbean. 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, later King James II of England. Between January and May 1673, the Dutch East India Company
East India Company
forcibly took the island, before English reinforcements restored English East India
Company control. The company experienced difficulty attracting new immigrants, and sentiments of unrest and rebellion arose among the inhabitants. Ecological problems of deforestation, soil erosion, vermin and drought led Governor Isaac Pyke in 1715 to suggest that the population be moved to Mauritius, 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 planting trees, improving fortifications, eliminating corruption, building a hospital, tackling the neglect of crops and livestock, controlling the consumption of alcohol and introducing legal reforms. The island enjoyed a lengthy period of prosperity from about 1770. Captain James Cook
James Cook
visited the island in 1775 on the final leg of his second circumnavigation of the world. St. James' Church was built in Jamestown in 1774, and Plantation House in 1791–1792; the latter has since been the official residence of the Governor. Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley
visited Saint Helena
Saint Helena
on leaving the University of Oxford in 1676 and set up an astronomical observatory with a 7.3-metre-long (24 ft) aerial telescope, with the intention of studying stars from the Southern Hemisphere.[18] The site of this telescope is near Saint Mathew's Church in Hutt's Gate in the Longwood district. The 680-metre (2,230 ft) high hill there is named for him and is called Halley's Mount. Throughout this period, Saint Helena
Saint Helena
was an important port of call of the East India
Company. East Indiamen would stop there on the return leg of their voyages to British India
and China. At Saint Helena, ships could replenish supplies of water and provisions and, during wartime, form convoys that would sail under the protection of vessels of the Royal Navy. Captain James Cook's ship HMS Endeavour
HMS Endeavour
anchored and resupplied off the coast of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
in May 1771 on its return from the European discovery of the east coast of Australia
and the rediscovery of New Zealand.[19] 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 coolie labourers arrived in 1810, and their numbers reached 600 by 1818. Many were allowed to stay, and their descendants became integrated into the population. An 1814 census recorded 3,507 people on the island. British rule (1815–1821) and Napoleon's exile[edit]

Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène by Francois-Joseph Sandmann

Longwood House
Longwood House
(photographed June 1970)

See also: Napoleon
§ Exile on Saint Helena In 1815, the British government
British government
selected Saint Helena
Saint Helena
as the place of detention for Napoleon
Bonaparte. He was taken to the island in October 1815. Napoleon
stayed at the Briars pavilion on the grounds of the Balcombe family's home until his permanent residence at Longwood House was completed in December 1815. Napoleon
died there on 5 May 1821.[20] British East India Company
East India Company
(1821–1834)[edit] After Napoleon's death, the thousands of temporary visitors were withdrawn and the East India Company
East India Company
resumed full control of Saint Helena. Between 1815 and 1830, the EIC made the packet schooner St Helena available to the government of the island, which made multiple trips per year between the island and the Cape, carrying passengers both ways and supplies of wine and provisions back to the island. Napoleon
praised Saint Helena's coffee during his exile on the island, and the product enjoyed a brief popularity in Paris
in the years after his death. The importation of slaves to Saint Helena
Saint Helena
was banned in 1792, but the phased emancipation of over 800 resident slaves did not take place until 1827, which was still some six years before the British parliament passed legislation to ban slavery in the colonies.[21] Crown colony (1834–1981)[edit]

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Under the provisions of the 1833 India
Act, control of Saint Helena passed from the East India Company
East India Company
to the British Crown, and it became a crown colony.[1] Subsequent administrative cost-cutting triggered a long-term population decline: 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 steamships not reliant on trade winds, as well as the diversion of Far East trade away from the traditional South Atlantic
South Atlantic
shipping lanes to a route via the Red Sea
Red Sea
(which, prior to the building of the Suez Canal, involved a short overland section). So in the number of ships calling at the island fell 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 1858, the French emperor Napoleon
III successfully gained the possession, in the name of the French government, of Longwood House and the lands around it, the last residence of Napoleon
I (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. On 11 April 1898 American Joshua Slocum, on his famous and epic solo round-the-world voyage, arrived at Jamestown. He departed on 20 April 1898 for the final leg of his circumnavigation, having been extended hospitality by the governor, His Excellency Sir R A Standale. He presented two lectures on his voyage, and was invited to Longwood by the French Consular agent. In 1900 and 1901, over 6,000 Boer
prisoners were held on the island, notably Piet Cronjé
Piet Cronjé
and his wife after their defeat at Battle of Paardeberg. The resulting population reached an all-time high of 9,850 in 1901. A local industry manufacturing fibre from New Zealand
New Zealand
flax was successfully re-established in 1907 and generated considerable income during the First World War. Ascension Island
Ascension Island
was made a dependency of Saint Helena in 1922, and Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
followed in 1938. During the Second World War, the United States
United States
built Wideawake airport on Ascension in 1942, but no military use was made of Saint Helena. During this period, the island enjoyed increased revenues from the sale of flax, with prices peaking in 1951. However, the industry declined because of transport costs and competition from synthetic fibres. The decision by the British Post Office to use synthetic fibres for its mailbags was a further blow, contributing to the closure of the island's flax mills in 1965. From 1958, the Union Castle shipping line gradually reduced its service calls to the island. Curnow Shipping, based in Avonmouth, replaced the Union-Castle Line
Union-Castle Line
mailship service in 1977, using the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) St Helena which was introduced in 1989. 1981 to present[edit]

Saint Helena
Saint Helena
seen from space (photo is oriented with south-east towards the top)

The British Nationality Act 1981 reclassified Saint Helena
Saint Helena
and the other Crown colonies as British Dependent Territories. The islanders lost their right of abode in Britain. For the next 20 years, many could find only low-paid work with the island government, and the only available employment outside Saint Helena
Saint Helena
was on the Falkland Islands 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 Saint Helena. In 1989, Prince Andrew launched the replacement RMS St Helena to serve the island; the vessel was specially built for the Cardiff– Cape Town
Cape Town
route and features a mixed cargo/passenger layout. The Saint Helena Constitution took effect in 1989 and provided that the island would be governed by a Governor, Commander-in-Chief, and an elected executive and legislative council. In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act 2002 granted full British citizenship to the islanders, and renamed the dependent territories (including Saint Helena) the British Overseas Territories. In 2009, Saint Helena
Saint 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. Airport[edit] Main article: Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Airport The UK government has spent £250 million in the construction of the island's airport. This is aimed at helping the island become more self-sufficient, encouraging economic development while reducing dependence on British government
British government
aid. It is also expected to kick-start the tourism industry, with up to 30,000 visitors expected annually.[22] As of August 2015, ticketing was postponed until an airline could be firmly designated.[23] The first plane landed on 15 September 2015, with the first large passenger jet landing on 18 April 2016.[24] The first regular commercial flight, carrying 78 passengers, landed at 13:15 GMT on 14 October 2017.[25] South African
South African
carrier SA Airlink
SA Airlink
started selling tickets 12 October 2017. They will be using an Embraer E190
Embraer E190
for its weekly service between Johannesburg and Saint Helena, which will have a refuelling stopover in Windhoek, Namibia. To comply with operational restrictions, SA Airlink
SA Airlink
will carry 76 or fewer passengers, instead of the usual 99. The airport is situated such that at times serious wind shear makes it difficult or even impossible to land from the north. It is safe to land from the other direction, but it is plagued by tailwinds, that decreases lift during landing, and thus imposes a weight restriction, which translates to fewer passengers.[26] Geography[edit]

