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Comparative History

Here and there

What then is, generally speaking, the truth of history? A fable agreed upon.

This is where we set our earlier history into context (from 1500-1899)


World Map, 1570
World Map, 1570


Other Records-based pages:

• A Brief History

• A Very Brief History

• Chronology

• On This Day

• In This Week

• Titbits from the records

• Island History

Much of the earlier material below is extracted from the Records or the various island histories. Later material comes from the island’s newspapers and other sources. You can search our events database in various ways on our Chronology page. To search the original Records for yourself, see our Family And Friends page for contact details.

Please note: although our database contains items, ranging from to , this is not a complete history, even of all the most important events; there are some we still have not yet managed to date.

For the pre-discovery history of St Helena, see our pages Geology of St Helena, Before Discovery and Endemic Species.

Our Comparative History

Please note that the column entitled ‘Britain’ covers the separate kingdoms until their amalgamation.

St Helena




St Helena is discovered by João da Nova
Ascension Island is discovered by Portuguese navigator Afonso de Albuquerque
Tristan da Cunha is discovered by Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha

King Henry VII dies
King Henry VIII is crowned

Portuguese begin building forts in Africa
Leonardo da Vinci completes the Mona Lisa
The ‘New World’ is named America
Portuguese colonise Madagascar


Fernão Lopez arrives
A Rhinoceros visits!

The Great Plague ends
King James IV of Scotland is killed at the battle of Flodden
Coffee is introduced from the Americas

Portuguese occupy Goa (India)
Portuguese begin to occupy Malaysia
Copernicus announces that the Earth & Planets orbit the Sun
Michelangelo completes the Sistene Chapel ceiling
Florida is discovered
Portuguese begin trading with China
Martin Luther founds Protestantism
First slaves taken to the Americas
Charles V is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Clement VII
Conquistador Cortez arrives in Mexico



Chocolate is introduced from the Americas

Magellan completes the first circumnavigation of the world
The Mogul Empire in India is established
Charles V sacks Rome and captures Pope Clement VII



King Henry VIII declares himself Head of the English Church
Anne Boleyn is crowned
Anne Boleyn is beheaded

Portuguese colonise Brazil
Conquistador Pizarro arrives in Peru
Ivan the Terrible becomes ruler of Russia
French arrive in Canada
The Inquisition is established


Fernão Lopez dies on St Helena

The Reformation begins in Scotland under John Knox
Henry VIII dies
Edward VI is crowned

Calvinism begins in Switzerland
Ethiopian Christians repel Muslim invaders
Inca Empire is overthrown by the Spanish Conquistadores



English trade with West Africa begins
Edward VI dies
‘Bloody Mary’ is crowned
Tobacco is introduced from the Americas
England loses Calais, its last territory in France
Mary I dies
Elizabeth I is crowned



England begins shipping slaves from West Africa
William Shakespeare is born

The Huguenot rebellion begins in France



Queen Elizabeth I is formally excommunicated by Pope Pius V

The last Inca king is executed by the Conquistadores
Portuguese colonise Angola
The first English colonies are established in North America
Francis Drake founds ‘New Albion’ (California)


Francis Drake, circumnavigating the world, locates St Helena but does not land
William Barrett is the first Englishman to write about St Helena
Thomas Cavendish visits
Dutchman Jan Huygen Linschoten visits and starts the myth of our discovery being on 21st May

Mary Queen of Scots is executed by Queen Elizabeth I
The Spanish Armada is defeated

Gerardus Mercator introduces his new way of drawing maps


Captain Sir James Lancaster makes his first visit

First English voyage to the East Indies
England begins trading with India

Dutch begin colonising the East Indies


Sir James Lancaster visits again
Dutch officer Admiral Wittert visits and the Dutch take an interest

East India Company is founded
Queen Elizabeth I dies
King James I is crowned
The Gunpowder Plot fails to destroy Parliament

Edo period begins in Japan
Dutch East India Company is founded
French start colonising North America
First permanent English settlement in America is established: Jamestown, Virginia
Dutch found Manhattan
Dutch take Ceylon from Portuguese


Dutch warship the Witte Leeuw is sunk in (what is now) James Bay

The King James Bible is first published
Death of William Shakespeare

English East India Company begins trading with India
European exploration of Australia begins
The Thirty Years War begins in Europe
Dutch begin taking East Indies from Portuguese
First slaves imported to the English colony of Virginia



English enter into an agreement with the Dutch to share the spice trade
King James I dies
King Charles I is crowned

The Mayflower brings English pilgrims to America
Dutch found New Amsterdam (now New York)
In the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica is completed




Dutch seize the Gold Coast (Ghana) from the Portuguese
Galileo is tried by the Inquisition for the ‘heresy’ of saying the earth is not the centre of the universe
English East India Company starts trading with Canton (China)


