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Visit Saint Helena

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Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi) west of the Cunene River, which marks the border between Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres (10 by 5 mi) and has a population of 4,534 (2016 census). It was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople.

The history of St Helena is fascinating and touches many aspects of world history.

Discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, it became a Dutch then a British possession (initially under the East India Company then the Crown). It was a strategically important port of call during the British Empire, until the opening of the Suez Canal and the advent of steamships.

The island’s remote location meant it was used as a place of exile for key prisoners, including some 6 000 Boers, Chief Dinizulu, Bahraini princes and, of course, Napoleon, who died on St Helena. The island also played an important role during the abolition of slavery.

This heritage provides a significant legacy of fortifications, remains, historic buildings, and what has been described as “the quintessential Atlantic port” – Jamestown.