Thursday, April 13, 2006

History of Saint Helena

History of Saint Helena. This site has a brief history of the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena. It is best known as the place where Napoleon died.

Wikipedia notes, "Saint Helena is an island of volcanic origin and an overseas territory of the United Kingdom in the South Atlantic Ocean. It consists of the island of Saint Helena, as well as the dependencies of Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha."

From the site:

Uninhabited when first discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, Saint Helena was garrisoned by the British during the 17th century. It acquired fame as the place of Napoleon BONAPARTE's exile, from 1815 until his death in 1821, but its importance as a port of call declined after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Ascension Island is the site of a US Air Force auxiliary airfield; Gough Island has a meteorological station.

The island was discovered on the 21st of May 1502 by the Portuguese navigator Joao de Nova, on his voyage home from India, and by him named St. Helena. The Portuguese found it uninhabited, imported live stock, fruittrees and vegetables, built a chapel and one or two houses, and left their sick there to be taken home, if recovered, by the next ship, but they formed no permanent settlement. Its first known permanent resident was Fernando Lopez, a Portuguese in India, who had turned traitor and had been mutilated by order of Albuquerque. He preferred being marooned to returning to Portugal in his maimed condition, and was landed at St. Helena in 1513 with three or four negro slaves. By royal command he visited Portugal some time later, but returned to St. Helena, where he died in 1546. In 1584 two Japanese ambassadors to Rome landed at the island. The first Englishman known to have visited it was Thomas Cavendish, who touched there in June 1588 during his voyage round the world. Another English Calling ships are those which have been boarded by the harbour master and given pratique. Since 1886 boatmen are allowed to communicate with ships that have not obtained pratique, and these are known as passing ships.

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