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Posted by r2d2 04/22/2009 @ 08:12

Tags : helena, cities and towns, montana, states, us

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Race for the Cure held in Helena - Montana's News Station
Thousands of Montanans were racing to help find a cure for breast cancer as part of Montana's 15 th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure which was held in Helena on Saturday. Breast Cancer survivors, friends, family and other supports from all...
Here is the latest Montana news from The Associated Press ... - Reiten Television KXMB Bismarck
AP Here is the latest Montana news from AP HELENA, Mont. (AP) Republicans say the Supreme Court has a chance to prove its neutrality by picking a nonpartisan chairman of the panel draws legislative districts and heal the lingering hard feelings many in...
Tasting room: Casa Nuestra, St. Helena - San Francisco Chronicle
If you go: 3451 Silverado Trail, St. Helena; (866) 844-9463 or casanuestra.com; Open Mon.-Sat. by appointment. Nearby: Burgess Cellars (1108 Deer Park Road, St. Helena; (707) 963-4766, burgesscellars.com); Duckhorn (1000 Lodi Lane, St. Helena;...
Brothers top fight card at Helena Havoc - Helena Independent Record
Levi, 19, and Dalton, 18, Peaslee will be among the local brawlers to step into the ring tonight as the Fairground host Helena Havoc 6. Competition begins at 7:30 pm The meeting between the top mixed martial artists across the state will feature 12...
New publisher named for Butte, Helena newspapers - Chicago Tribune
AP HELENA, Mont. - A new regional publisher was named Wednesday for the Independent Record in Helena and the Montana Standard in Butte. Randy Rickman, 47, has been publisher of The Sentinel in Hanford, Calif, since 2003. He was born in Butte and lived...
Ballot propositions could affect St. Helena - St. Helena Star
By Jesse Duarte The outcome of the May 19 special election has financial implications for St. Helena, according to city officials. Propositions 1A through 1F are an attempt by the Legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to cover a budget...
Officers, families remember those who died in line of duty - The Missoulian
By EVE BYRON of the Helena Independent Record HELENA - Law enforcement officials from throughout Montana gathered in Helena Friday to remember those who died in the line of duty. A solemn procession of motorcycles, patrol cars and emergency vehicles...
DEQ fines Sand & Gravel for violation of operating plan - Helena Independent Record
By LARRY KLINE - Independent Record - 05/14/09 Helena Sand & Gravel has been assessed a $1980 fine by the state Department of Environmental Quality for violating its plan of operations last year at the company's new gravel pit north of East Helena....
87-year-old Helena woman devotes herself to ensuring east-side ... - Helena Independent Record
Selma moved to Helena and the neighborhood in 2001. Ever busy, she took most of the history courses offered at Carroll College, along with fair doses of English and philosophy — making up for a 60-years-past education woefully lacking in the humanities...
Helena woman startled by black bear on back porch - The Missoulian
By the Helena Independent Record HELENA - A Helena woman found a medium-sized black bear on her deck early Thursday morning. The bear was seen on the deck of a home on the 400 block of South Park Avenue just after midnight, according to Helena Police...


Helena is a given name.

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USS Helena (CA-75)

USS Helena (CA-75).jpg

The third USS Helena (CA-75), a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Helena, Montana. She was named Helena while building after the cancellation of CL-113.

Launched at Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Massachusetts on 28 April 1945,, sponsored by Mrs. John T. Haytin, wife of the mayor of Helena; and commissioned 4 September 1945, Captain Arthur Howard McCollum in command.

Helena completed her outfitting in the Boston area and sailed 24 October 1945, arriving New York City the next day to take part in the tremendous celebration of the Navy's role in World War II victory that marked Navy Day, 27 October 1945. After two shakedown/training periods at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Helena returned to Boston in February 1945 to prepare for her first deployment, a round-the-world cruise. Helena sailed from Boston 12 February 1946 for England where Admiral H. Kent Hewitt boarded and broke his flag as Commander Naval Forces, Europe, and Commander 12th Fleet. During the next 3 months, Helena conducted training exercises in Northern European waters and paid good-will visits to major ports in England and Scotland.

Relieved as flagship 1 May 1946, Helena sailed for the Far East via the Suez Canal, calling at major Mediterranean ports, Colombo, Ceylon, Singapore, and arriving Tsingtao 18 June 1946. During her tour in the Far East, Helena took part in a wide variety of training exercises and fleet maneuvers until she finally departed Shanghai 22 March 1947 for home after more than a year in foreign waters.

After training operations in California waters Helena departed once more for the Far East 3 April 1948, arriving Shanghai 24 days later. Throughout the summer and fall of 1948, she operated primarily in Chinese waters, returning to Long Beach December 1948.

Helena spent much of the spring of 1949 in training a new crew and in May cruised to train Naval Reservists, returning to Long Beach for a conversion necessary to equip her to carry a helicopter. During July and August 1949, Helena took part in a 6-week at sea training cruise for men of the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps to the Galapagos Islands and Panama. She then took part in Operation Miki, a joint Army-Navy amphibious training exercise in the Hawaiian Islands conducted in November.

Helena then proceeded via Yokosuka and Hong Kong to the Philippines where she conducted training exercises. She returned to Japan in January 1950, and soon after experienced the highlights of her service as flagship of the 7th Fleet when the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then touring the Far East, embarked 2 February 1950. During the remainder of her Far Eastern tour she carried out a schedule of large scale fleet exercises off Okinawa, and visits to Japanese ports. She departed for the United States 21 May 1950.

Helena's schedule called for a summer spent in Long Beach, followed by overhaul at San Francisco. Suddenly came word of the communist aggression in Korea. Hurriedly she prepared for sea; and, on 6 July 1950, sped westward. Stopping at Pearl Harbor only to take on ammunition, she plowed across the Pacific and into action on the east coast of Korea. On 7 August, she first unleashed her guns on an enemy target—the railroad marshalling yards, trains, and power plant near Tanchon.

Serving as flagship of the Bombardment Task Group, Helena pounded enemy positions, aiding immeasurably in keeping the invaders off balance and preventing them from mounting a formidable drive, as United Nations forces prepared to take the offensive. Operations such as hers provided the diversion necessary to cover the powerful amphibious assault into Inchon, 15 September 1950, Later, Helena provided gunfire support for Korean troops pushing the invaders north along the east coast, and it was Helena's, concentrated firepower that aided in creating a diversion at Samchok, and in the recapture of Pohang.

Valuable as she was in Korean waters, Helena could no longer put off overhaul, and in November 1950 she arrived at Long Beach to prepare for the now twice-postponed yard period.

After her overhaul, she reported for duty at Sasebo 18 April 1951, and was assigned to Task Force 77, the fast carrier group making daily air strikes against the enemy. While operating as heavy support for the carriers, Helena was often detached to pound shore targets. During June 1951, she was occupied almost continually in interdiction fire at targets along the east coast of Korea, subsequently she returned to the Task Force, At twilight on a day late in July, Helena was straddled and then hit by shore gunfire. Damage was light, and, swiftly twisting around the harbor in the maneuver which came to be called "the war dance", Helena delivered rapid continuous fire that destroyed seven enemy gun positions and an ammunition dump. After a short respite at Yokosuka, she returned again to the Task Force, but was soon detached for special duty supporting a massive air strike on supply depots and rail road marshalling yards at Rashin, acting as radar picket.

Helena's accurate gunnery was next sought by the Eighth Army, for whom she fired at 13 targets along the bombline in aid of advancing infantry. Her support to ground forces continued with missions fired for United States Marines and Republic of Korea Army units. On 20 September 1951 she returned to Yokosuka. Here, at a ceremony on her decks, President Syngman Rhee of Korea presented to Task Force 95 the first Korean Presidential Unit Citation awarded to a naval unit. Helena received the award for her operations in the fall of 1950.

After rejoining the Task Force, Helena was ordered to duty as fire support vessel in the Hungnam-Hamhung area. With her helicopter providing its usual efficient spotting, she fired with great success on rail and highway bridges, marshalling yards and gun positions for the next 2 weeks.

Helena returned to Long Beach 8 December 1951 and her entire battery of nine 8-inch (200 mm) guns was replaced. In February, she commenced training for return to the Far East. One of the highlights of this training period came from 14 February to 23 February 1952 when she took part in "Lex Baker One", the largest scale training exercise held since the outbreak of the Korean War. Over 70 ships and 15,000 sailors and Marines took active part in this operation.

