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Comparative History

Here and there

I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that’s fair. In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.{b}

Our island’s history set into a global context

World Map by Ortelius, 1570
World Map by Ortelius, 1570

Our Comparative History

Note that Great Britain was created in 1707 by the Act of Union, which merged England and Scotland into a single kingdom, the Kingdom of Great Britain. The column entitled ‘Britain’ includes the separate kingdoms until their amalgamation.

Below: 1500s1600s1700s1800s1900s2000s


St Helena




1502 St Helena is discovered by João da Nova 1506 Tristan da Cunha is discovered by Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha


1504 Michelangelo completes ‘David’ 1505 Portuguese begin building forts in Africa 1506 Leonardo da Vinci completes the Mona Lisa 1507 The ‘New World’ is named America 1508 Portuguese colonise Madagascar


1515 A Rhinoceros visits 1516 Fernão Lopez arrives, the first inhabitant

1510 England is hit by Plague 1513 The English win the battle of Flodden Field; King James IV of Scotland is killed 1515 Cardinal Wolsey becomes Lord Chancellor of England 1516 Coffee is introduced from the Americas

1510 Portuguese occupy Goa (India) 1511 Portuguese begin to occupy Malaysia 1512 Nicolaus Copernicus publishes Commentariolus, saying that the Earth & Planets orbit the Sun 1512 Michelangelo completes the Sistine Chapel ceiling 1513 Machiavelli writes ‘The Prince’, a treatise about politics 1513 Florida is discovered 1516 Portuguese begin trading with China 1517 Martin Luther founds Protestantism 1518 First enslaved people people taken to the Americas 1519 Conquistador Cortéz arrives in Mexico 1519 Charles V is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Clement VII



1520 Chocolate is introduced from the Americas

1521 Ferdinand Magellan discovers The Philippines 1526 The Mughal Empire in India is established 1527 Charles V sacks Rome and captures Pope Clement VII



1532 King Henry VIII declares himself Head of the English Church 1533 King Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn 1535 Thomas Moore is beheaded by King Henry VIII 1536 Anne Boleyn is beheaded by King Henry VIII 1537 William Tyndale publishes The New Testament in English

1530 Portuguese colonise Brazil 1532 Conquistador Pizarro arrives in Peru 1533 Ivan the Terrible becomes ruler of Russia 1534 French arrive in Canada 1536 The Inquisition is established


1546 Fernão Lopez dies on St Helena

1541 The Reformation begins in Scotland under John Knox 1549 The Church of England introduces the Book of Common Prayer

1541 Calvinism begins in Switzerland 1545 Inca Empire is overthrown by the Spanish Conquistadores



1550 English trade with West Africa begins 1553 Queen Mary I tries to take England back to Catholicism 1553 Tobacco is introduced from the Americas 1558 England loses Calais, its last territory in France




1562 England begins shipping people from West Africa to be enslaved 1563 Plague kills around 20,000 in London 1564 William Shakespeare is born

1562 The first Huguenot Rebellion begins in France



1570 Queen Elizabeth I is formally excommunicated by Pope Pius V

1572 The last Inca king is executed by the Conquistadores 1574 Portuguese colonise Angola 1577 The first English colonies are established in North America 1579 Francis Drake founds ‘New Albion’ (California)


1580 Francis Drake, circumnavigating the world, locates St Helena but does not land 1584 William Barrett is the first Englishman to write about St Helena 1588 The First Englishman visits 1589 Dutchman Jan Huygen van Linschoten visits and starts the myth of our discovery being on 21st May

1587 Mary Queen of Scots is executed by Queen Elizabeth I 1588 The Spanish Armada is defeated (partly by the weather)

1582 The Gregorian Calendar replaces the Julian Calendar on the orders of Pope Gregory XIII 1585 Gerardus Mercator introduces his new way of drawing maps


1593 Captain Sir James Lancaster makes his first visit

1591 First English voyage to the East Indies 1593 Plague kills about 1/20 of the population of London 1594 England begins trading with India 1597 William Shakespeare publishes ‘Romeo & Juliet’ 1599 William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre opens in London