Positions (north to south) of Ascension Island, Saint Helena, and Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
in the South Atlantic
South Atlantic

Main article: Geography of Saint Helena Located in the South Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) from the nearest major landmass, Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is one of the most remote places in the world. The nearest port on the continent is Namibe
in southern Angola; connections to Cape Town
Cape Town
in South Africa
South Africa
are used for most shipping needs, such as the mail boat that serves the island, the RMS St Helena. The island is associated with two other isolated islands in the southern Atlantic, also British territories: Ascension Island
Ascension Island
about 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) due northwest in more equatorial waters and Tristan da Cunha, which is well outside the tropics 2,430 kilometres (1,510 mi) to the south. The island is situated in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
and has the same longitude as Cornwall
in the United Kingdom. Despite its remote location, it is classified as being in West Africa
West Africa
by the United Nations. The island of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is 122 km2 (47 sq mi) in area, and is composed largely of rugged terrain of volcanic origin (the last volcanic eruptions occurred about 7 million years ago).[27] Coastal areas are covered in volcanic rock and are warmer and drier than the centre. The highest point of the island is Diana's Peak at 818 m (2,684 ft). In 1996 it became the island's first national park. Much of the island is covered by New Zealand flax, a legacy of former industry, but there are some original trees augmented by plantations, including those of the Millennium Forest project, which was established in 2002 to replant part of the lost Great Wood and is now managed by the Saint Helena
Saint Helena
National Trust. The Millennium Forest is being planted with indigenous gumwood trees. When the island was discovered, it was covered with unique indigenous vegetation, including a remarkable cabbage tree species. The island's hinterland must have been a dense tropical forest but the coastal areas were probably also quite green. The modern landscape is very different, with widespread bare rock in the lower areas, although inland it is green, mainly due to introduced vegetation. There are no native land mammals, but cattle, cats, dogs, donkeys, goats, mice, rabbits, rats and sheep have been introduced, and native species have been adversely affected as a result. The dramatic change in landscape must be attributed to these introductions. As a result, the string tree (Acalypha rubrinervis) and the Saint Helena
Saint Helena
olive (Nesiota elliptica) are now extinct, and many of the other endemic plants are threatened with extinction. 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 (0.62 miles) of the shore. The national bird of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is the Saint Helena
Saint Helena
plover, known locally as the wirebird, on account of its wire-like legs. It appears on the coat of arms of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
and on the flag.[28][29] Climate[edit] See also: Jamestown, Saint Helena
Jamestown, Saint Helena
§ Climate The climate of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is tropical, marine and mild, tempered by the Benguela Current
Benguela Current
and trade winds that blow almost continuously.[30][31] The climate varies noticeably across the island. Temperatures in Jamestown, on the north leeward shore, are in the range 21–28 °C (70–82 °F) in the summer (January to April) and 17–24 °C (63–75 °F) during the remainder of the year. The temperatures in the central areas are, on average, 5–6 °C (9.0–10.8 °F) lower.[31] Jamestown also has a very low annual rainfall, while 750–1,000 mm (30–39 in) falls per year on the higher ground and the south coast, where it is also noticeably cloudier.[32] There are weather recording stations in the Longwood and Blue Hill districts. Administrative divisions[edit]

Districts of Saint Helena

See also: Category:Parishes of Saint Helena Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is divided into eight districts,[33] with the majority housing a community Centre. The districts also serve as statistical divisions. The island is a single electoral area and elects 12 representatives to the Legislative Council[34] of 15.

District Area[35] km2 Area sq mi Pop. 1998 Pop. 2008[36] Pop. 2016[2] Pop./km2 2016

Alarm Forest 5.4 2.1 289 276 383 70.4

Blue Hill 36.8 14.2 177 153 158 4.3

Half Tree Hollow 1.6 0.6 1,140 901 984 633.2

Jamestown 3.9 1.5 884 716 629 161.9

Levelwood 14.8 5.7 376 316 369 25.0

Longwood 33.4 12.9 960 715 790 23.6

Sandy Bay 16.1 6.2 254 205 193 12.0

Saint Paul's 11.4 4.4 908 795 843 74.0

Total 123.3 47.6 5,157 4,257 4,349 35.3

NOTE: The difference between the figure for the total number of people found in the Administrative Districts and the population recorded in the 2016 Census is accounted for by the fact that the census included figured for the number of people on board the RMS St. Helena (183) and the number of people who were on yachts in the harbour (13).[37] Population[edit] Demographics[edit] Main article: Demographics of Saint Helena