Helena arrived once again at Yokosuka 8 June 1952 and the next day was underway to rendezvous with Task Force 77 off the coast of Korea. For 5 months her mission again was to burn buildings, destroy gun positions, and smash transportation facilities; all were left in her wake after shore bombardments. She also performed air rescue of pilots, two of whom were deep in enemy territory.

On 24 November 1952, Helena was relieved of her normal duties at Yokosuka and 5 days later sailed on a special mission. She called first at Iwo Jima where on 1 December Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Commander In Chief Pacific Fleet, boarded the ship by helicopter to visit briefly. Two days later she proceeded to Guam, where President-Elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, with several of his prospective cabinet members, and Admiral Radford embarked for passage to Pearl Harbor. Top-level policy conferences were held on board. Helena's distinguished passengers disembarked at Pearl Harbor 11 December 1952, and she returned to Long Beach 16 December.

Helena departed for the Far East 4 August 1953 to join Task Force 77 on security patrol in the Sea of Japan and after another voyage to the United States for upkeep and training, rejoined the 7th Fleet at Yokosuka as flagship on 11 October 1954. Helena spent much of her time in waters off Taiwan. The highlights of Helena's service during this tour of duty came in February 1955 during the evacuation of the Tachen Islands. These off-shore islands posed a possible point of contention between the Nationalist and Communist Chinese; and it was determined to neutralize them by means of evacuation. On 6 February came the "execute" from President Eisenhower, and the fleet, led by Helena, got underway. By 1500 on 9 February 1955, with Helena on watchful patrol, all civilians had been removed to safety from the islands—a total of 18,000 people. Early on 12 February the remaining 20,000 Nationalist troops were removed and, as Helena steamed on rear guard patrol, the Task Force sailed south.

After 6 months' training in home waters, Helena again sailed for Yokosuka, arriving 25 January 1956. During the 6 months of this tour of duty, she once more operated primarily in the Taiwan area and briefly in Philippine waters on exercises. She returned to Long Beach 8 July.

Exercises, which included firing of the Regulus I missile from Helena's launching gear, continued for 9 months, and then she headed for another Far East tour 10 April 1957. During the ensuing tour of duty, she played her flagship role fully, combining sea power and diplomacy.

Helena returned to Long Beach 19 October. Following a major overhaul completed 31 March 1958 and intensive training, including missile launching, she again sailed west.

Helena's 1958 cruise in the Far East began 3 August. Her first port of call was Keelung, Taiwan, arriving 21 August. On the next day, students and faculty of the Taiwan National Defense College were received on board for a tour of the ship. Her schedule next called for a visit to Manila, but the crisis brought on by the Chinese Communist shelling of the off-shore islands of Quemoy and Matsu governed by the Nationalists interrupted normal operations.

During the next weeks, Helena patrolled the troubled area. On 7 September she steamed to within 10 miles (16 km) of the Chinese mainland, covering Chinese Nationalist supply ships replenishing Quemoy Island. While on this duty, she was illustrating once more the fact that the mere presence of the overwhelming naval strength of the United States is one of the most formidable protections the free world has in deterring such aggression.

On 9 October 1958, while off the Philippines, word flashed to Helena to proceed to the aid of a stricken merchant vessel of Norwegian registry, the Hoi Wong, which had run aground on Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands. Helena reached the scene at 1000, 10 October 1958. Her helicopters rescued men, women and children, whom she transported to Hong Kong. Her men had skillfully and courageously carried out a difficult humanitarian mission, another contribution to strengthening American relationships with Asian nations. Helena resumed patrol and readiness operations until her return to Long Beach 17 February 1959.

On 5 January 1960 Helena departed for the Western Pacific in company with Yorktown and her escort of Destroyer Squadron 23. Visits to Korea and to Taiwan prefaced her participation in Operation Blue Star, one of the largest peacetime amphibious exercises in our history.

After a period in Japan, Helena sailed with Ranger and Saint Paul to Guam. On 24 April 1960, Helena, in company with destroyers Taylor and Jenkins, set sail for Australia. She then returned to Long Beach and from June until November underwent extensive overhaul. In mid-January 1961 she became the permanent flagship of Commander, 1st Fleet.

On 17 May 1961, led by the Helena, 12 1st Fleet ships put on a firepower demonstration for more than 700 members of the American Ordnance Association. In June, Helena, with eight guests of the Secretary of the Navy on board, cruised to Portland, Oregon, for the Rose Festival.

During 1961 and 1962, Helena, operated in West Coast and western Pacific waters, taking part in several amphibious operations with ships of the 1st Fleet and elements of the 1st Marine Division and 3rd Marine Air Wing. Helena embarked foreign and staff officers from the Naval War College March 1962, and two groups of Navy League members engaged in orientation cruises in June and August.

As the year ended, Helena was scheduled for inactivation at Long Beach Naval Shipyard. On 18 March 1963, Commander 1st Fleet shifted his flag to Saint Paul. Helena was placed out of commission in Reserve 29 June 1963. Helena was transferred on 30 June 1963 to San Diego Group Pacific Reserve Fleet. Stricken on 01 January 1974, and sold to Levin Metals Co., Beverly Hills, Calif., on 13 November 1974, and scrapped in San Pedro, Calif the following year. The ships bell is located in Helena Montana on the grounds of Fort Harrison, outside the Naval Reserve building, along with anchor chain and one propeller.

For her service in the Korean conflict, she was presented the Presidential Unit Citation of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Service Medal with four stars.

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Helena micropolitan area

Location of the Helena Micropolitan Statistical Area in Montana

The Helena Micropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of two counties in western Montana, anchored by the city of Helena.

As of the 2000 census, the μSA had a population of 65,765 (though a July 1, 2007 estimate placed the population at 71,119).

As of the census of 2000, there were 65,765 people, 26,597 households, and 17,813 families residing within the μSA. The racial makeup of the μSA was 95.34% White, 0.19% African American, 1.92% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.38% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.51% of the population.

The median income for a household in the μSA was $39,433, and the median income for a family was $47,839. Males had a median income of $34,134 versus $24,486 for females. The per capita income for the μSA was $18,507.

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USS Helena (CL-50)

USS Helena CL-50-700px.jpg

USS Helena (CL-50) was a St. Louis-class light cruiser of the United States Navy, damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and subsequently active in the Pacific War until she was sunk at the battle of Kula Gulf in 1943. Helena was the first ship to be awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.

Helena, the second Navy ship named after the city of Helena, Montana, was launched 27 August 1939 by the New York Navy Yard, sponsored by Miss Elinor Carlyle Gudger, granddaughter of Senator Thomas J. Welch of Montana, and commissioned 18 September 1939, Captain Max B. Demott in command. After sea trials in December 1939, the shakedown cruise starting 27 December took the Helena to South Amerika. In January 1940, she arrived in Buenos Aires and on 29 January Montevideo, Urugay where her sailors boarded the wreck of the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee.

Helena, assigned to the Pacific Fleet, was at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, when the Japanese attacked. She was moored at 1010 Dock Navy Yard on the east side of the harbor. Outboard was Oglala. By chance, Helena was in the berth normally assigned to Pennsylvania, and thus became a prime target for the Japanese planes.

Within 3 minutes of the time the first bomb of the attack fell on Ford Island, a lone torpedo plane launched a torpedo that passed under Oglala, and hit Helena on the starboard side almost amidships, just as the crew raced to battle stations. 20 men and officers were killed. One engine room and one boiler room were flooded. Wiring to the main and 5 inch batteries was severed, but prompt action brought the forward diesel generator up within 2 minutes, making power available to all mounts. Immediately, they sent up a heavy fire that kept her free of further damage. Outstanding damage control work, and the fact that watertight integrity was promptly insured by the closing of the doors and hatches throughout the ship, kept Helena afloat.

After preliminary overhaul at Pearl Harbor, Helena steamed to Mare Island Navy Yard for permanent repairs. In 1942, she sailed to enter action, escorting a detachment of Seabees and an aircraft carrier rushing planes to the South Pacific. She made two quick dashes from Espiritu Santo to Guadalcanal, where the long and bloody battle for the island was then beginning, and having completed these missions, joined the task force formed around Wasp.

This task force steamed in distant support of six transports carrying Marine reinforcements to Guadalcanal. Mid-afternoon on 15 September 1942, Wasp was suddenly hit by three Japanese torpedoes. Almost at once, she became an inferno. Helena, her guns blazing, stood by to rescue nearly 400 of Wasp's officers and men, whom she took to Espiritu Santo.