1595 Dutch begin colonising the East Indies


1603 Sir James Lancaster visits again 1608 Dutch officer Admiral Wittert visits and the Dutch take an interest

1600 The East India Company is founded 1605 The Gunpowder Plot fails to destroy Parliament

1600 Edo period begins in Japan 1602 The Dutch East India Company (VoC) is founded 1603 French start colonising North America 1607 First permanent English settlement in America is established: Jamestown, Virginia 1609 Dutch take Ceylon from Portuguese 1609 Dutch found Manhattan


1613 Dutch warship the Witte Leeuw arrives to St Helena, and loses a brief but spectacular naval action with two Portuguese carracks

1611 The King James Bible is first published 1616 Death of William Shakespeare

1611 The East India Company begins trading with India 1614 European exploration of Australia begins 1618 Dutch begin taking East Indies from Portuguese 1618 The Thirty Years War begins in Europe 1619 The first enslaved people are imported to the English colony of Virginia


1625 British & Dutch fight the Portuguese for possession of St Helena (unsuccessfully)

1620 English enter into an agreement with the Dutch to share the spice trade

1620 The Mayflower brings English pilgrims to America 1625 Dutch found New Amsterdam (now New York) 1626 In the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica is completed


1633 The Dutch formally claim St Helena, planning to occupy & fortify it


1631 Dutch seize the Gold Coast (Ghana) from the Portuguese 1633 Galileo is tried by the Inquisition for the ‘heresy’ of saying the earth is not the centre of the universe 1637 The East India Company starts trading with Canton (China)


1644 Richard Boothby proposes to The East India Company that St Helena be colonised 1649 The East India Company begins using St Helena as a rallying point for its homeward-bound vessels

1640 Torture is outlawed 1641 Irish unsuccessfully rebel against English rule 1642 The English Civil War begins 1643 Isaac Newton is born 1645 The Royal Society is founded 1649 King Charles I is executed

1640 English colonise Madras (India) 1642 The Dutch discover New Zealand 1642 Blaise Pascal designs the first mechanical adding machine


1651 The Dutch abandon plans to occupy St Helena 1657 Oliver Cromwell grants The East India Company patents to occupy and develop St Helena 1658 Dutchman Johan Nieuhof visits 1658 The East India Company decides to occupy St Helena 1659 Governor Dutton builds the Fort of St. John 1659 The English occupy & fortify St Helena

1651 The English Civil War ends

1652 The Dutch found Cape Town in South Africa 1653 Mughal emperor Shäh Jahän completes the Täj Mahal 1655 The English take over Jamaica


1660 The fort is renamed James Fort, the town Jamestown and the valley James Valley, in honour of the Duke of York, later King James II 1661 King Charles II formalises The East India Company occupation with a Charter 1667 People displaced by the Great Fire of London are brought to St Helena (possibly)

1665 The Great Plague hits London and kills about 100,000 1665 War is declared against the Dutch 1666 The Great Fire devastates London

1664 The English capture New Amsterdam and rename it New York


1671 The first chaplain of The East India Company arrives 1672 The Dutch VoC fleet invades and captures St Helena 1673 King Charles II re-affirms England’s ownership of St Helena by Royal Charter 1673 Dutch invaders are expelled by Richard Munden and his force 1675 enslaved people begin to be sent regularly to St Helena 1677 Edmond Halley visits and catalogues the stars in the Southern hemisphere and observe the Transit of Mercury

1675 The Greenwich Observatory is founded

1670 Charleston is founded



1687 Isaac Newton publishes his Laws of Motion

1682 Louisiana is claimed by France 1685 Louis XIV of France begins severe persecution of French Protestants


1690 Several French Protestants arrive and start a wine industry 1691 Captain Dampier visits 1693 Governor Joshua Johnston is shot and killed during the ‘Jackson Mutiny1698 Rats and goats reported to be out of control and destroying the island