Jamestown, from above

Jamestown, the capital of Saint Helena

Saint Helena
Saint Helena
was first settled by the English in 1659. As of February 2016[update], the island had a population of 4,534 inhabitants,[2] 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 and west coast of Africa are mentioned in early records), then India
and Madagascar. The importation of slaves was made illegal in 1792, thus preventing any further increase in their numbers. In 1840, Saint Helena
Saint Helena
became a provisioning station for the British West Africa
West Africa
Squadron,[30] preventing the transportation of slaves 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
West Indies
and Cape Town, and eventually to Sierra Leone. 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
in 1834. The majority were sent back to China, although records in the Cape suggest that they never got any farther than Cape Town. There were also a very few Indian lascars who worked under the harbour master. The citizens of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
hold British Overseas Territories citizenship. On 21 May 2002, full British citizenship was restored by the British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
Act 2002.[38] See also British nationality law. 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 Britain, South Africa
South Africa
and in the early years, Australia. The population had been steadily declining since the late 1980s and dropped from 5,157 at the 1998 census to 4,257 in 2008.[36] However, as of the 2016 census, the population has risen to 4,534.[2] 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 British citizenship in 2002, emigration to Britain by a wider range of wage-earners has accelerated due to the prospect of higher wages and better progression prospects. Religion[edit] See also: Category:Religion in Saint Helena Most residents are Anglican
and are members of the Diocese of St Helena, which has its own bishop and includes Ascension Island. The 150th anniversary of the diocese was celebrated in June 2009. Other Christian denominations on the island include the Roman Catholic (since 1852), the Salvation Army
Salvation Army
(since 1884), Baptist
(since 1845) and, in more recent times, the Seventh-day Adventist
Seventh-day Adventist
(since 1949), the New Apostolic Church, and Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
(of which one in 33 residents is a member, the highest ratio of any country).[39] The Roman Catholics are pastorally served by the Mission sui iuris of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, whose office of ecclesiastical superior is vested in the Apostolic Prefecture of the Falkland Islands. The Baha'i Faith
Baha'i Faith
has also been represented on the island since 1954.[40] Politics[edit] Main article: Politics of Saint Helena Executive authority in Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is vested in Queen Elizabeth II and is exercised on her behalf by the Governor of Saint Helena. 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 15 seats in the Legislative Council of Saint Helena, a unicameral legislature, in addition to a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker. Twelve of the 15 members are elected in elections held every four years. The three ex officio members are the Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary and Attorney General. The Executive Council is presided over by the Governor, and consists of three ex officio officers and five 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. In January 2013 it was proposed that the Executive Council would be led by a Chief Councillor who would be elected by the members of the Legislative Council and would nominate the other members of the Executive Council. These proposals were put to a referendum on 23 March 2013 where they were defeated by 158 votes to 42 on a 10% turnout.[41] Both Ascension Island
Ascension Island
and Tristan da Cunha
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
British monarchy
by the Saint Helena population is probably not exceeded in any other part of the world.[42] King George VI is the only reigning monarch to have visited the island. This was in 1947 when the King, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth (later The Queen Mother), Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret
were travelling to South Africa. The Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Saint Helena
Saint Helena
in 1957, followed by his son, Prince Andrew, who visited as a member of the armed forces in 1984, and his daughter, the Princess Royal, in 2002. Human rights[edit] In 2012, the government of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
funded the creation of the St. Helena Human Rights Action Plan 2012–2015.[43] Work is being done under this action plan, including publishing awareness-raising articles in local newspapers, providing support for members of the public with human rights queries, and extending several UN Conventions on human rights to St. Helena.[44] Legislation to set up an Equality and Human Rights Commission was passed by Legislative Council in July 2015. This commenced operation in October 2015.[45] Child abuse scandal[edit] In 2014, there were reports of child abuse in Saint Helena. Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(FCO) was accused of lying to the United Nations
United Nations
about child abuse in Saint Helena
Saint Helena
to cover up allegations, including cases of a police officer having raped a four-year-old girl and of a police officer having mutilated a two-year-old.[46][47][48] Sasha Wass QC and her team arrived on St. Helena on 17 March 2015 to commence the Inquiry and departed on 1 April 2015.[49] Announcements were made in local newspapers in week-ending 13 March 2015. A government report was published on 10 December 2015. It found that the accusations were grossly exaggerated, and the lurid headlines in the Daily Mail
Daily Mail
had come from information from two social workers, whom the report described as incompetent.[50][51][52] Biodiversity[edit] Main article: Wildlife of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha See also: List of birds of Saint Helena, List of mammals of Saint Helena, and Flora of Saint Helena Saint Helena
Saint Helena
has long been known for its high proportion of endemic birds and vascular plants. The highland areas contain most of the 400 endemic species recognised to date. Much of the island has been identified by BirdLife International as being important for bird conservation, especially the endemic Saint Helena plover
Saint Helena plover
or wirebird, and for seabirds breeding on the offshore islets and stacks, in the north-east and the south-west Important Bird Areas.[53] On the basis of these endemics and an exceptional range of habitats, Saint Helena is on the United Kingdom's tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[54] Artist Rolf Weijburg produced various etches on Saint Helena, picturing various of these endemic birds.[55][56] Saint Helena's biodiversity, however, also includes marine vertebrates, invertebrates (freshwater, terrestrial and marine), fungi (including lichen-forming species), non-vascular plants, seaweeds and other biological groups. To date, very little is known about these, although more than 200 lichen-forming fungi have been recorded, including nine endemics,[57] suggesting that many significant discoveries remain to be made. Economy[edit] Main article: Economy of Saint Helena

Note: Some of the data in this section have been sourced from the Government of St Helena Sustainable Development Plan.[58]

The island had a monocrop economy until 1966, based on the cultivation and processing of New Zealand
New Zealand
flax for rope and string. Saint Helena's economy is now weak, and is almost entirely sustained by aid from the British government. The public sector dominates the economy, accounting for about 50% of gross domestic product. Inflation was running at 4% in 2005. There have been increases in the cost of fuel, power and all imported goods. The 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 the arrival of tourists is linked to the arrival and departure schedule of the RMS St Helena and the slowly developing Saint Helena Airport. Some 3,200 short-term visitors arrived on the island in 2013. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
produces what is said to be the most expensive coffee in the world. It also produces and exports Tungi Spirit, made from the fruit of the prickly or cactus pears, Opuntia ficus-indica
Opuntia ficus-indica
("Tungi" is the local St Helenian name for the plant). Like Ascension Island
Ascension Island
and Tristan da Cunha, Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is permitted to issue its own postage stamps, an enterprise that provides a significant income. Economic statistics[edit]

This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (February 2014)

Quoted at constant 2002 prices, GDP fell from £12 million in 1999–2000 to £11 million in 2005–2006. Imports are mainly from the UK and South Africa
South Africa
and amounted to £6.4 million in 2004–05 (quoted on an FOB basis). Exports are much smaller, amounting to £0.2 million in 2004–05. Exports are mainly fish and coffee; Philatelic sales were £0.06 million in 2004–2005. The limited number of visiting tourists spent about £0.4 million in 2004–2005, representing a contribution to GDP of 3%. Public expenditure rose from £10 million in 2001–2002 to £12 million in 2005–2006 to £28m in 2012–13. The contribution of UK budgetary aid to total SHG government expenditure rose from £4.6 million in to £6.4 million to £12.1 million over the same period. Wages and salaries represent about 38% of recurrent expenditure. Unemployment levels are low (31 individuals in 2013, compared to 50 in 2004 and 342 in 1998). Employment is dominated by the public sector, however the number of government positions has fallen from 1,142 in 2006 to just over 800 in 2013. Saint Helena’s private sector employs approximately 45% 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 the percentage of households spending 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 2006/2007, most of them aged over 60, a sector that represents 20% of the population. Banking and currency[edit] In 1821, Saul Solomon
Saul Solomon
issued 70,560 copper tokens worth a halfpenny each Payable at St Helena by Solomon, Dickson and Taylor – presumably London partners – that 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. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
has its own currency, the Saint Helena
Saint Helena
pound, which is at parity with the pound sterling. The government of Saint Helena produces its own coinage and banknotes. The Bank of St. Helena
Bank of St. Helena
was established on Saint Helena
Saint Helena
and Ascension Island
Ascension Island
in 2004. It has branches in Jamestown on Saint Helena, and Georgetown, Ascension Island and it took over the business of the St. Helena government savings bank and Ascension Island
Ascension Island
Savings Bank.[59] For more information on currency in the wider region, see pound sterling in the South Atlantic
South Atlantic
and the Antarctic. Transport[edit] Main article: Transport on Saint Helena

RMS St Helena in James Bay.