Helena's next action was near Rennell Island, again in support of a movement of transports into Guadalcanal. Air attacks from Henderson Field had slowed down the Tokyo Express for several days, so on 11 October 1942 the Japanese poured everything they could deliver against the airstrip, hoping to neutralize air operations long enough to bring heavy troop reinforcements during the night. The Japanese fleet closed and by 1810 was less than 100 miles from Savo Island.

Helena, equipped with superior radar, was first to contact the enemy and first to open fire at 2346. When firing had ceased in this Battle of Cape Esperance in Ironbottom Sound, Helena had sunk Furutaka and Fubuki.

Helena was next under attack on the night of 20 October while patrolling between Espiritu Santo and San Cristobal. Several torpedoes exploded near her but she was not hit.

Helena saw the climatic Naval Battle of Guadalcanal from its beginning when she was assigned the job of escorting a supply echelon from Espiritu Santo to Guadalcanal. The ship made rendezvous with the convoy of transports off San Cristobal on 11 November, and brought it safely into Guadalcanal. During the afternoon of 12 November, word came from a coast watcher, "enemy aircraft approaching." Immediately suspending unloading operation, all ships stood out to form an antiaircraft disposition. When the attack came, superb maneuvering of the force, and its own antiaircraft fire, broke up the first attack but the second damaged two ships. Helena came through without a scratch, and the task group brought down eight enemy planes in the 8-minute action.

As unloading resumed, an increasing stream of reports flowed in from patrolling aircraft. Ominously, the Japanese forces sighted contained no transports, and their intention was thus read as one of being pure offense. Helena, still steaming with Rear Admiral Daniel Callaghan's Support Group, aided in shepherding the transports away from Guadalcanal, then reversed course to fateful "Ironbottom Sound." The night of Friday, 13 November, Helena's radar first located the enemy. In the action that followed, the tropical night was lit again and again by the flashes of her big guns. She received only minor damage to her superstructure during the action. Daylight found a tragic scene in the grisly slot. The weaker American fleet had achieved the goal at heavy cost. The U.S. had turned back the enemy and prevented the heavy attack that would have been disastrous to the Marine troops ashore.

Now the senior American officer in the task force because of the death of the task force commander in action, Helena's skipper, Captain Gilbert Hoover, commanded the task force's retirement to Espiritu Santo from the battle area. On the way, Juneau was torpedoed and sunk. Believing that there were no survivors and that the threat from Japanese submarines was too great to search for any possible survivors, Hoover ordered the U.S. ships to continue onward without pausing. Later, it turned out that 100 of Juneau's had survived the sinking, but almost all later died awaiting rescue, which took more that one week to occur. For this decision, Halsey removed Hoover from command of Helena.

Helena found a measure of revenge when she was assigned to the several bombardments of Japanese positions on New Georgia in January 1943. Her guns rocked the enemy at Munda and Vila Stanmore, leveling vital supply concentrations and gun emplacements. Continuing on patrol and escort in support of the bitter Guadalcanal operation through February, one of her float planes shared in the sinking of RO-102 on 11 February 1943.

After overhaul in Sydney, Australia, she was back at Espiritu Santo in March to participate in bombardments of New Georgia, soon to be invaded. The first goal on New Georgia proper was Rice Anchorage. In the force escorting the transports carrying the initial landing parties, Helena moved into Kula Gulf just Before midnight on 4 July, and shortly after midnight on the 5th, her big guns opened up in her last shore bombardment.

The landing of troops was completed successfully by dawn, but in the afternoon of 5 July 1943, word came that the Tokyo Express was ready to roar down once more and the escort group turned north to meet it. By midnight on 5 July, Helena''s group was off the northwest corner of New Georgia, three cruisers and four destroyers composing the group. Racing down to face them were three groups of Japanese destroyers, a total of ten enemy ships. Four of them peeled off to accomplish their mission of landing troops. By 0157, the Battle of Kula Gulf had begun, Helena began blasting away with a fire so rapid and intense that the Japanese later announced in all solemnity that she must have been armed with "6 inch machine guns". Ironically, Helena made a perfect target when lit by the flashes of her own guns.

Seven minutes after she opened fire, she was hit by a torpedo. Within the next 3 minutes, she was struck by two more. Almost at once, she began to jackknife. Below, she was flooding rapidly even before she broke up and sank stern first. In a well-drilled manner, Helena's men went over the side.

Helena's history closes with the almost incredible story of what happened to her men in the hours and days that followed. When her bow rose into the air after the sinking, many of them clustered around it, only to be fired on there. About a half hour after she sank, two American destroyers came to the rescue.

At daylight, the enemy was in range once more, and again Nicholas and Radford broke off their rescue operations to pursue. Anticipating an air attack, the destroyers withdrew for Tulagi, carrying with them all but about 275 of the survivors. To those who remained they left four boats, manned by volunteers from the destroyers' crews. Captain Charles Purcell Cecil, Helena's commanding officer, organized a small flotilla of three motor whaleboats, each towing a life raft, carrying 88 men to a small island about 7 miles from Rice Anchorage after a laborious all-day passage. This group was rescued the next morning by Gwin and Woodworth.

For the second group of nearly 200, the bow of Helena was their life raft, but it was slowly sinking. Disaster was staved off by a Navy B-24 Liberator that dropped lifejackets and four rubber lifeboats. The wounded were placed aboard the lifeboats, while the able-bodied surrounded the boats and did their best to propel themselves toward nearby Kolombangara. But wind and current carried them ever further into enemy waters. Through the torturous day that followed, many of the wounded died. American search planes missed the tragic little fleet, and Kolombangara gradually faded away to leeward. Another night passed, and in the morning the island of Vella Lavella loomed ahead. It seemed the last chance for Helena's men and so they headed for it. By dawn, survivors in all three remaining boats observed land a mile distant and all who were left were safely landed. Two coastwatchers and loyal natives cared for the survivors as best they could, and radioed news of them to Guadalcanal. The 165 sailors then took to the jungle to evade Japanese patrols.

Surface vessels were chosen for the final rescue, Nicholas and Radford, augmented by Jenkins and O'Bannon set off on 15 July to sail further up the Slot than ever before, screening the movement of two destroyer-transports and four other destroyers. During the night of 16 July, the rescue force brought out the 165 Helena men, along with 16 Chinese who had been in hiding on the island. Of Helena's nearly 900 men, 168 had perished.

Helena was the first ship to receive the Navy Unit Commendation. Her actions in the Battles of Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal, and Kula Gulf were named in the citation. Helena also earned the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with seven stars.

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Saint Helena

Coat of arms of Saint Helena

Saint Helena (pronounced /ˌseɪnt həˈliːnə/ saint hə-lee-nə), named after St Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin and a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. The territory of St. Helena consists of both the island of Saint Helena, and also the dependencies of Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.

The island has a history of over 500 years since it was first discovered as an uninhabited island by the Portuguese in 1502. Claiming to be Britain’s second oldest colony, this is one of the most isolated islands in the world and was for several centuries of vital strategic importance to ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa. For several centuries the British used the island as a place of exile, most notably for Napoleon Bonaparte, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo and over 5,000 Boer prisoners.

Most historical accounts state the island was discovered on 21 May 1502 by the Portuguese navigator João da Nova, on his voyage home from India, and that he named it "Santa Helena" after Helena of Constantinople. Given this is the feast day used by the Greek Orthodox Church, it has been argued that the discovery was probably made on 18 August, the feast day used by the Roman Catholic Church.

It has also been suggested that the island may not have been discovered until 30 July 1503 by a squadron under the command of Estêvão da Gama and that da Nova actually discovered Tristan da Cunha on the feast day of St Helena.

The Portuguese found it uninhabited, with an abundance of trees and fresh water. They imported livestock (mainly goats), fruit trees, and vegetables, built a chapel and one or two houses, and left their sick suffering from scurvy and other ailments to be taken home, if they recovered, by the next ship, but they formed no permanent settlement. The island thereby became crucially important for the collection of food and as a rendezvous point for homebound voyages from Asia. The island was directly in line with the Trade Winds which took ships rounding the Cape of Good Hope into the South Atlantic. St Helena was much less frequently visited by Asia-bound ships, the northern trade winds taking ships towards the American continent rather than the island.

It is a popular belief that the Portuguese managed to keep the location of this remote island a secret until almost the end of the 16th century. However, both the location of the island and its name were quoted in a Dutch book in 1508, that described a 1505 Portuguese expedition led by Francisco de Almeida from the East Indies: "n the twenty-first day of July we saw land, and it was an island lyng six hundred and fifty miles from the Cape, and called Saint Helena, howbeit we could not land there. And after we left the island of Saint Helena, we saw another island two hundred miles from there, which is called Ascension".