1694 Bank of England is established 1699 Thomas Savery demonstrates the first Steam Engine

1692 The Salem Witch Trials begin in America


1708 Council approves Governor John Roberts’ scheme to rebuild James Fort, creating what is now The Castle

1701 First daily newspaper begins publication, the Daily Courant 1707 The Act of Union establishes Great Britain 1708 The East India Company is reformed and expanded

1703 Peter the Great founds St. Petersburg


1710 The Great Wood is reported destroyed 1715 Governor Pyke proposes that the island be abandoned and everybody moved to Mauritius

1710 St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is completed 1715 First Jacobite Rebellion

1718 New Orleans is founded



1720 Many lose fortunes in the South Sea Bubble share fiasco 1721 Robert Walpole becomes Britain’s first Prime Minister 1727 Isaac Newton dies

1723 Slavery is abolished in Russia by Peter the Great


1733 Coffee plants are introduced to the island



1742 The island’s first hospital is built

1742 First water-powered cotton mill begins operation 1745 Second Jacobite Rebellion




1755 This Lisbon Earthquake kills many and probably destroys (inter alia) many documents relating to the discovery of St Helena 1756 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is born 1757 British rule in India is established


1761 Nevil Maskelyne visits to observe the Transit of Venus


1762 Catherine the Great becomes ruler of Russia 1765 The Stamp Act causes unrest in the British-American colonies 1769 Captain James Cook explores Australia and New Zealand


1771 Captain James Cook visits 1774 St. James’ Church is completed, the oldest Anglican Church in the southern hemisphere 1775 Captain James Cook visits for the 2nd time 1776 Horatio Nelson visits (before he was famous)


1773 The East India Company starts operations in Bengal to smuggle opium into China 1775 The American Revolutionary War begins 1776 The American Declaration of Independence is signed 1779 The Xhosa wars begin between the British, Boers and Xhosa peoples in South Africa


1783 The ‘Arrack Rebellion’ is caused by attempts to control drunkenness


1781 Los Angeles is founded 1783 The American Revolutionary War ends with the Treaty of Paris 1787 The American Constitution is agreed 1789 George Washington becomes first President of America 1789 French Revolution begins


1790 Saul Solomon arrives on St Helena 1791 Plantation House is built 1792 Captain Bligh visits 1792 It becomes illegal to import enslaved people


1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies 1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart premieres The Magic Flute 1793 Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette are executed 1795 La Marseillaise becomes the French National Anthem 1796 The British capture Ceylon from the Dutch 1796 Napoleon wins his first victory as a military commander 1797 Napoleon conquers Venice 1799 Napoleon becomes First Consul of France in a Coup


1805 Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington visits, and nearly drowns

1801 The United Kingdom is enlarged by adding Ireland to Great Britain 1803 Britain and France (under Napoleon) declare war 1805 The Battle of Trafalgar makes Britain the dominant sea power 1807 The Slave Trade is made illegal

1803 America expands by buying the claimed French territories 1804 World population reaches 1 billion 1804 Napoleon crowns himself Emperor of the French 1805 Napoleon defeats the Russians and Austrians at Austerlitz 1806 The Cape Colony becomes British 1808 Beethoven performs his 5th Symphony


1810 Chinese labourers arrive 1810 Tristan da Cunha is settled by Jonathan Lambert, from the USA 1815 St Helena is chosen to detain Napoleon 1815 Britain claims Ascension Island 1816 The UK claims and occupies Tristan da Cunha 1816 Many descriptions and histories of St Helena begin to appear 1817 William Thackeray visits as a child and sees Napoleon 1818 All children born to enslaved people are declared to be free

1813 Jane Austen publishes Pride and Prejudice 1818 Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein 1819 The Peterloo Massacre is perpetrated

1810 Punjab War begins in India 1812 Napoleon fails to conquer Moscow 1814 Napoleon abdicates and is exiled to Elba 1815 Mount Tamboura erupts killing more than 71,000 people - the biggest eruption in recorded history 1815 Napoleon escapes from Elba; resumes power but loses the Battle of Waterloo and surrenders to the British 1819 Singapore is established by The East India Company