Looking back at the island from the RMS St Helena.

Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is one of the most remote islands in the world, and has one commercial airport.[60] Sea[edit] The Royal Mail Ship
Royal Mail Ship
RMS St Helena runs between Saint Helena
Saint Helena
and Cape Town
Cape Town
on a five-day voyage,[60] also visiting Ascension Island
Ascension Island
and Walvis Bay, and occasionally voyaging north to Tenerife
and to Portland in the United Kingdom. She berths in James Bay, Saint Helena, approximately 30 times per year.[61] RMS St Helena was due for decommissioning in 2010, but her service life has been extended to February 2018.[62] Air[edit]

Saint Helena Airport
Saint Helena Airport
in 2016

In March 2005, the British government
British government
announced plans to construct an airport in Saint Helena.[63] On 22 July 2010, the British government agreed to help pay for the new airport.[64] In November 2011, a deal was signed between the British government
British government
and South African
South African
civil engineering company Basil Read, and the airport was scheduled to open in February 2016 with flights to and from South Africa
South Africa
and the UK.[65] In March 2015, South African
South African
airline Comair became the preferred bidder to provide weekly air service between the island and Johannesburg, starting from 2016.[66] The first aircraft landed at the new airport on 15 September 2015, a South African
South African
Beechcraft King Air 200, prior to conducting a series of flights to calibrate the airport's radio navigation equipment.[60][67] The first helicopter landing at the new airfield was conducted on 14 October 2015 by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
Fleet Air Arm
Fleet Air Arm
AgustaWestland Wildcat HMA.2 helicopter ZZ377 of 201 Flight, 825 Naval Air Squadron, embarked on the visiting Type 23 frigate
Type 23 frigate
HMS Lancaster.[68][69][70][71] The airport's opening was scheduled for May 2016, but it was announced in June 2016 that it had been delayed indefinitely due to high winds and wind shear.[72] The first commercial flight ever to land at Saint Helena
Saint Helena
was a charter flight carried out by Airlink
of South Africa. Flight SA8878 flew to Saint Helena
Saint Helena
on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 from Cape Town
Cape Town
via Namibe, Angola, using the Avro RJ85
Avro RJ85
ZS-SSH (msn 2285). The return service, SA8879, flew back to Cape Town
Cape Town
via Windhoek, Namibia, on the same day. The flight picked up passengers of RMS St Helena stranded on the island when St Helena suffered propeller damage.[73] No other commercial flights took place until 14 October 2017, when Airlink
began a weekly service between Johannesburg, South Africa, and Saint Helena Airport
Saint Helena Airport
using a Embraer E190-100IGW, the first scheduled airline service in Saint Helena′s history. With 78 passengers aboard, the airliner arrived at Saint Helena Airport
Saint Helena Airport
after a flight of about six hours from Johannesburg with a stop at Windhoek.[74] Local[edit] 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. Car hire is available for visitors. Media and communications[edit] See also: Communications in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Radio[edit] Radio Saint Helena started operations on Christmas Day 1967, and provided a local radio service that had a range of about 100 km (62 mi) from the island, and also broadcast internationally on shortwave radio (11092.5 kHz) on one day a year. The station presented news, features, and music in collaboration with its sister newspaper the St Helena Herald. It closed on 25 December 2012 to make way for a new three-channel FM service, also funded by St. Helena Government and run by the South Atlantic
South Atlantic
Media Services (SAMS), formerly St. Helena Broadcasting (Guarantee) Corporation.[75] SAMS[76] provides two radio channels to St Helena. SAMS Radio 1 is a music and entertainment channel; SAMS Radio 2 is a relay of the BBC World Service. SAMS also produces a weekly newspaper, The Sentinel, and a weekly TV news broadcast. Saint FM[77] provided a local radio service for the island which was also available on Internet
radio[78] and relayed in Ascension Island. The station was not government-funded. It was launched in January 2005 and closed on 21 December 2012. It broadcast news, features, and music in collaboration with its sister newspaper the St Helena Independent, which continues. Saint FM Community Radio took over the radio channels vacated by Saint FM and launched on 10 March 2013.[79] The station operates as a limited-by-guarantee company owned by its members,[80] and is registered as a fund-raising association. Membership is open to everyone and grants access to a live audio stream. Occasional amateur radio operations also occur on the island. The ITU prefix used is ZD7.[81] Online[edit] St Helena Online[82] is a not-for-profit Internet
news service run from the UK by a former print and BBC journalist, working in partnership with Saint FM and the St Helena Independent. St Helena Local [83] offers a news service and online user forum offering information about St Helena. This website is run from overseas but is open to contribution from anyone who has an interest in St Helena. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Island Info [84] is an online resource featuring the history of St. Helena from its discovery to the present day, plus photographs and information about life on St. Helena today. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Government [85] is the official mouthpiece of the island's governing body. It includes news, information for potential visitors and investors, as well as official press releases and pages from the major government departments. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Tourism [86] is a website aimed squarely at the tourist trade with advice on accommodation, transport, food and drink, events and the like. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Islands Property Finder - St Helena online accommodation offering self-catering, bed and breakfasts, hotels and property news. Television[edit] Sure South Atlantic
South Atlantic
Ltd (Sure) offers television for the island via 17 analogue terrestrial UHF channels, offering a mix of British, US, and South African
South African
programming. The channels are from DSTV and include Mnet, SuperSport, and BBC channels. The feed signal from MultiChoice DStv in South Africa
South Africa
is received by a satellite dish at Bryant's Beacon from Intelsat 7 in the Ku band.[87] SAMS[76] formerly produced a weekly TV news broadcast, Newsbyte, which was also published on YouTube. Telecommunications[edit] Sure provides the telecommunications service in the territory through a digital copper-based telephone network including ADSL broadband service. In August 2011 the first fibre-optic link was installed on the island, which connects the television reception antennas at Bryant's Beacon to the Cable & Wireless plc Technical Centre in the Briars. A satellite ground station with a 7.6-metre (25 ft) satellite dish installed in 1989[88] at The Briars is the only international connection providing satellite links through Intelsat 707 to Ascension island and the United Kingdom.[89] Since all international telephone and Internet
communications are relying on this single satellite link, both Internet
and telephone service are subject to Sun outages. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
has the international calling code +290, which Tristan da Cunha has shared since 2006. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
telephone numbers changed from four to five digits on 1 October 2013 by being prefixed with the digit "2", i.e. 2xxxx, with the range 5xxxx being reserved for mobile numbering, and 8xxx being used for Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
numbers (these are still shown as four digits).[90] Mobile telephony was due to start operating on the island by late 2015.[91] Internet[edit] Saint Helena
Saint Helena
was granted the use of .sh as its own Internet
country code top-level domain (ccTLD). This is formally shared with Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, British Overseas Territories. Registrations of internationalized domain names are also accepted under this TLD so, for example, the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein uses the .sh domain for some quasi-governmental sites.[92] In practice several sites dedicated to aspects of life on Saint Helena
Saint Helena
are run from elsewhere in the world, so use other TLD's, such as the Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Web site[93] which is based in Sweden. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
has a 10/3.6 Mbit/s[89] Internet
link via Intelsat 707 provided by Sure. Serving a population of more than 4,000, this single satellite link is considered inadequate in terms of bandwidth. ADSL broadband service is provided with maximum speeds of up to 1,536 KBit/s downstream and 512 KBit/s upstream offered on contract levels from lite at £16 per month to gold+ at £190 per month.[94] There are a few public wi-fi hotspots in Jamestown, which are also being operated by Sure (formerly Cable & Wireless).[95] The South Atlantic
South Atlantic
Express, a 10,000 km (6,214 mi) submarine communications cable connecting Africa to South America, run by the undersea fibre optic provider eFive, will pass St Helena relatively closely. There were no plans to land the cable and install a landing station ashore, which could supply St Helena's population with sufficient bandwidth to fully leverage the benefits of today's information society. In January 2012, a group of supporters petitioned the UK government to meet the cost of landing the cable at St Helena.[96] On 6 October 2012, eFive agreed to reroute the cable through St. Helena after a successful lobbying campaign by A Human Right, a San Francisco-based NGA working on initiatives to ensure all people are connected to the Internet. Islanders have sought the assistance of the UK Department for International Development
Department for International Development
and Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
in funding the £10m required to bridge the connection from a local junction box on the cable to the island. The UK government has announced that a review of the island's economy would be required before such funding would be agreed.[97] Satellite earth station[edit] In February 2018 St Helena Government launched the project to attract operators of satellite ground stations to the island who would lease capacity on the planned submarine cable for backhauling and so contribute to the operational costs of the latter.[98] Satellite ground stations on St Helena could support communications with satellites in low Earth orbit, including those in polar, equatorial and inclined orbit and with high-throughput satellites in medium earth as well as Geostationary orbit.[99] Local newspapers[edit] The island has two local newspapers, both of which are available on the Internet. The St Helena Independent[100] has been published since November 2005. The Sentinel newspaper was introduced in 2012.[101] Culture and society[edit] See also: Public holidays in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Education[edit] Education is free and compulsory between the ages of five and 16 [102] The island has three primary schools for students of age four to 11: Harford, Pilling, and St Paul’s. Prince Andrew School provides secondary education for students aged 11 to 18. At the beginning of the academic year 2009–10, 230 students were enrolled in primary school and 286 in secondary school.[103] The Education and Employment Directorate also offers programmes for students with special needs, vocational training, adult education, evening classes, and distance learning. The island has a public library (the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere[104]) and a mobile library service which operates weekly in rural areas.[105] The English national curriculum is adapted for local use.[105] A range of qualifications are offered – from GCSE, A/S and A2, to Level 3 Diplomas and VRQ qualifications:[106]