Also, Lopo Homem-Reineis published the "Atlas Universal" about 1519 which clearly showed the locations of St Helena and Ascension. The first residents all arrived on Portuguese vessels. Its first known permanent resident was Portuguese, Fernão Lopez who had turned traitor in India and had been mutilated by order of Albuquerque, the Governor of Goa. Fernando Lopez preferred being marooned to returning to Portugal in his maimed condition, and lived on Saint Helena from about 1516. By royal command, Lopez returned to Portugal about 1526 and then travelled to Rome, where Pope Clement VII granted him an audience. Lopez returned to Saint Helena, where he died in 1545.

When the island was discovered, it was covered with unique (indigenous) vegetation. Claims that on discovery the island "was entirely covered with forests, the trees drooping over the tremendous precipices that overhang the sea" have been questioned. It is argued that the presence of an endemic plover and several endemic insects adapted to the barren and arid coastal portions of the island are strong indications that these conditions existed before the island was discovered. Nevertheless, St Helena certainly once had a rich and dense inland forest. The loss of endemic vegetation, birds and other fauna, much of it within the first 50 years of discovery, can be attributed to the impact of humans and their introduction of goats, pigs, dogs, cats, rats as well as the introduction of non-endemic birds and vegetation into the island.

Sometime before 1557, two slaves from Mozambique, one from Java, and two women, escaped from a ship and remained hidden on the island for many years, long enough for their numbers to rise to twenty. Bermudez, the Patriarch of Abyssinia landed at St Helena in 1557 on a voyage to Portugal, remaining on the island for a year. Three Japanese ambassadors on an embassy to the Pope also visited St Helena in 1583.

Strong circumstantial evidence supports the idea that Sir Francis Drake located the island on the final lap of his circumnavigation of the world (1577-1580). It is suspected this explains how the location of the island was certainly known to the English only a few years later, for example, William Barrett (who died in 1584 as English consul at Aleppo, Syria) stated the island was “sixteene degrees to the South”, which is precisely the correct latitude. Again, it is also clear that the Elizabethan adventurer Edward Fenton at the very least knew the approximate location of the island in 1582.

Another English seaman, Captain Abraham Kendall, visited Saint Helena in 1591, and in 1593 Sir James Lancaster stopped at the island on his way home from the East. Once the secret of St Helena’s location had been revealed, English ships of war began to lie in wait in the area to attack Portuguese India carracks on their way home. As a result, in 1592 Philip II of Spain and I of Portugal (1527–1598) ordered the annual fleet returning from Goa on no account to touch at St Helena. In developing their Far East trade, the Dutch also began to frequent the island. One of their first visits was in 1598 when an expedition of two vessels piloted by John Davis (English explorer) attacked a large Spanish Caravel, only to be beaten off and forced to retreat to Ascension Island for repairs. The Italian merchant Francesco Carletti, claimed in his autobiography he was robbed by the Dutch when sailing on a Portuguese ship in 1602.

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, desecration to their chapel and images, destruction of their livestock and destruction of plantations by Dutch and English sailors. In 1603 Lancaster again visited Saint Helena on his return from the first voyage equipped by the British East India Company. In 1610, by which time most Dutch and English ships visited the island on their home voyage, François Pyrard de Laval deplored the deterioration since his last visit in 1601, describing damage to the chapel and destruction of fruit trees by cutting down trees to pick the fruit. Whilst Thomas Best, commander of the tenth British East India Company expedition reported plentiful supplies of lemons in 1614, only 40 lemon trees were observed by the traveller Peter Mundy in 1634.

The Dutch Republic formally made claim to St Helena in 1633, although there is no evidence that they ever occupied, colonised or fortified it. A Dutch territorial stone, undated but certainly later than 1633, is presently kept in the island’s archive office. By 1651, the Dutch had mainly abandoned the island in favour of their colony founded at the Cape of Good Hope.

The idea for the English to make claim to the island was first made in a 1644 pamphlet by Richard Boothby. By 1649, the East India Company ordered all homeward-bound vessels to wait for one another at St Helena and in 1656 onward the Company petitioned the government to send a man-of-war to convoy the fleet home from there. Having been granted a charter to govern the island by the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth Oliver Cromwell in 1657, the following year the Company decided to fortify and colonise St Helena with planters. A fleet commanded by Captain John Dutton (first governor, 1659-1661) in the Marmaduke arrived at St Helena in 1659. It is from this date that St Helena claims to be Britain’s second oldest colony (after Bermuda). A fort, originally named the Castle of St John, was completed within a month and further houses were built further up the valley. It soon became obvious that the island could not be made self-sufficient and in early 1658, the East India Company ordered all homecoming ships to provide one ton of rice on their arrival at the island.

With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the fort was renamed James Fort, the town Jamestown and the valley James Valley, all in honour of the Duke of York, later James II of England. The East India Company immediately sought a Royal Charter, possibly to give their occupation of St Helena legitimacy. This was issued in 1661 and gave the Company the sole right to fortify and colonise the island “in such legal and reasonable manner the said Governor and Company should see fit”. Each planter was allocated one of 130 pieces of land, but the Company had great difficulty attracting new immigrants, the population falling to only 66 including 18 slaves by 1670. John Dutton’s successors as governor, Robert Stringer (1661-1670) and Richard Coney (1671-1672), repeatedly warned the Company of unrest amongst the inhabitants, Coney complaining the inhabitants were drunks and ne’er-do-wells. In 1672 Coney was seized by rebellious members of the island’s council and shipped back to England. Coincidentally, the Company had already sent a replacement governor, Anthony Beale (1672-1673).

Finding that the cape was not the ideal harbour they originally envisaged, the Dutch East India Company launched an armed invasion of St Helena from the Cape colony over Christmas 1672. Governor Beale was forced to abandon the island in a Company ship, sailing to Brazil where he hired a fast ship. This he used to locate an East India Company flotilla sent to reinforce St Helena with fresh troops. The island was retaken in May 1673 without loss of life and reinforced with 250 troops. The same year the Company petitioned a new Charter from Charles II of England and this granted the island free title as though it was a part of England “in the same manner as East Greenwich in the County of Kent”. Acknowledging that St Helena was a place where there was no trade, the Company was permitted to send from England any provisions free of Customs and to convey as many settlers as required.

In 1674 Richard Keigwin (1673-1674), the next acting governor, was seized by discontented settlers and troops and was only rescued by the lucky arrival of an East India Company fleet under the command of Captain William Basse. By 1675, the part-time recruitment of settlers in a Militia enabled the permanent garrison to be reduced to 50 troops. Edmund Halley was a visitor the following year, observing the positions of 341 stars in the Southern hemisphere. Amongst the most significant taxes levied on imports was a requirement for all ships trading with Madagascar to deliver one slave. Slaves were also brought from Asia by incoming shipping. Thus, most slaves came from Madagascar and Asia rather than the African mainland. By 1679, the number of slaves had risen to about 80. An uprising by soldiers and planters in 1684 during the governorship of John Blackmore (1678-1689) led to the death of three mutineers in an attack on Fort James and the later execution of four others. The formation of the Grand Alliance and outbreak of war against France in 1698 meant that for several years ships from Asia avoided the island for fear of being attacked by French men-of-war. Soldiers at the end of their service thereby had restricted opportunities to obtain a passage back to Britain. Governor Joshua Johnson (1690-1693) also prevented soldiers smuggling themselves aboard ships by ordering all outgoing ships to only leave during daylight hours. This led to a mutiny in 1693 in which a group of mutineer soldiers seized a ship and made their escape, during the course of which Governor Johnson was killed. Meanwhile, savage punishment was meted out to slaves during this period, some being burnt alive and others starved to death. Rumours of an uprising by slaves in 1694 led to the gruesome execution of three slaves and cruel punishment of many others.