1821 Napoleon dies at Longwood House 1827 The emancipation of enslaved people begins 1829 Mynah Birds are introduced to control cattle ticks 1829 The ‘Inclined Plane’ railway from Jamestown to the Ladder Hill Fort begins operating

1824 Cadbury’s chocolate is first produced 1825 The first railway opens, from Stockton to Darlington 1829 The Metropolitan Police is formed in London

1820 Antarctica is discovered 1823 Britain occupies Burma (Myanmar) 1824 Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is premiered


1831 The Jamestown Upper Theatre is destroyed by fire 1834 St Helena becomes a Crown Colony ending 175 years of rule by The East India Company 1836 The first British Governor arrives, Governor George Middlemore 1836 Charles Darwin visits in the HMS Beagle 1837 Attempts to set up a local whaling company fail 1838 Dr. James Barry leaves St Helena

1831 Charles Darwin sets out on HMS Beagle 1833 The Slavery Act abolishes slavery throughout the British Empire 1837 Charles Dickens publishes Oliver Twist

1830 Belgium is created 1831 France occupies Algeria 1834 Spanish Inquisition is disbanded


1840 The British Navy begins intercepting Slavers, liberating the captives onto St Helena 1840 Napoleon’s body is returned to France 1842 William Alexander Thorpe is born on St Helena 1842 The St Helena Regiment is formed 1846 ‘The Rollers of 1846’ destroy 13 ships

1845 Irish potato famine begins

1840 Upper and Lower Canada merge to create the current state 1840 Treaty of Waitangi creates the state of New Zealand 1842 Anaesthesia used for the first time 1842 Hong Kong leased to Britain 1844 World’s first Telegraph line begins operation 1848 Most of the south-western USA is won from Mexico by war 1849 Austria conducts the world’s first Air Raid, against Venice - using balloons 1849 Gold Prospectors arrive in California (‘The 49ers’)


1851 St Helena Coffee wins a prize at the Great Exhibition 1851 St. Paul’s Cathedral is completed 1854 Baptists arrive on St Helena 1858 Longwood House and Napoleon’s Tomb are transferred to French ownership

1851 Great Exhibition is held 1855 Invention of the Bessemer Process allows steel to be mass-produced 1858 The Westminster Clock containing the bell Big Ben is completed 1859 Charles Darwin publishes ‘On the Origin of Species’

1853 Crimean War begins 1854 The Battle of Balaclava leads to the famed Charge of the Light Brigade 1857 India rebels against British Rule 1858 British Crown takes control of India from The East India Company


1860 HRH Prince Alfred visits 1860 ‘White Ants’ from one of the ships carrying the enslaved are destroying Jamestown 1863 The St Helena Regiment is disbanded 1869 The Suez Canal opens, further reducing St Helena’s role in global shipping

1861 Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert dies 1863 The first part of the London Underground opens 1865 Lewis Carroll publishes Alice in Wonderland 1866 First trans-Atlantic telegraph cable commences operation

1861 American Civil War begins 1863 France annexes Cambodia 1865 Slavery is abolished in the USA 1865 President Lincoln is assassinated 1865 American Civil War ends 1867 USA purchases Alaska from Russia 1867 Dynamite invented by Alfred Nobel 1869 Dmitri Mendeleev creates the Periodic table 1869 Tolstoy publishes War and Peace 1869 The Suez Canal opens


1870 The Liberated Slave Depot is closed. 25,000 have passed through St Helena, maybe 1,000 choosing to stay 1871 The ‘Inclined Plane’ railway is re-engineered to become Jacob’s Ladder 1874 The first flax industry fails 1874 High Knoll Fort is expanded to its present form

1871 Royal Albert Hall opens 1872 First international football match is played - England v Scotland 1874 The East India Company is dissolved 1876 Queen Victoria assumes the title Empress of India