Design and Technology ICT Business Studies

A/S & A2 and Level 3 Diploma

Business Studies English English Literature Geography ICT Psychology Maths Accountancy


Building and Construction Automotive Studies

Saint Helena
Saint Helena
has no tertiary education. Scholarships are offered for students to study abroad.[105] Sport[edit] Sports played on the island include football, cricket, volleyball, tennis, golf, motocross, shooting and sailing. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
has sent teams to a number of Commonwealth Games. Saint Helena
Saint Helena
is a member of the International Island Games Association.[107] The Saint Helena cricket team made its debut in international cricket in Division Three of the African region of the World Cricket
League in 2012. The Governor's Cup is a yacht race between Cape Town
Cape Town
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 every year, with people coming from all over the world to take part. Scouting[edit] Main article: Scouting
and Guiding on Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha There are Scouting
and Guiding Groups on Saint Helena
Saint Helena
and Ascension Island. Scouting
was established on Saint Helena
Saint Helena
island in 1912.[108] Lord and Lady Baden-Powell visited the Scouts on Saint Helena
Saint Helena
on the return from their 1937 tour of Africa. The visit is described in Lord Baden-Powell's book, titled African Adventures.[109] Notable people from St. Helena[edit] Main page: Category:Saint Helenian people Namesake[edit] St Helena, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, was named after the island. See also[edit]

Africa portal United Kingdom
United Kingdom

List of islands Wildlife of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Manatee of Helena Outline of Saint Helena Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Police Service Healthcare on Saint Helena


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Further reading[edit]