The clearance of the indigenous forest for the distillation of spirits, tanning and agricultural development began to lead to shortage of wood by the 1680s. The numbers of rats and goats had reached plague proportions by the 1690’s, leading to the destruction of food crops and young tree shoots. Neither an increase on duty on the locally produced arrack nor a duty on all firewood helped reduce the deforestation whilst attempts to reforest the island by governor John Roberts (1708-11) were not followed up by his immediate successors. The Great Wood, which once extended from Deadwood Plain to Prosperous Bay Plain, was reported in 1710 as not having a single tree left standing. An early mention of the problems of soil erosion was made in 1718 when a waterspout broke over Sandy Bay, on the southern coast. Against the background of this erosion, several years of drought and the general dependency of St Helena, in 1715 governor Isaac Pyke (1714-1719) made the serious suggestion to the Company that appreciable savings could be made by moving the population to Mauritius, evacuated by the French in 1710. However, with the outbreak of war with other European countries, the Company continued to subsidise the island because of its strategic location. An ordinance was passed in 1731 to preserve the woodlands through the reduction in the goat population. Despite the clear connection between deforestation and the increasing number of floods (in 1732, 1734, 1736, 1747, 1756 and 1787) the East India Company’s Court of Directors gave little support to efforts by governors to eradicate the goat problem. Rats were observed in 1731 building nests in trees two feet across, a visitor in 1717 commenting that the vast number of wild cats preferred to live off young partridges than the rats. An outbreak of plague in 1743 was attributed to the release of infected rats from ships arriving from India. By 1757, soldiers were employed in killing the wild cats.

William Dampier called into St Helena in 1691 at the end of his first of three circumnavigations of the world and stated Jamestown comprised 20-30 small houses built with rough stones furnished with mean furniture. These houses were only occupied when ships called at the island because their owners were all employed on their plantations further in the island. He described how women born on the island “very earnestly desired to be released from that Prison, having no other way to compass this but by marrying Seamen of Passengers that touch here”.

Following commercial rivalries between the original English East India Company and a New East India Company created in 1698, a new Company was formed in 1708 by amalgamation, and entitled the “United Company of Merchants of England, trading to the East Indies”. St Helena was then transferred to this new United East India Company. The same year, extensive work began to build the present Castle. Because of a lack of cement, mud was used as the mortar for many buildings, most of which had deteriorated into a state of ruin. In a search for lime on the island, a soldier in 1709 claimed to have discovered gold and silver deposits in Breakneck Valley. For a short period, it is believed that almost every able-bodied man was employed in prospecting for these precious metals. The short-lived Breakneck Valley Gold Rush ended with the results of an assay of the deposits in London, showing that they were iron pyrites.

A census in 1723 showed that out of a total population 1,110, some 610 were slaves. In 1731, a majority of tenant planters successfully petitioned governor Edward Byfield (1727-1731) for the reduction of the goat population. The next governor, Isaac Pyke (1731-1738), had a tyrannical reputation but successfully extended tree plantations, improved fortifications and transformed the garrison and militia into a reliable force for the first time. In 1733 Green Tipped Bourbon Coffee seeds were brought from the coffee port of Mocha in Yemen, on a Company ship The Houghton and were planted at various locations around the Island where the plants flourished, despite general neglect.

Robert Jenkins, of “Jenkins Ear” fame (governor 1740-1742) embarked on a programme of eliminating corruption and improving the defences. The island’s first hospital was built on its present site in 1742. Governor Charles Hutchinson (1747-1764) tackled the neglect of crops and livestock and also brought the laws of the island closer to those in England. Nevertheless, racial discrimination continued and it was not until 1787 that the black population were allowed to give evidence against whites. In 1758 three French warships were seen lying off the island in wait for the Company’s India fleet. In an inconclusive battle, these were engaged by warships from the Company’s China fleet. Nevil Maskelyne and Robert Waddington set up an observatory in 1761 to observe the transit of Venus, following a suggestion first made by Halley. In the event, observations were obscured by cloud. Most of the cattle were destroyed this year through an unidentified sickness.

Attempts by governor John Skottowe (1764-1782) to regularise the sale of arrack and punch led to some hostility and desertions by a number of troops who stole boats and were probably mostly lost at sea - however, at least one group of seven soldiers and a slave succeeded in escaping to Brazil in 1770. It was from about this date that the island began, for the first time, to enjoy a prolonged period of prosperity. The first Parish Church in Jamestown had been showing signs of decay for many years, and finally a new building was erected in 1774. St James’ is now the oldest Anglican church south of the Equator. Captain James Cook visited the island in 1775 on the final leg of his second circumnavigation of the world.

An order by governor Daniel Corneille (1782–1787) banning garrison troops and sailors from punch-taverns, only allowing them to drink at army canteens, led to a mutiny over Christmas 1787 when some 200 troops skirmished with loyal troops over a three day period. Ninety-nine mutineers were condemned to death and were then decimated whereby lots were drawn, with one in every ten being shot and executed. Saul Solomon is believed to have arrived at the island about 1790, where he eventually formed the Solomon’s company, initially based at an emporium, today occupied by the Rose and Crown shop. Captain Bligh arrived at St Helena in 1792 during his second attempt to ship a cargo of bread-fruit trees to Jamaica.

In 1795 governor Robert Brooke (1787–1801) was alerted that the French had overrun the Netherlands, forcing the Dutch to become their allies. Some 411 troops were sent from the garrison to support General Sir James Craig in his successful capture of the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope. As a result of a policy of recruiting time-expired soldiers calling at the island on their voyage home from India, the St Helena Regiment was built up to 1,000 men by 1800. At the same time, every able-bodied man joined the island’s militia. Fortifications were improved and a new system of visual signalling introduced. The importation of slaves was made illegal in 1792. An outbreak of measles was caused by the arrival of a fleet of ships in January 1807, leading to the death of 102 "Blacks" (probably under-reported in church records) and 58 "whites" in the two months to May Since most slaves were owned by the wealthier town dwellers, governor Robert Patton (1802–1807) recommended that Company import Chinese labour to supplement the rural workforce. These arrived in 1810, their numbers rising to about 600 by 1818, many were allowed to stay on after 1836 and their descendents became integrated into the population.

Action taken by governor Alexander Beatson (1808–1813) to reduce drunkenness by prohibiting the public sale of spirits and the importation of cheap Indian spirits resulted in a mutiny by about 250 troops in December 1811. After surrendering to loyal troops, nine leading mutineers were executed. Under the aegis of governor Mark Wilks (1813-1816) farming methods were improved, a rebuilding programme initiated and the first public library opened. A census in 1814 showed the number of inhabitants was 3,507.

In 1815 the British government selected Saint Helena as the place of detention of Napoleon I of France. He was brought to the island in October 1815 and lodged at Longwood, where he died in May 1821. For more details about Napoleon on Saint Helena, see Exile in Saint Helena and death.

During this period the island was strongly garrisoned by the regular British regimental troops, local St Helena Regiment troops and naval shipping circling the island. Agreement was reached that St Helena would remain in the East India Company’s possession, the British government meeting additional costs arising from guarding Napoleon and the East India Company. Governor, Sir Hudson Lowe (1816–1821), was appointed by, and directly reported to, the Lord Bathurst, Secretary for War and the Colonies in London. Brisk business was enjoyed catering for the additional 2,000 troops and personnel on the island over the six-year period, although restrictions placed against ships landing during this period posed a challenge for local traders to import the necessary goods.

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, whilst admitting that nowhere in the world did slavery exist in a milder form than on St Helena, Lowe initiated the first step in emancipating the slaves by persuading slave owners to give all slave children born after Christmas of that year their freedom once they had reached their late teens. Solomon Dickson & Taylor issued £147-worth of copper halfpenny tokens sometime before 1821 to enhance local trade.

After Napoleon's death the thousands of temporary visitors were soon withdrawn. The East India Company resumed full control of Saint Helena and life returned to the pre-1815 standards, the fall in population causing a sharp change in the economy. The next governors, Thomas Brooke (temporary governor, 1821-1823) and Alexander Walker (1823-1828), successfully brought the island through this post-Napoleonic period with the opening of a new farmer’s market in Jamestown, the foundation of an Agricultural and Horticultural Society and improvements in education. In 1832 the East India Company abolished slavery in St Helena (freeing 614 slaves), a year before legislation to ban slavery in the colonies was passed by Parliament. An abortive attempt was made to set up a whaling industry in 1830 (also in 1875). Following praise of St Helena’s coffee given by Napoleon during his exile on the island, the product enjoyed a brief popularity in Paris during the years after his death.

The British Parliament passed the India Act in 1833, a provision of which transferred control of St Helena from the East India Company to the Crown with effect from 2 April 1834. In practice, the transfer did not take effect until 24 February 1836 when Major-General George Middlemore (1836-1842), the first governor appointed by the British government, arrived with 91st Regiment troops. He summarily dismissed St Helena Regiment and, following orders from London, embarked on a savage drive to cut administrative costs, dismissing most officers previously in the Company employ. This triggered the start of a long-term pattern whereby those who could afford to do so tended to leave the island for better fortunes and opportunities elsewhere. The population was to fall gradually from 6,150 in 1817 to less than 4,000 by 1890. Charles Darwin spent six days of observation on the island in 1836 during his return journey on HMS Beagle. Controversial figure, Dr. James Barry, also arrived that year as principal medical officer (1836-1837). In addition to reorganising the hospital, Barry highlighted the heavy incidence of venereal diseases in the civilian population, blaming the government for the removal of the St Helena Regiment, which resulted in destitute females resorting to prostitution.