1871 In Africa Stanley meets Dr. Livingstone 1872 Yellowstone National Park is created in America 1875 Indian Famine begins - 26 Million people die in the following 25 years 1876 US General Custer dies at the Battle of Little Bighorn (as do many others) 1877 Edison invents the Phonograph 1879 Edison invents the light bulb 1879 Anglo-Zulu war ends with British victory


1882 Jonathan the tortoise arrives, aged about 50 1888 Streetlights are introduced in Jamestown

1881 Opening of the World’s first electricity plant and distribution system 1883 Treasure Island is published (maybe based on Fernão Lopez) 1887 First Sherlock Holmes story is published 1888 Jack the Ripper begins killing in London

1880 First Boer War begins 1881 First Boer War ends with British victory 1882 Britain occupies Egypt 1883 Volcano Krakatau explodes 1886 Karl Benz sells the world’s first car 1889 Eiffel Tower opens; so does the Moulin Rouge


1890 A large rockfall kills nine people and destroys 14 houses 1890 Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo arrives 1891 The ‘Rockfall Memorial Fountain’ is dedicated 1897 Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo departs 1898 Joshua Slocum visits while sailing around the world 1899 The undersea cable connects St Helena to the world

1894 Tower Bridge in London is completed 1895 Oscar Wilde is put on trial for homosexuality 1897 Bram Stoker publishes Dracula 1898 War of the Worlds by H G Wells is published

1890 Van Gogh dies 1892 Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite is first performed 1893 New Zealand gives women a vote - the first country to do so 1896 Olympic Games are revived 1899 Second Boer War begins


1900 The first of 6,000 Boer PoWs arrive on St Helena 1902 The Boer PoWs depart from St Helena 1905 The last execution takes place on St Helena (for the Prosperous Bay Murder) 1907 The Flax Industry re-starts 1908 The lace-making school is opened


1901 The Commonwealth of Australia is formed 1901 Guglielmo Marconi sends the first radio message 1902 2nd Boer War ends 1903 Orville & Wilbur Wright make the first controlled powered flight 1905 Albert Einstein publishes his Special Theory of Relativity 1905 10,000 people die in an earthquake in Lahore, India 1906 An earthquake and fire destroys most of San Francisco, USA 1909 China annexes Tibet, the Dalai Lama flees


1910 Mr Mosely’s fish-processing industry starts - and closes 1910 The Duke of Connaught visits 1911 The SS Papanui arrives on fire, burns out and sinks in James Bay 1914 The island’s first cinema, Thorpes Bioscope, opens in Jamestown 1914 World War 1 begins and the island comes under Martial Law 1917 The island borders on starvation due to disruption of shipping by World War 1 1918 St Helena escapes the world-wide Flu epidemic

1911 Ernest Rutherford demonstrates that atoms have components (splits the atom) 1912 Ocean Liner Titanic sinks off the coast of Newfoundland 1914 World War 1 Begins 1918 World War 1 Ends 1918 Women aged 30 and over get the vote

1910 Union of South Africa becomes a British Dominion 1910 Japan occupies and colonises Korea 1912 Roald Amundsen is the first to reach the South Pole 1914 The Panama Canal opens to shipping 1917 Russian Revolution: Tzar overthrown 1918 World-wide Flu epidemic kills 20 million people 1919 British soldiers in India perpetrate the Amritsar Massacre


1920 Norwegian ship Spangereid arrives on fire and burns out in James Bay 1921 The first Saint men leave to work on Ascension Island 1925 HRH Edward, Prince of Wales visits 1929 The island’s first car is imported to St Helena

1922 The BBC launches radio broadcasting in the UK 1928 Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin

1922 Egypt becomes independent 1923 An earthquake and fire destroys most of Tokyo, Japan 1924 Joseph Stalin becomes leader of the USSR 1925 Charlie Chaplin releases ‘The Gold Rush’ 1927 The first talking picture, ‘The Jazz Singer’ starring Al Jolson, is released 1929 The American stock market crashes starting a world-wide Depression 1929 Mohandas Gandhi demands independence for India and starts civil disobedience