Aptroot, Andre. Lichens of St Helena, Pisces Publications, Newbury, UK, 2012, ISBN 9781874357537 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 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 Cannan, Edward Churches of the South Atlantic
South Atlantic
Islands 1502–1991 ISBN 0-904614-48-4 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 Clements, B.; "St Helena: South Atlantic
South Atlantic
Fortress"; Fort, (Fortress Study Group), 2007 (35), pp. 75–90 Crallan, Hugh, Island of St Helena, Listing and Preservation of Buildings of Architectural and Historic Interest, 1974 Cross, Tony St Helena including Ascension Island
Ascension Island
and Tristan Da Cunha ISBN 0-7153-8075-3 Dampier, William, Piracy, Turtles & Flying Foxes, 2007, Penguin Books, 2007, pp 99–104, ISBN 0-14-102541-7 Darwin, Charles, Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands, Chapter 4, Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1844. Denholm, Ken, South Atlantic
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 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 Eriksen, Ronnie, St Helena Lifeline, Mallet & Bell Publications, Norfolk, 1994, ISBN 0-620-15055-6 Evans, Dorothy, Schooling in the South Atlantic
South Atlantic
Islands 1661–1992, Anthony Nelson, 1994, ISBN 0-904614-51-4 George, Barbara B. St Helena — the Chinese Connection (2002) ISBN 0189948922 Gosse, Philip Saint Helena, 1502–1938 ISBN 0-904614-39-5 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. Hibbert, Edward, St Helena Postal History and Stamps, Robson Lowe Limited, London, 1979 Hearl, Trevor W., St Helena Britannica: Studies in South Atlantic Island History (ed. A.H. Schulenburg), Friends of St Helena, London, 2013 Holmes, Rachel, Scanty Particulars: The Scandalous Life and Astonishing Secret of James Barry, Queen Victoria's Most Eminent Military Doctor, Viking Press, 2002, ISBN 0-375-5055-63 Jackson, E. L. St Helena: The Historic Island, Ward, Lock & Co, London, 1903 Janisch, Hudson Ralph, Extracts from the St Helena Records, Printed and Published at the "Guardian" Office by Benjamin Grant, St Helena, 1885 Keneally, Tom, Napoleon's Last Island, ISBN 978 0 85798 460 9, Penguin Random House Australia, 2015 Kitching, G. C., A Handbook of St Helena Including a short History of the island Under the Crown Lambdon, Phil. Flowering plants and ferns of St Helena, Pisces Publications, Newbury, UK, 2012, ISBN 9781874357520 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
South Atlantic
Chronicle: The Journal of the St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
Philatelic Society, Vol. XXIII, No.3, pp. 3–6, 1999 Schulenburg, A.H., '"Island of the Blessed": Eden, Arcadia and the Picturesque in the Textualizing of St Helena', Journal of Historical Geography, Vol.29, No.4 (2003), pp. 535–53 Schulenburg, A.H., 'St Helena: British Local History in the Context of Empire', The Local Historian, Vol.28, No.2 (1998), pp. 108–122 Shine, Ian, Serendipity in St Helena, a Genetical and Medical Study of an isolated Community, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1970 ISBN 0-08-012794-0 Smallman, David L., Quincentenary, a Story of St Helena, 1502–2002 ISBN 1-872229-47-6 Van Linschoten, Iohn Huighen, His Discours of Voyages into ye Easte & West Indies, Wolfe, London, 1598 Weider, Ben & Hapgood, David The Murder of Napoleon
(1999) ISBN 1-58348-150-8 Wigginton, Martin. Mosses and liverworts of St Helena, Pisces Publications, Newbury, UK, 2012, ISBN 9781874357-51-3

External links[edit]

Find more aboutSaint Helenaat's sister projects

Media from Wikimedia Commons Travel guide from Wikivoyage

The Official Government Website of Saint Helena The Official Website for St Helena Tourism Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Island Information website St Helena Association (UK) Friends of St Helena – supporting St Helena and providing information about the island since 1988 Radio Saint FM (live broadcasting from Saint Helena) The Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Virtual Library and Archive Wikimedia Atlas of Saint Helena Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Travel Guide from Travellerspoint. The first website on St Helena — since 1995 The St Helena Institute – Dedicated to St Helena and Dependencies research since 1997 BBC News: Life on one of the world's most remote islands Saint Helena
Saint Helena
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) Main sites, habitations and occupants of the island during Napoleon's captivity South Atlantic
South Atlantic
news, in association with the Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Independent St Helenas online rental accommodation and property finder Seale, Robert F. (1834) The geognosy of the island St. Helena, illustrated in a series of views, plans and sections. London: Achermann and Co. – digital facsimile from the Linda Hall Library Isolated Islands: St. Helena (2014), Globe Trekker
Globe Trekker
(Travel Documentory)

Coordinates: 15°57′S 005°43′W / 15.950°S 5.717°W / -15.950; -5.717

Links to related articles

v t e

British overseas territory
British overseas territory
of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

 Saint Helena

Jamestown (capital) Half Tree Hollow Saint Paul's Longwood Alarm Forest Saint Helena
Saint Helena

 Ascension Island

Georgetown (chief settlement) Cat Hill Two Boats Village RAF Ascension Island

 Tristan da Cunha

Edinburgh of the Seven Seas Gough Island Inaccessible Island Nightingale Islands

v t e

British Empire

Legend Current territory Former territory * Now a Commonwealth realm Now a member of the Commonwealth of Nations Historical flags of the British Empire


1542–1800 Ireland (integrated into UK) 1708–1757, 1763–1782 and 1798–1802 Minorca Since 1713 Gibraltar 1800–1813 Malta
(Protectorate) 1813–1964 Malta
(Colony) 1807–1890 Heligoland 1809–1864 Ionian Islands 1878–1960 Cyprus 1921–1937 Irish Free State

North America

17th century and before 18th century 19th and 20th century

1579 New Albion 1583–1907 Newfoundland 1605–1979 *Saint Lucia 1607–1776 Virginia Since 1619 Bermuda 1620–1691 Plymouth 1623–1883 Saint Kitts 1624–1966 *Barbados 1625–1650 Saint Croix 1627–1979 *Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1628–1883 Nevis 1629–1691 Massachusetts Bay 1632–1776 Maryland since 1632 Montserrat 1632–1860 Antigua 1635–1644 Saybrook 1636–1776 Connecticut 1636–1776 Rhode Island 1637–1662 New Haven

1643–1860 Bay Islands Since 1650 Anguilla 1655–1850 Mosquito Coast 1655–1962 *Jamaica 1663–1712 Carolina 1664–1776 New York 1665–1674 and 1702–1776 New Jersey Since 1666 Virgin Islands Since 1670 Cayman Islands 1670–1973 *Bahamas 1670–1870 Rupert's Land 1671–1816 Leeward Islands 1674–1702 East Jersey 1674–1702 West Jersey 1680–1776 New Hampshire 1681–1776 Pennsylvania 1686–1689 New England 1691–1776 Massachusetts Bay

1701–1776 Delaware 1712–1776 North Carolina 1712–1776 South Carolina 1713–1867 Nova Scotia 1733–1776 Georgia 1754–1820 Cape Breton Island 1762–1974 *Grenada 1763–1978 Dominica 1763–1873 Prince Edward Island 1763–1791 Quebec 1763–1783 East Florida 1763–1783 West Florida 1784–1867 New Brunswick 1791–1841 Lower Canada 1791–1841 Upper Canada Since 1799 Turks and Caicos Islands

1818–1846 Columbia District/Oregon Country1 1833–1960 Windward Islands 1833–1960 Leeward Islands 1841–1867 Canada 1849–1866 Vancouver Island 1853–1863 Queen Charlotte Islands 1858–1866 British Columbia 1859–1870 North-Western Territory 1860–1981 *British Antigua
and Barbuda 1862–1863 Stickeen 1866–1871 British Columbia 1867–1931 * Dominion
of Canada2 1871–1964 Honduras 1882–1983 * Saint Kitts
Saint Kitts
and Nevis 1889–1962 Trinidad and Tobago 1907–1949 Newfoundland3 1958–1962 West Indies
West Indies

1. Occupied jointly with the United States. 2. In 1931, Canada
and other British dominions obtained self-government through the Statute of Westminster. See Name of Canada. 3. Gave up self-rule in 1934, but remained a de jure Dominion until it joined Canada
in 1949.