Richard Boothby proposes to The East India Company that St Helena be colonised
The Dutch Republic claims St Helena but does not occupy or fortify it
The East India Company begins using St Helena as a rallying point for its homeward-bound vessels

Torture is outlawed
Irish unsuccessfully rebel against English rule
The Civil War begins
The Royal Society is founded
King Charles I is executed
Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector

English colonise Madras (India)
Blaise Pascal designs the first mechanical adding machine
The Dutch discover New Zealand


The East India Company decides to occupy St Helena
Dutchman Johan Nieuhof visits
Colonisation force arrives under John Dutton
Governor Dutton builds the Fort of St. John

Oliver Cromwell dies
His son Richard becomes Lord Protector
Richard Cromwell is removed from office as Lord Protector

Dutch found Cape Town in South Africa
Mogul emperor Shah Jahan completes the Taj Mahal
The English take over Jamaica


Jamestown is so named and the fort becomes James Fort
King Charles II formalises The East India Company occupation with a Charter
People displaced by the Great Fire of London are brought to St Helena

The Monarchy is restored under King Charles II
The Great Plague hits London
War is declared against the Dutch
The Great Fire devastates London

The English capture New Amsterdam and rename it New York


The first chaplain of The East India Company arrives
Dutch invade and capture St Helena
Dutch invaders are expelled by Richard Munden and his force
King Charles II re-affirms England’s ownership of St Helena by Royal Charter
Slaves begin to be sent to St Helena
Edmond Halley catalogues the southern sky

The Greenwich Observatory is founded

Charleston is founded



King Charles II dies
King James II is crowned
Isaac Newton publishes his Laws of Motion
King James II is deposed
Queen Mary II is crowned

Louisiana is claimed by France


Several French protestants arrive and start a wine industry
Captain Dampier visits
Jackson’s rebellion against Governor Joshua Johnston results in the execution of the rebels
Rats and goats reported to be out of control and destroying the island

Bank of England is established
Queen Mary II dies
King William III (of Orange) is crowned
Thomas Savery demonstrates the first Steam Engine

Salem Witch Trials begin in America



First daily newspaper begins publication, the Daily Courant
King William III dies
Queen Anne is crowned
The Act of Union establishes Great Britain
The East India Company is reformed and expanded

Peter the Great founds St. Petersburg


The Great Wood is reported destroyed
Governor Pyke proposes that the island be abandoned and everybody moved to Mauritius

Queen Anne dies
King George I is crowned
First Jacobite Rebellion

New Orleans is founded



Many lose fortunes in the South Sea Bubble share fiasco
Robert Walpole becomes Britain’s first Prime Minister
King George I dies
King George II is crowned

Slavery is abolished in Russia by Peter the Great


Coffee plants are introduced to the island



The island’s first hospital is built

First water-powered cotton mill begins operation
Second Jacobite Rebellion




This Lisbon Earthquake kills many and destroys (inter alia) many documents relating to the discovery of St Helena
British rule in India is established


Nevil Maskelyne observes the Transit of Venus

King George II dies
King George III is crowned

Catherine the Great becomes ruler of Russia
The Stamp Act causes unrest in the British-American colonies
James Cook explores Australia and New Zealand


Captain James Cook visits
St. James’ Church is built
Captain James Cook visits for the 2nd time
Horatio Nelson visits (before he was famous)


The American Revolutionary War begins
The American Declaration of Independence is signed
The Xhosa wars begin between the British, Boers and Xhosa peoples in South Africa


The ‘Christmas Mutiny’ is caused by attempts to control drunkenness


Los Angeles is founded
The American Revolutionary War ends with the Treaty of Paris
The American Constitution is agreed
French Revolution begins
George Washington becomes first President of America


Saul Solomon arrives
Plantation House is built
It becomes illegal to import slaves
Captain Bligh visits


Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette are executed
La Marseillaise becomes the French National Anthem
Napoleon wins his first victory as a military commander
The British capture Ceylon from the Dutch
Napoleon conquers Venice
Napoleon becomes First Consul of France in a Coup


Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington visits, and nearly drowns

The United Kingdom is enlarged by adding Ireland to Great Britain
Britain and France (under Napoleon) declare war
The Battle of Trafalgar makes Britain the dominant sea power
The Slave Trade is made illegal

America expands by buying the claimed French territories
Napoleon crowns himself Emperor of the French
World population reaches 1 billion
Napoleon defeats the Russians and Austrians at Austerlitz
The Cape Colony becomes British
Beethoven performs his 5th Symphony


Chinese labourers arrive
Tristan da Cunha is settled by Jonathan Lambert, from the USA
St Helena is chosen to detain Napoleon
Britain claims Ascension Island
Many descriptions and histories of St Helena begin to appear
The UK claims and occupies Tristan da Cunha
William Thackeray visits as a child and sees Napoleon
All children born to slaves are declared to be free

Jane Austen publishes Pride and Prejudice
Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein
The Peterloo Massacre is perpetrated

