Africa :: Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha
(overseas territory of the UK)

Introduction ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

    Saint Helena is a British Overseas Territory consisting of Saint Helena and Ascension Islands, and the island group of Tristan da Cunha.
    Saint Helena: 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. During the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa, several thousand Boer prisoners were confined on the island between 1900 and 1903.
    Ascension Island: This barren and uninhabited island was discovered and named by the Portuguese in 1503. The British garrisoned the island in 1815 to prevent a rescue of Napoleon from Saint Helena. It served as a provisioning station for the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron on anti-slavery patrol. The island remained under Admiralty control until 1922, when it became a dependency of Saint Helena. During World War II, the UK permitted the US to construct an airfield on Ascension in support of transatlantic flights to Africa and anti-submarine operations in the South Atlantic. In the 1960s the island became an important space tracking station for the US. In 1982, Ascension was an essential staging area for British forces during the Falklands War. It remains a critical refueling point in the air-bridge from the UK to the South Atlantic.
    Tristan da Cunha: The island group consists of the islands of Tristan da Cunha, Nightingale, Inaccessible, and Gough. Tristan da Cunha is named after its Portuguese discoverer (1506); it was garrisoned by the British in 1816 to prevent any attempt to rescue Napoleon from Saint Helena. Gough and Inaccessible Islands have been designated World Heritage Sites. South Africa leases a site for a meteorological station on Gough Island.

Geography ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

    islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, about midway between South America and Africa; Ascension Island lies 700 nm northwest of Saint Helena; Tristan da Cunha lies 2,300 nm southwest of Saint Helena
    Saint Helena: 15 57 S, 5 42 W
    Ascension Island: 7 57 S, 14 22 W
    Tristan da Cunha island group: 37 15 S, 12 30 W
    total: 308 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 209
    land: Saint Helena Island 122 sq km; Ascension Island 88 sq km; Tristan da Cunha island group 98 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    Saint Helena: 60 km
    Ascension Island: NA
    Tristan da Cunha: 40 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    Saint Helena: tropical marine; mild, tempered by trade winds
    Ascension Island: tropical marine; mild, semi-arid
    Tristan da Cunha: temperate marine; mild, tempered by trade winds (tends to be cooler than Saint Helena)
    the islands of this group result from volcanic activity associated with the Atlantic Mid-Ocean Ridge
    Saint Helena: rugged, volcanic; small scattered plateaus and plains
    Ascension: surface covered by lava flows and cinder cones of 44 dormant volcanoes; ground rises to the east
    Tristan da Cunha: sheer cliffs line the coastline of the nearly circular island; the flanks of the central volcanic peak are deeply dissected; narrow coastal plain lies between The Peak and the coastal cliffs
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Queen Mary's Peak on Tristan da Cunha 2,060 m; Green Mountain on Ascension Island 859 m; Mount Actaeon on Saint Helena Island 818 m
    fish, lobster
    arable land: 10.26%
    permanent crops: 0%
    other: 89.74% (2011)
    NA
    active volcanism on Tristan da Cunha
    volcanism: the island volcanoes of Tristan da Cunha (elev. 2,060 m) and Nightingale Island (elev. 365 m) experience volcanic activity; Tristan da Cunha erupted in 1962 and Nightingale in 2004
    NA
    Saint Helena harbors at least 40 species of plants unknown elsewhere in the world; Ascension is a breeding ground for sea turtles and sooty terns; Queen Mary's Peak on Tristan da Cunha is the highest island mountain in the South Atlantic and a prominent landmark on the sea lanes around southern Africa

People and Society ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Government ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

    conventional long form: Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha
    conventional short form: none
    overseas territory of the UK
    NA
    name: Jamestown
    geographic coordinates: 15 56 S, 5 43 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    3 administrative areas; Ascension, Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)
    the Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Constitution Order 2009, effective 1 September 2009
    English common law and local statutes
    18 years of age
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
    head of government: Governor Mark CAPES (since 29 October 2011)
    note: the constitution order provides for an administrator for Ascension and Tristan da Cunha appointed by the governor
    Administrator Ascension Island: Colin WELLS (since 27 October 2011)
    Administrator Tristan da Cunha: Sean BURNS (since 15 September 2010)
    cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, 3 ex-officio officers, and 5 elected members of the Legislative Council
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch
    unicameral Legislative Council (17 seats, including a speaker and deputy speaker, 12 elected, and three ex-officio members; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    note: the Constitution Order provides for separate Island Councils for both Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
    elections: last held on 4 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2013)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 12
    highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 2 justices); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice - a non-resident - and NA judges)
    note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
    judge selection and term of office: court judges' appointments and tenures NA
    subordinate courts: Magistrate's Court; Small Claims Court; Juvenile Court
    none
    other: private sector; unions
    UPU
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Saint Helenian shield centered on the outer half of the flag; the upper third of the shield depicts a white plover (wire bird) on a yellow field; the remainder of the shield depicts a rocky coastline on the left, offshore is a three-masted sailing ship with sails furled but flying an English flag
    Saint Helena plover (bird)
    note: as a territory of the UK, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)

Economy ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Energy ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Communications ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

    3,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    general assessment: can communicate worldwide
    domestic: automatic digital network
    international: country code (Saint Helena) - 290, (Ascension Island) - 247; international direct dialing; satellite voice and data communications; satellite earth stations - 5 (Ascension Island - 4, Saint Helena - 1) (2010)
    St. Helena has no local TV station; 2 local radio stations, one of which is relayed to Ascension Island; satellite TV stations rebroadcast terrestrially; Ascension Island has no local TV station but has 1 local radio station and receives relays of broadcasts from 1 radio station on St. Helena; broadcasts from the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) are available, as well as TV services for the US military; Tristan da Cunha has 1 local radio station and receives BFBS TV and radio broadcasts (2007)
    .sh; note - Ascension Island assigned .ac
    6,729 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    900 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    South Africa maintains a meteorological station on Gough Island

Transportation ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

    1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 232
    total: 1
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 198 km (Saint Helena 138 km, Ascension 40 km, Tristan da Cunha 20 km)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    paved: 168 km (Saint Helena 118 km, Ascension 40 km, Tristan da Cunha 10 km)
    unpaved: 30 km (Saint Helena 20 km, Tristan da Cunha 10 km) (2002)
    Saint Helena: Jamestown
    Ascension Island: Georgetown
    Tristan da Cunha: Calshot Harbor (Edinburgh)
    there is no air connection to Saint Helena or Tristan da Cunha; construction on the new international airport for Saint Helena began in 2012 with an estimated completion date of late 2015 or early 2016; the new airport will have a runway of 1,550 m capable of handling B737/A319 size aircraft