In 1838 agreement was reached with Sultan of Lahej to permit a coaling station at Aden, thereby allowing the journey time to the Far East (via the Mediterranean, the Alexandria to Cairo overland crossing and the Red Sea) to be roughly halved compared with the traditional South Atlantic route. This precursor to the affects of the Suez Canal (1869), coupled with the advent of steam shipping that was not reliant on trade winds led to a gradual reduction in the number of ships calling at St Helena and to a decline in its strategic importance to Britain and economic fortunes. The number of ships calling at the island fell from 1,100 in 1855; to 853 in 1869; to 603 in 1879 and to only 288 in 1889.

In 1839, London coffee merchants Wm Burnie & Co described St Helena coffee as being of “very superior quality and flavour”. In 1840 the British Government deployed a naval station to suppress the African slave trade. The squadron was based at St Helena and a Vice Admiralty Court was based at Jamestown to try the crews of the slave ships. Most of these were broken up and used for salvage. Surviving slaves (about 10,000 between 1840-1874) were incarcerated to regain their health in Liberated African Depots at Rupert’s Bay, Lemon Valley and High Knoll. About a third of ex-slaves died and were buried at Rupert’s Bay. A few survivors were employed as servants or labourers, their descendants being absorbed into the population, representing the main source of African ethnicity. Most were shipped out to plantations on the West Indies, only a few returning to Africa.

It was also in 1840 that the British government acceded to a French request for Napoleon’s body to be returned to France in what became known as the retour des cendres. The body, in excellent state of preservation, was exhumed on 15 October 1840 and ceremonially handed over to the Prince de Joinville in the French ship La Belle Poule.

A European Regiment, called the St Helena Regiment, comprising five companies was formed in 1842 for the purpose of garrisoning the island. William A Thorpe, the founder of the Thorpe business, was born on the island the same year. There was another outbreak of measles in 1843 and it was noted that none of those who survived the 1807 outbreak contracted the disease a second time. The first Baptist minister arrived from Cape Town in 1845. The same year, St Helena coffee was sold in London at 1d per pound, making it the most expensive and exclusive in the world. In 1846, St James church was considerably repaired, a steeple replacing the old tower. The same year, huge waves, or “rollers”, hit the island causing 13 ships anchored off Jamestown bay to be wrecked. The foundation stone for St Paul’s country church, also known as “The Cathedral”, was laid in 1850. Following instructions from London to achieve economies, Governor Thomas Gore Brown (1851-1856) further reduced the civil establishment. He also tackled the problems of overpopulation of Jamestown posed by the restrictions of the valley terrain by establishing a village at Rupert’s Bay. A census in 1851 showed a total of 6,914 inhabitants living on the island. In 1859 the Anglican Diocese of St Helena was set up for St Helena, including Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha (initially also including the Falkland Islands, Rio de Janeiro and other towns along the east coast of South America), the first Bishop of St Helena arriving on the island that year. Islanders later complained that succeeding governors were mainly retired senior military officers with an undynamic approach to the job. St John’s church was built in upper Jamestown in 1857, one motivation being to counter the levels of vice and prostitution at that end of the town.

The following year, the lands forming the sites of Napoleon’s burial and of his home at Longwood House were vested in Napoleon III and his heirs and a French representative or consul has lived on the island ever since, the French flag now flying over these areas. The title deeds of Briars Pavilion, where Napoleon lived during his earliest period of exile, were much later given to the French Government in 1959.

St Helena coffee grown on the Bamboo Hedge Estate at Sandy Bay won a premier award at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851. Saul Solomon was buried at St Helena in 1853. The first postage stamp was issued for the island in 1856, the six-pence blue, marking the start of considerable philatelic interest in the island.

By the 1860s it was apparent that wood sourced from some condemned slave ships (possibly a Brazilian ship) from the 1840s were infested by termites (“white ants”). Eating their way through house timbers (also documents) the termites caused the collapse of a number of buildings and considerable economic damage over several decades. Extensive reconstruction made use of iron rails and termite-proof timbers. The termite problem persists to the present day. The corner stone for St Matthew’s church at Hutt’s Gate was laid in 1861.

The withdrawal of the British naval station in 1864 and closure of the Liberated African Station ten years later (several hundred Africans were deported to Lagos and other places on the West African coast) resulted in a further deterioration in the economy. A small earthquake was recorded the same year. The gaol in Rupert’s Bay was destroyed and the Castle and Supreme Court were reconstructed in 1867. Cinchona plants were introduced in 1868 by Charles Elliot (1863-1870) with a view to exporting quinine but the experiment was abandoned by his successor Governor C. G. E. Patey (1870-1873), who also embarked on a programme of reducing the civil establishment. The latter action led to another phase of emigration from the island. An experiment in 1874 to produce flax from Phomium Tenax (New Zealand flax) failed (the cultivation of flax recommenced in 1907 and eventually became the island’s largest export). In 1871, the Royal Engineers constructed Jacob’s Ladder up the steep side of the valley from Jamestown to Knoll Mount Fort, with 700 steps, one step being covered over in later repairs. A census in 1881 showed 5,059 inhabitants lived on the island. Jonathan, claimed to be the world’s oldest tortoise, is thought to have arrived on the island in 1882.

An outbreak of measles in 1886 resulted in 113 cases and 8 deaths. Jamestown was lighted for the first time in 1888, the initial cost being born by the inhabitants. Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo, son of the Zulu king Cetshwayo, was exiled at St Helena between 1890 and 1897. Diphtheria broke out in 1887 and also in 1893 which, with an additional outbreak of whooping cough, led to the death of 31 children under 10. In 1890 a great fall of rock killed nine people in Jamestown, a fountain being erected in Main Street in their memory. A census in 1891 showed 4,116 inhabitants lived on the island. A submarine cable en-route to Britain from Cape Town was landed in November 1899 and extended to Ascension by December and was operated by the Eastern Telegraph Company. For the next two years over six thousand Boer prisoners were imprisoned at Deadwood and Broadbottom. The population reached its all-time record of 9,850 in 1901. Although a number of prisoners died, being buried at Knollcombes, the islanders and Boers developed a relationship of mutual respect and trust, a few Boers choosing to remain on the island when the war ended in 1902. A severe outbreak of influenza in 1900 led to the death of 3.3% of the population, although it affected neither the Boer prisoners not the troops guarding them. An outbreak of whooping cough in 1903 infected most children on the island, although only one dies as a result.

The departure of the Boers and later removal of the remaining garrison in 1906 (with the disbandment of the St Helena Volunteers, this was the first time the island was left without a garrison) both impacted on the island economy, which was only slightly offset by growing philatelic sales. The successful reestablishment of the flax industry in 1907 did much to counter these problems, generating considerable income during the war years. Lace making was encouraged as an island-industry during the pre-war period, initiated by Emily Jackson in 1890 and a lace-making school was opened in 1908. Two men, known as the Prosperous Bay Murderers, were hanged in 1905. A fish-canning factory opened in 1909 but failed due to an unusual shortage of fish that year. S.S. Papanui, en route from Britain to Australia with emigrants, arrived in James Bay in 1911 on fire. The ship burned out and sank, but its 364 passengers and crew were rescued and looked after on the island. A census in 1911 showed the population had fallen from its peak in 1901 to only 3,520 inhabitants. Some 4,800 rats tails were presented to the Government in 1913, who paid a penny per tail.

Islanders were made aware of their vulnerability to naval attack, despite extensive fortifications, following a visit by a fleet of three German super-dreadnoughts in January 1914. With the outbreak of World War I, the defunct St Helena Volunteer Corps was re-established. Some 46 islanders gave their lives in World War I. The 1918 world pandemic of influenza bypassed St Helena. The self-proclaimed Sultan of Zanzibar, Seyyid Khalid Bin Barghash, was exiled in St Helena from 1917 to 1921 before being transferred to the Seychelles.