South America

1631–1641 Providence Island 1651–1667 Willoughbyland 1670–1688 Saint Andrew and Providence Islands4 1831–1966 Guiana Since 1833 Falkland Islands5 Since 1908 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands5

4. Now a department of Colombia. 5. Occupied by Argentina during the Falklands War
Falklands War
of April–June 1982.


17th and 18th centuries 19th century 20th century

Since 1658 Saint Helena14 1792–1961 Sierra Leone 1795–1803 Cape Colony

Since 1815 Ascension Island14 Since 1816 Tristan da Cunha14 1806–1910 Cape of Good Hope 1807–1808 Madeira 1810–1968 Mauritius 1816–1965 The Gambia 1856–1910 Natal 1862–1906 Lagos 1868–1966 Basutoland 1874–1957 Gold Coast 1882–1922 Egypt

1884–1900 Niger Coast 1884–1966 Bechuanaland 1884–1960 Somaliland 1887–1897 Zululand 1890–1962 Uganda 1890–1963 Zanzibar 1891–1964 Nyasaland 1891–1907 Central Africa 1893–1968 Swaziland 1895–1920 East Africa 1899–1956 Sudan

1900–1914 Northern Nigeria 1900–1914 Southern Nigeria 1900–1910 Orange River 1900–1910 Transvaal 1903–1976 Seychelles 1910–1931 South Africa 1914–1960 Nigeria 1915–1931 South-West Africa 1919–1961 Cameroons6 1920–1963 Kenya 1922–1961 Tanganyika6 1923–1965 and 1979–1980 Southern Rhodesia7 1924–1964 Northern Rhodesia

6. League of Nations mandate. 7. Self-governing Southern Rhodesia
Southern Rhodesia
unilaterally declared independence in 1965 (as Rhodesia) and continued as an unrecognised state until the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement. After recognised independence in 1980, Zimbabwe
was a member of the Commonwealth until it withdrew in 2003.


17th and 18th century 19th century 20th century

1685–1824 Bencoolen 1702–1705 Pulo Condore 1757–1947 Bengal 1762–1764 Manila and Cavite 1781–1784 and 1795–1819 Padang 1786–1946 Penang 1795–1948 Ceylon 1796–1965 Maldives

1811–1816 Java 1812–1824 Banka and Billiton 1819–1826 Malaya 1824–1948 Burma 1826–1946 Straits Settlements 1839–1967 Aden 1839–1842 Afghanistan 1841–1997 Hong Kong 1841–1946 Sarawak 1848–1946 Labuan 1858–1947 India 1874–1963 Borneo

1879–1919 Afghanistan (protectorate) 1882–1963 North Borneo 1885–1946 Unfederated Malay States 1888–1984 Brunei 1891–1971 Muscat
and Oman 1892–1971 Trucial States 1895–1946 Federated Malay States 1898–1930 Weihai 1878–1960 Cyprus

1907–1949 Bhutan (protectorate) 1918–1961 Kuwait 1920–1932 Mesopotamia8 1921–1946 Transjordan8 1923–1948 Palestine8 1945–1946 South Vietnam 1946–1963 North Borneo 1946–1963 Sarawak 1946–1963 Singapore 1946–1948 Malayan Union 1948–1957 Federation of Malaya Since 1960 Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
(before as part of Cyprus) Since 1965 British Indian Ocean Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
(before as part of Mauritius and the Seychelles)

8 League of Nations mandate. Iraq's mandate was not enacted and replaced by the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty


18th and 19th centuries 20th century

1788–1901 New South Wales 1803–1901 Van Diemen's Land/Tasmania 1807–1863 Auckland Islands9 1824–1980 New Hebrides 1824–1901 Queensland 1829–1901 Swan River/Western Australia 1836–1901 South Australia since 1838 Pitcairn Islands

1841–1907 New Zealand 1851–1901 Victoria 1874–1970 Fiji10 1877–1976 Western Pacific Territories 1884–1949 Papua 1888–1901 Rarotonga/Cook Islands9 1889–1948 Union Islands9 1892–1979 Gilbert and Ellice Islands11 1893–1978 Solomon Islands12

1900–1970 Tonga 1900–1974 Niue9 1901–1942 *Australia 1907–1947 *New Zealand 1919–1942 and 1945–1968 Nauru 1919–1949 New Guinea 1949–1975 Papua and New Guinea13

9. Now part of the *Realm of New Zealand. 10. Suspended member. 11. Now Kiribati
and *Tuvalu. 12. Now the *Solomon Islands. 13. Now *Papua New Guinea.

Antarctica and South Atlantic

Since 1658 Saint Helena14 Since 1815 Ascension Island14 Since 1816 Tristan da Cunha14 Since 1908 British Antarctic Territory15 1841–1933 Australian Antarctic Territory
Australian Antarctic Territory
(transferred to the Commonwealth of Australia) 1841–1947 Ross Dependency
Ross Dependency
(transferred to the Realm of New Zealand)

14. Since 2009 part of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Ascension Island
Ascension Island
(1922–) and Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
(1938–) were previously dependencies of Saint Helena. 15. Both claimed in 1908; territories formed in 1962 (British Antarctic Territory) and 1985 (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands).

v t e

Portuguese overseas empire

North Africa

15th century

1415–1640 Ceuta

1458–1550 Alcácer Ceguer (El Qsar es Seghir)

1471–1550 Arzila (Asilah)

1471–1662 Tangier

1485–1550 Mazagan (El Jadida)

1487–16th century Ouadane

1488–1541 Safim (Safi)

1489 Graciosa

16th century

1505–1541 Santa Cruz do Cabo de Gué (Agadir)

1506–1525 Mogador (Essaouira)

1506–1525 Aguz (Souira Guedima)

1506–1769 Mazagan (El Jadida)

1513–1541 Azamor (Azemmour)

1515–1541 São João da Mamora (Mehdya)

1577–1589 Arzila (Asilah)

Sub-Saharan Africa

15th century

1455–1633 Anguim

1462–1975 Cape Verde

1470–1975 São Tomé1

1471–1975 Príncipe1

1474–1778 Annobón

1478–1778 Fernando Poo (Bioko)

1482–1637 Elmina
(São Jorge da Mina)

1482–1642 Portuguese Gold Coast

1508–15472 Madagascar3

1498–1540 Mascarene Islands

16th century

1500–1630 Malindi

1501–1975 Portuguese Mozambique

1502–1659 Saint Helena

1503–1698 Zanzibar

1505–1512 Quíloa (Kilwa)

1506–1511 Socotra

1557–1578 Accra

1575–1975 Portuguese Angola

1588–1974 Cacheu4

1593–1698 Mombassa (Mombasa)

17th century

1645–1888 Ziguinchor

1680–1961 São João Baptista de Ajudá

1687–1974 Bissau4

18th century

1728–1729 Mombassa (Mombasa)

1753–1975 Portuguese São Tomé and Príncipe

19th century

1879–1974 Portuguese Guinea

1885–1974 Portuguese Congo5

1 Part of São Tomé and Príncipe
from 1753. 2 Or 1600. 3 A factory (Anosy Region) and small temporary coastal bases. 4 Part of Portuguese Guinea
Portuguese Guinea
from 1879. 5 Part of Portuguese Angola
from the 1920s.