Punjab War begins in India
Napoleon fails to conquer Moscow
Napoleon abdicates and is exiled to Elba
Napoleon escapes from Elba; resumes power but loses the Battle of Waterloo and surrenders to the British
Mount Tamboura erupts killing more than 71,000 people - the biggest eruption in recorded history
Singapore is established by The East India Company


Napoleon dies at Longwood House
The phased emancipation of St Helena’s slaves begins
Mynah Birds are introduced to control cattle ticks
The ‘Inclined Plane’ railway from Jamestown to the Ladder Hill Fort begins operating

King George III dies
King George IV is crowned
Cadbury’s chocolate is first produced
The first railway opens, from Stockton to Darlington
The Metropolitan Police is formed in London

Antarctica is discovered
Britain occupies Burmah (Myanmar)
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is premiered


The Jamestown Upper Theatre is destroyed by fire
St Helena becomes a Crown Colony ending 175 years of rule by The East India Company
Charles Darwin visits
The first British Governor arrives, Governor George Middlemore
Attempts to set up a local whaling company fail
Ships begin routing along what will become the Suez Canal, thus shipping calls at St Helena begin to reduce
Dr James Barry leaves St Helena

King George IV dies
King William IV is crowned
Charles Darwin sets out on HMS Beagle
Slavery Act abolishes slavery throughout the British Empire
King William IV dies
Queen Victoria is crowned
Charles Dickens publishes Oliver Twist

Belgium is created
France occupies Algeria
Spanish Inquisition is disbanded


The British Navy begins intercepting South Atlantic slave ships, liberating the slaves onto St Helena
Napoleon’s body is returned to France
William Alexander Thorpe is born on St Helena
The St Helena Regiment is formed
The Rollers of 1846’ destroy 13 ships

Irish potato famine begins

Upper and Lower Canada merge to create the current state
Treaty of Waitangi creates the state of New Zealand
Hong Kong leased to Britain
World’s first Telegraph line begins operation
Most of the south-western USA is won from Mexico by war
Austria conducts the world’s first Air Raid, against Venice - using balloons
Gold Prospectors arrive in California (‘The 49ers’)


St Helena Coffee wins a prize at the Great Exhibition
Baptists arrive on St Helena
Longwood House and Napoleon’s Tomb are transferred to French ownership.

Great Exhibition is held
Invention of the Bessemer Process allows steel to be mass-produced
The Westminster Clock containing the bell Big Ben is completed
Charles Darwin publishes Origin of Species

Crimean War begins
The Battle of Balaclava leads to the famed Charge of the Light Brigade
India rebels against British Rule
British Crown takes control of India from The East India Company


White Ants’ from a slave ship are destroying Jamestown
HRH Prince Alfred visits
The St Helena Regiment is disbanded

Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert dies
First part of the London Underground opens
Lewis Carroll publishes Alice in Wonderland
First trans-Atlantic telegraph cable commences operation

American Civil War begins
France annexes Cambodia
American Civil War ends
Slavery is abolished in the USA
President Lincoln is assassinated
Dynamite invented by Alfred Nobel
USA purchases Alaska from Russia
Tolstoy publishes War and Peace
Suez Canal opens


The Liberated Slave Depot is closed. 25,000 have passed through St Helena, 500 choosing to stay
The ‘Inclined Plane’ railway is re-engineered to become Jacob’s Ladder
The first flax industry fails
High Knoll Fort is expanded to its present form

Royal Albert Hall opens
First international football match is played - England v Scotland
The East India Company is dissolved
Queen Victoria assumes the title Empress of India

In Africa Stanley meets Dr Livingstone
Yellowstone National Park is created in America
Indian Famine begins - 26 Million people die in the following 25 years
US General Custer dies at the Battle of Little Bighorn (as do many others)
Edison invents the Phonograph
Anglo-Zulu war begins
Edison invents the light bulb


Jonathan the tortoise arrives, aged about 50.
Streetlights are introduced in Jamestown

Opening of the World’s first electricity plant and distribution system
Treasure Island is published
First Sherlock Holmes story is published
Jack the Ripper begins killing in London

First Boer War begins
First Boer War ends with British victory
Britain occupies Egypt
Volcano Krakatau explodes
Karl Benz sells the world’s first car
Eiffel Tower opens; so does the Moulin Rouge


A large rockfall kills nine people and destroys 14 houses
Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo arrives
The ‘Rockfall Memorial Fountain’ is dedicated
Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo departs
Joshua Slocum visits while sailing around the world
The undersea cable connects St Helena to the world

Oscar Wilde is put on trial for homosexuality
Bram Stoker publishes Dracula
War of the Worlds by H G Wells is published

Van Gogh dies
Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite is first performed
New Zealand gives women a vote - the first country to do so
Olympic Games are revived
Second Boer War begins

Island, from the North
Island, from the North{a}

Laugh at funny Comparative History humour - LOL

{a} Chris and Sheila Hillman

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