William A. Thorpe was killed in an accident in 1918, his business continuing to operate on the island to the present day. In 1920 the Norwegian ship Spangereid caught fire and sank at her mooring at James Bay, depositing quantities of coal on the beach below the wharf. A census in 1921 showed the islands population was 3,747. The first islanders left to work at Ascension Island in 1921, which was made a dependency of St Helena in 1922. Thomas R. Bruce (postmaster 1898-1928) was the first islander to design a postage stamp, the 1922-1937 George V ship-design - this significantly contributed to island revenues for several years. South African coinage became legal tender in 1923, reflecting the high level of trade with that country. There were nine deaths from whooping cough between 1920 and 1929 and 2,200 cases of measles in 1932. The first car, an Austin 7, was imported into the island in 1929. A census in 1931 showed a population of 3,995 (and a goat population of nearly 1,500). Cable and Wireless absorbed the Eastern Telegraph Company in 1934. Tristan da Cunha was made a dependency of St Helena in 1938.

Some six islanders gave their lives during World War II. The German battle cruiser Admiral Graf Spee was observed passing the island in 1939 and the British oil tanker Darkdale was torpedoed off Jamestown bay. As part of the Lend-Lease agreement, America built Wideawake airport on Ascension in 1942, but no military use was made of St Helena. As in the previous war, the island enjoyed increased revenues through the sale of flax.

There were 217 cases of poliomyelitis, including 11 deaths, in 1945. A census in 1946 showed 4,748 inhabitants lived on the island. In 1948 there were seven deaths from whooping cough and 77 hospital admissions from acute nephritis. In 1951, mumps attacked 90% of the population. Solomon’s became a limited company the same year. Flax prices continued to rise after the war, rising to their zenith in 1951. However, this St Helena staple industry fell into decline because of competition from synthetic fibres and also because the delivered price of the island’s flax was substantially higher than world prices. The decision by a major buyer, the British Post Office, to use synthetic fibres for their mailbags was a major blow, all of which contributed in the closure of the island's flax mills in 1965. Many acres of land are still covered with flax plants. A census in 1956 showed the population had fallen only slightly, to 4,642. 1957 witnessed the arrival of three Bahrain princes as prisoners of Britain, who remained until released by a writ of habeas corpus in 1960. Another attempt to cooperate a fish cannery led to closure in 1957. From 1958, the Union Castle shipping line gradually reduced their service calls to the island. The same year, there were 36 cases of poliomyelitis. A census in 1966 showed a relatively unchanged population of 4,649 inhabitants.

A South African company (The South Atlantic Trading and Investment Corporation, SATIC) bought a majority share in Solomon and Company in 1968. Following several years of losses and to avoid the economic effects of a closure of the company, the St Helena government eventually bought a majority share in the company in 1974. In 1969 the first elections were held under the new constitution for twelve-member Legislative Council. By 1976, the population had grown slightly to 5,147 inhabitants. Based from Avonmouth, Curnow Shipping replaced the Union-Castle Line mailship service in 1977, using the RMS St Helena, a coastal passenger and cargo vessel that had been used between Vancouver and Alaska. Due to structural weakness, the spire of St James church was demolished in 1980. The endemic flowering shrub, the St Helena Ebony, believed to have been extinct for over a century, was discovered on the island in 1981.

The British Nationality Act 1981 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 (as defined in the British Nationality Act 1948) and were stripped of their right of abode in Britain. For the next 20 years, many could only find low-paid work with the island government and the only available employment overseas for the islanders was restricted to the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island, a period during which the island was often referred to as the “South Atlantic Alcatraz”.

The RMS St Helena was requisitioned in 1982 by the Ministry of Defence to help in support of the Falklands Conflict, and sailed south with the entire crew volunteering for duty. The ship was involved in supporting minesweeper operations but the volunteers were refused South Atlantic Medals. Prince Andrew began his relationship with St Helena in 1984 with a visit to the island as a member of the armed forces.

The 1987 census showed that the island population stood at 5,644. The Development & Economic Planning Department, which still operates, was formed in 1988 to contribute to raising the living standards of the people of St Helena by planning and managing sustainable economic development through education, participation and planning, improving decision making by providing statistical information and by improving the safety and operation of the wharf and harbour operations. After decades of planning, the realisation of the three-tier school system began in 1988 under the aegis of the Head of Education, Basil George, when the Prince Andrew School was opened for all pupils of 12 onwards. Middle schools would take the 8 to 12 year old children and the First schools from 5 year olds.

Prince Andrew launched the replacement RMS St Helena in 1989 at Aberdeen. The vessel was specially built for the Cardiff-Cape Town route, and featured a mixed cargo/passenger layout. At the same time, a shuttle service between St Helena and Ascension was planned, for the many Saint Helenians working there and on the Falklands. In 1995 the decision was made to base the ship from Cape Town and limit the number of trips to the UK to just four a year.

The 1988 St Helena Constitution took effect in 1989 and provided that the island would be governed by a Governor and Commander-in-Chief, and an Executive and Legislative Council. The Executive Council members would be elected for nomination by the elected members of the Legislative Council, and subsequently appointed by the Governor and could only be removed from office by the votes of a majority of the five members of the Legislative Council. The Legislative Council Members would be re-elected by the voters every four years. With few exceptions the Governor would be obliged to abide by the advice given to him by the Executive Council. Five Council Committees would be made up from the membership of the Legislative Council and civil servants so that at any time there would always be a majority of elected members. The five Chairpersons of these committees would comprise the elected membership of the Executive Council.

The Bishop’s Commission on Citizenship was established at the Fifteenth Session of Diocesan Synod in 1992 with the aim of restoring full citizenship of the islanders and restore the right of abode in the UK. Research began (Prof. T. Charlton) in 1993, two years before its introduction on the island and five years after, to measure the influence that television has on the behaviour of children in classrooms and school playgrounds. This concluded that the island children continued to be hard working and very well behaved and that family and community social controls were more important in shaping children's behaviour than exposure to television. The Island of St Helena Coffee Company was founded in 1994 by David Henry and continues to operate independently from the island Government. Using Green Tipped Bourbon Coffee plants imported in 1733, crops are grown on several sites, including the Bamboo Hedge Estate Sandy Bay estate used for the 1851 Great Exhibition entry. In 1997, the acute employment problem at St Helena was brought to the attention of the British public following reports in the tabloid press of a “riot” following an article in the Financial Times describing how the Governor, David Smallman (1995-1999), was jostled by a small crowd who believed he and the Foreign Office had rejected plans to build an airport on the island.

Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997, and the same year the British government published a review of the Dependent Territories. This included a commitment to restore the pre-1981 status for citizenship. This was effected by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, which restored full passports to the islanders, and renamed the Dependent Territories the British Overseas Territories. The St Helena National Trust was also formed the same year with the aim of promoting the island's unique environmental and culture heritage. A full census in February 1998 showed the total population (including the RMS) was 5,157 persons.

In a vote held in January 2002, a majority of islanders (at home and abroad) voted in favour for an airport to be built. The island’s two-floor museum situated in a building near the base of Jacob’s Ladder was opened the same year and is operated by the St Helena Heritage Society. The Bank of St Helena, located next to the Post Office, commenced operations in 2004, inheriting the assets and accounts of the former St Helena Government Savings and the Ascension Island Savings Banks, both of which then ceased to exist. In April 2005 the British Government announced plans to construct an airport on Saint Helena to bolster the Island's economy, and reduce the dependence on boats to supply the Island. Impregilo S.p.A. of Milan have been selected as the preferred tender to design, build and operate the airport, which is currently expected to be open in 2012/13, although final UK ministerial approval was still not been given. The following December, DfID announced they and the "Treasury are in continuing discussions about issues of concern regarding access to St Helena. As a result, there will be a pause in negotiations over the St Helena airport contract". This is widely interpreted as meaning the project is in abeyance, probably for a number of years until the UK's economy recovers. In March 2009, DfID announced the launch of a new consultation on options for access to the island. In a parliamentary debate in which DfID were accused of delaying tactics, the ministry accepted the conclusion in their 2005 Access document but argued good fiscal management required this to be re-reviewed. If the airport goes ahead, the Royal Mail ship will cease operations when flights begin.

A census held in February 2008 showed the population (including the RMS) had fallen to 4,255. In the first half of 2008, areas of the cliff above the wharf were stabilised from rock falls with netting at a cost of approximately £3 million. On 14 August, about 200 tons of rock fell from the west side of Jamestown severely damaging the Baptist chapel and surrounding buildings. Plans are in hand to net the most dangerous sections of the mountains either side of Jamestown over the period to 2015 at an estimated cost of about £15 million.

A comparative review of the different sources for the history of St Helena has been published on the St Helena Institute web site.

A number of commentators have 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.

The first royal visit is speculated to have been by Prince Rupert (1619-1682), probably on his voyage home in India. No contemporary documents exist, but no other explanation has been given for naming Rupert’s Bay, adjacent to Jamestown.