Middle East [Persian Gulf]

16th century

1506–1615 Gamru (Bandar Abbas)

1507–1643 Sohar

1515–1622 Hormuz (Ormus)

1515–1648 Quriyat

1515–? Qalhat

1515–1650 Muscat

1515?–? Barka

1515–1633? Julfar (Ras al-Khaimah)

1521–1602 Bahrain
(Muharraq • Manama)

1521–1529? Qatif

1521?–1551? Tarut Island

1550–1551 Qatif

1588–1648 Matrah

17th century

1620–? Khor Fakkan

1621?–? As Sib

1621–1622 Qeshm

1623–? Khasab

1623–? Libedia

1624–? Kalba

1624–? Madha

1624–1648 Dibba Al-Hisn

1624?–? Bandar-e Kong

Indian subcontinent

15th century


Laccadive Islands (Lakshadweep)

16th century Portuguese India

 • 1500–1663 Cochim (Kochi)

 • 1501–1663 Cannanore (Kannur)

 • 1502–1658  1659–1661

Quilon (Coulão / Kollam)

 • 1502–1661 Pallipuram (Cochin de Cima)

 • 1507–1657 Negapatam (Nagapatnam)

 • 1510–1961 Goa

 • 1512–1525  1750

Calicut (Kozhikode)

 • 1518–1619 Portuguese Paliacate outpost (Pulicat)

 • 1521–1740 Chaul

  (Portuguese India)

 • 1523–1662 Mylapore

 • 1528–1666

Chittagong (Porto Grande De Bengala)

 • 1531–1571 Chaul

 • 1531–1571 Chalé

 • 1534–1601 Salsette Island

 • 1534–1661 Bombay (Mumbai)

 • 1535 Ponnani

 • 1535–1739 Baçaím (Vasai-Virar)

 • 1536–1662 Cranganore (Kodungallur)

 • 1540–1612 Surat

 • 1548–1658 Tuticorin (Thoothukudi)

 • 1559–1961 Daman and Diu

 • 1568–1659 Mangalore

  (Portuguese India)

 • 1579–1632 Hugli

 • 1598–1610 Masulipatnam (Machilipatnam)

1518–1521 Maldives

1518–1658 Portuguese Ceylon
Portuguese Ceylon
(Sri Lanka)

1558–1573 Maldives

17th century Portuguese India

 • 1687–1749 Mylapore

18th century Portuguese India

 • 1779–1954 Dadra and Nagar Haveli

East Asia and Oceania

16th century

1511–1641 Portuguese Malacca
Portuguese Malacca

1512–1621 Maluku [Indonesia]

 • 1522–1575  Ternate

 • 1576–1605  Ambon

 • 1578–1650  Tidore

1512–1665 Makassar

1557–1999 Macau [China]

1580–1586 Nagasaki [Japan]

17th century

1642–1975 Portuguese Timor
Portuguese Timor
(East Timor)1

19th century Portuguese Macau

 • 1864–1999 Coloane

 • 1851–1999 Taipa

 • 1890–1999 Ilha Verde

20th century Portuguese Macau

 • 1938–1941 Lapa and Montanha (Hengqin)

1 1975 is the year of East Timor's Declaration of Independence and subsequent invasion by Indonesia. In 2002, East Timor's independence was fully recognized.

North America
North America
& North Atlantic

15th century [Atlantic islands]

1420 Madeira

1432 Azores

16th century [Canada]

1500–1579? Terra Nova (Newfoundland)

1500–1579? Labrador

1516–1579? Nova Scotia

South America & Antilles

16th century

1500–1822 Brazil

 • 1534–1549  Captaincy Colonies of Brazil

 • 1549–1572  Brazil

 • 1572–1578  Bahia

 • 1572–1578  Rio de Janeiro

 • 1578–1607  Brazil

 • 1621–1815  Brazil

1536–1620 Barbados

17th century

1621–1751 Maranhão

1680–1777 Nova Colónia do Sacramento

18th century

1751–1772 Grão-Pará and Maranhão

1772–1775 Grão-Pará and Rio Negro

1772–1775 Maranhão and Piauí

19th century

1808–1822 Cisplatina

1809–1817 Portuguese Guiana (Amapá)

1822 Upper Peru
Upper Peru

Coats of arms of Portuguese colonies Evolution of the Portuguese Empire Portuguese colonial architecture Portuguese colonialism in Indonesia Portuguese colonization of the Americas Theory of the Portuguese discovery of Australia

v t e

English-speaking world

Click on a coloured area to see an article about English in that country or region

Further links


English-speaking world History of the English language British Empire English in the Commonwealth of Nations Anglosphere


List of countries by English-speaking population List of countries where English is an official language


Countries and territories where English is the national language or the native language of the majority


Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha


Anguilla Antigua
and Barbuda The Bahamas Barbados Belize Bermuda British Virgin Islands Canada Cayman Islands Dominica Falkland Islands Grenada Guyana Jamaica Montserrat Saba Saint Kitts
Saint Kitts
and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Sint Eustatius Sint Maarten South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Trinidad and Tobago Turks and Caicos Islands United States United States
United States
Virgin Islands


Guernsey Ireland Isle of Man Jersey United Kingdom


Australia New Zealand Norfolk Island Pitcairn Islands


Countries and territories where English is an official language, but not the majority first language


Botswana Cameroon The Gambia Ghana Kenya Lesotho Liberia Malawi Mauritius Namibia Nigeria Rwanda Sierra Leone Somaliland South Africa South Sudan Sudan Swaziland Tanzania Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe


Puerto Rico


Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region India Pakistan Philippines Singapore


Gibraltar Malta


American Samoa Cook Islands Fiji Guam Kiribati Marshall Islands Micronesia Nauru Niue Northern Mariana Islands Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Tokelau Tuvalu Vanuatu

Dependencies shown in italics.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 265302791 GN