This edition’s location in the spotlight is St Helena, from where one user visited the Dotsub website in the two month period spanning June and July 2015.
If you have heard of it at all, you probably know it as the place where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled from October 1815 until his death in May 1821, but there is quite a lot more to the place than that. It figures in many areas of British history and can be linked with many names that you will recognize, no matter where your interests may lie.
It has claims to fame in political, military and commercial history, astronomy and environmentalism to name a few.
Saint Helena is a tropical island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 km east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 km west of the southern coast of Africa. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres (10 by 5 mi) and has a population of 4,255 (2008 census).
The island was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. One of the most remote islands in the world, it was for centuries an important stopover for ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa. Napoleon was imprisoned there in exile by the British, as were Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (for leading a Zulu army against British rule) and more than 5,000 Boers taken prisoner during the Second Boer War.
In 1657, Oliver Cromwell granted the English East India Company a charter to govern Saint Helena and the following year the company decided to fortify the island and colonize it with planters. The first governor, Captain John Dutton, arriv
ed in 1659, making Saint Helena one of Britain’s oldest colonies outside North America and the Caribbean. A fort and houses were built. After the Restoration of the Englishmonarchy in 1660, the East India Company received a royal charter giving it the sole right to fortify and colonize the island.
On leaving the University of Oxford, in 1676, Edmond Halley visited Saint Helena and set up an observatory with a 7.3-metre-long (24 ft) aerial telescope with the intention of studying stars from the Southern Hemisphere. The site of this telescope is near Saint Mathew’s Church in Hutt’s Gate, in the Longwood district. The 680-metre (2,230 ft) high hill there is named for him and is called Halley’s Mount.
Between 1791 and 1833, Saint Helena became the site of a series of experiments in conservation, reforestation and attempts to boost rainfall artificially. This environmental intervention was closely linked to the conceptualization of the processes of environmental change and helped establish the roots of environmentalism.