The Prince de Joinville arrived in 1840 to return the body of Napoleon I to France. Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, visited the island in 1860 en-route to Tristan Da Cunha. The Empress Eugenie (widow of Napoleon III) arrived in 1880 and the same year Prince Albert William Heinrich of Prussia arrived in a German frigate. The Duke of Connaught arrived in 1911 on his journey back from Cape Town. The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, visited in 1925.

King George VI is the only reigning monarch to visit 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 were travelling to South Africa.

Prince Philip arrived at St Helena in 1957 and then his son Prince Andrew visited as a member of the armed forces in 1984 and his daughter the Princess Royal arrived in 2002.

No serving British government minister has ever visited St Helena.

The St Helena Press was set up by Saul Soloman in 1806 and produced a number of publications including the Government Gazette (from 1807) and the St Helena Monthly Register (from 1809), both government funded publications. The press was taken over after the departure of governor Alexander Beatson (1808 – 1813), and was mainly used for government notices and regulations. The first of an occasional series St Helena Almanack and Annual Registers was published with the press in 1842 (the last and most comprehensive edition being published in 1913).

The St Helena Advocate and Weekly Journal of News, published in 1851, was the first island newspaper, but closed two years later mainly due to competition from the government-funded St Helena Chronicle (1852). This short publication period was a fate suffered by most island newspapers. The St Helena Herald was published from 1853 but ceased publication in 1860 when the editor launched a new paper, the St Helena Record. This closed in 1861 and was immediately replaced by the longest running paper, the St Helena Guardian (weekly, 1861-1925). The proprieter of the latter, Benjamin Grant, also published the St Helena Advertiser (1865-1866).

Two other newspapers published about this time, the St Helena Advertiser, the St Helena Star (1866-1867) and St Helena Spectator (1866-1868) both closed because of the lack of printing facilities. Two humorous papers, The Bug (1888) and the Mosquito (1888) were similarly short-lived. Several shortived papers also appeared a few years later - the St Helena Times (1889), the Monthly Critic and Flashman (1895) and the St Helena Observer. De Krisgsgevangenewas, a censored Dutch newspaper, was published for Boer prisoners from 1901.

The St Helena Church News was published from 1888, the Parish Magazine from 1889, the Diocesan Magazine from 1901 and the Jamestown Monthly from 1912 The latter was renamed the St Helena Church Magazine and was published until 1945 by Canon Wallcot, who extended news coverage from church matters to also include island news after the closure of the St Helena Guardian. The government-funded St Helena Wirebird was published in the early 1960’s, closing in 1965. The government-funded St Helena News Review and the St Helena News followed this. Between 1990 and 1991, the New Wirebird was published independently.

Radio St Helena started operations on Christmas Day 1967, transmissions being limited to the island apart from occasional short-wave broadcasts. The station presents news, features and music in collaboration with its sister newspaper, the St Helena Herald, published by the partially publicly funded St Helena News Media Services (SHNMS) since 2000. The non-government funded Saint FM Radio officially launched in January 2005. The station currently broadcasts news, features and music across the island, Ascension, the Falklands and worldwide over the internet in collaboration with its sister newspaper, the St Helena Independent (published since November 2005). Both the Herald and Independent are can be read worldwide via the internet. Cable and Wireless currently rebroadcast television throughout the island via three DStv channels of entertainment.

In October 2008, the St Helena Government announced that 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 publish the St Helena Herald and broadcast on St Helena Radio, 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.

Saint Helena has a small population of about 4,250 inhabitants, mainly descended from people from Europe (mostly planters, government employees and ex-soldiers serving in the local St Helena Regiment), Chinese (itinerant workers from about 1810) and slaves (mostly from Madagascar and Asia, only a few coming from Africa from 1840 onward). In recent decades, many have migrated to the Falkland Islands or to the United Kingdom. According to the 2009 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Saint Helena has (and has had for several years) the largest proportion of Jehovah's Witnesses of any country or territory in the world: one person in thirty-five, in total 116 people.

Tristan da Cunha has a population of about three hundred inhabitants of mainly British descent. Christianity is the main religion, with the largest denominations being Anglican and Roman Catholic.

Ascension Island has no native inhabitants officially. A transient population of approximately 3,000 live on the Island, made up mainly of members of the American 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).

The citizens of Saint Helena and its Dependencies hold British Overseas Territories citizenship. On 21 May 2002 they were granted access to full British citizenship by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002. Also see 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 the UK, South Africa, the USA, Canada and Australia.

Saint Helena is one of the few territories in the world which has never had a recorded HIV / AIDS case.

Much of the data for the following text has been sourced from the Government of St Helena Sustainable Development Plan. The public sector dominates the economy accounting for about half of GDP. Quoted at constant 2002 prices, the latter 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 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.

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.

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 outmigration. 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.

Three hotels operate on the island but since the arrival of tourists is directly linked to the arrival and departure schedule of the RMS, occupancy levels are very low at about 10%. Some 1,180 short and long-term visitors arrived on the island in 2005.

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 an 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.

Inflation was running at 3.6% in 2005 but is thought to be much higher today, reflecting recent increases in the cost of fuel, power and all imported goods.

The island had a monocrop economy until 1966, based on the cultivation and processing of New Zealand flax for rope and string. St Helena's economy is now very weak, and the island is almost entirely sustained by aid from London.

The Saint Helena tourist industry is heavily based around the promotion of Napoleon's imprisonment. A golf course also exists and the possibility for sportfishing tourism is great.

Saint Helena also produces what is said to be the most expensive coffee in the world.

Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha and Saint Helena all issue their own postage stamps which provide a significant income.

Saint Helena also produces and exports Tungi Spirit, made from the fruit of the prickly or cactus pears, Opuntia ficus-indica. Tungi is the local St Helenian name for the prickly or cactus pear.

The Saint Helenian pound is the local currency, and is on a par with the Pound Sterling. The government of Saint Helena produces its own coinage and banknotes. 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.

The territory has its own bank, the Bank of St. Helena, which has two branches in Jamestown on Saint Helena, and Georgetown, Ascension Island.

Saint Helena island has a total area of 122 km2 (47 mi2), and is composed largely of rugged, volcanic terrain. 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 centre of Saint Helena is covered by forest, of which some has been planted, including the new Millennium Forest Project. The temperature is also two to three degrees cooler in the highlands, and it has heavier and more reliable rainfall than the rest of the island. It contains 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.

When the island was discovered, it was covered with unique (indigenous) vegetation, including a remarkable cabbage tree 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) and the St Helena olive (Nesiota elliptica) are now extinct, and many of the other endemic plants are threatened with extinction.

The island is associated with two other isolated landmasses in southern Atlantic, also British territories - Ascension Island to the north in an equatorial position and Tristan da Cunha, which is outside the tropics to the south.

Executive authority in Saint Helena is invested 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 fifteen seats in the Legislative Council, 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. The current Governor, since November 2007, is Andrew Gurr, who succeeded Michael Clancy.

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

Saint Helena and its dependencies are among some of the most remote islands in the world. Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha can only be reached by boat. The RMS Saint Helena runs between the United Kingdom, Ascension, St Helena and Cape Town. It no longer calls at Tristan da Cunha. However, the RMS Saint Helena is due for decommissioning in 2010 and may be partly replaced by a newly built airfield on Saint Helena Island.

A large military airfield is located on Ascension Island, with weekly flights to RAF Brize Norton, England. These RAF flights offer a limited number of seats to civilians.

After long periods of rumours and consultation, The British Government announced plans to construct an airport in Saint Helena 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 Impreglio, was not chosen until 2008, and then the project was officially 'paused' in November 2008, allegedly due to new financial pressures brought on by the credit-crunch. As of January 2009, no construction has yet been done and no final contracts signed, and Governor Andrew Gurr departed for London on Jan 14th in an attempt to try and speed up the process and solve the problems. Even if the go-ahead is given in the early part of 2009, the airport will not now be completed until at least 2017.

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.

SaintFM provides a local radio service for the island which is also available on Internet Radio and relayed in Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands.

Radio Saint Helena 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.

Saint Helena has a 1.5 Mbit/s internet link via Virgin Media.

Education is free and compulsory between the ages of 5 and 15. There is no tertiary education institution in Saint Helena. Saint Helena is a member of the International Island Games Association.

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

1 1975 is the date of East Timor's Declaration of Independence and subsequent invasion by Indonesia. In 2002, the independence of East Timor was recognized by Portugal and the rest of the world.

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Source : Wikipedia