1934 The first flight over St Helena is made by a seaplane from HMS Dorsetshire 1936 Lord and Lady Baden-Powell visit 1939 World War 2 brings many troops to the island

1930 Amy Johnson flies from Britain to Australia, the first woman to fly solo across the world 1936 The BBC launches the world’s first broadcast television service 1936 Edward VIII becomes king but abdicates the same year 1939 Hitler invades Poland so Britain declares war on Germany; World War 2 begins

1930 The Chrysler Building opens in New York, USA 1931 Japan occupies Manchuria in North-western China 1932 The Empire State Building opens in New York, USA 1933 Adolf Hitler rises to power in Germany


1941 Education becomes compulsory and the Government of St Helena takes over all schools 1941 The RFA Darkdale is torpedoed and sinks in James Bay 1942 SS City of Cairo is torpedoed near St Helena and most survivors arrive here 1947 HRH King George VI visits with the Royal Family, the first visit by a Head of State of Great Britain 1949 The 100 Men leave for the UK


1941 Japan attacks the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbour, bringing America into World War 2 1945 America drops the first Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan 1945 Japan surrenders and World War 2 ends 1945 The United Nations is created to preserve peace and defend Human Rights 1945 Russian troops advance into Berlin, Hitler commits suicide and World War 2 ends in Europe 1947 The state of Israel is created 1947 India gains its independence; Pakistan is created 1948 The ‘Cold War’ begins between Western and Eastern Europe 1948 Mohandas Gandhi is assassinated


1951 The Flax Industry reaches its peak 1956 The (current) General Hospital opens 1957 HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visits 1958 The first known radio broadcast is made

1954 Roger Bannister runs a mile in under 4 minutes

1950 The Korean war begins 1950 Senator McCarthy begins his purge of Communists in America 1951 Libya is the first African colony to achieve independence 1953 Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing climb Mt Everest 1953 The Korean war ends 1954 Civil war begins in Vietnam 1955 The Warsaw Pact is created 1955 Martin Luther King, Jr. starts the American Civil Rights movement 1956 Elvis Presley has his first #1 hit ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ 1956 Egyptian President Nasser seizes control of the Suez Canal 1957 Treaty of Rome establishes the European Community 1957 The first artificial satellite, Sputnik, is launched by the USSR 1958 The first integrated circuit is created


1965 The Flax Industry collapses 1966 Democracy is introduced with a part-elected Legislative Council 1967 The island’s first radio station, Radio St Helena, starts broadcasting

1965 The Post Office Tower opens in London 1967 The Beatles release the album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’

1960 Massacre in Sharpeville, South Africa 1961 Berlin is divided by the Berlin Wall 1961 USA starts sending troops to fight the Vietnam War 1961 Russian Yuri Gagarin makes the first manned space flight 1962 The Cuban Missile Crisis nearly starts World War III 1963 President John F Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, USA 1966 The Cultural Revolution begins in China 1967 First successful heart transplant by Dr. Christiaan Barnard 1968 Mass student demonstration in Paris 1968 USSR suppresses Czechoslovakian ‘Prague Spring’ 1968 Apollo 8 becomes the first manned spacecraft to go beyond Earth orbit 1968 American Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated 1969 Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the Moon 1969 Half a million people attend the Woodstock rock festival


1971 St Helena adopts Decimal Currency 1976 St Helena banknotes begin circulating 1977 The RMS St Helena (1978-1990) begins service

1971 Britain adopts Decimal Currency 1973 Britain joins the European Community 1976 Concorde, the first super-sonic airliner, starts operations 1979 James Lovelock postulates ‘Gaia’ - that the whole Earth is an integrated living organism 1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female Prime Minister

1970 Idi Amin seizes power in Uganda 1971 East Pakistan becomes Bangladesh 1972 The World Trade Centre (Twin Towers) opens in New York, USA 1973 America troops flee Vietnam as Communists take over 1973 America supports a military coup in Chile 1974 US President Nixon resigns over Watergate 1975 The first personal computers go on sale in the USA 1977 America launches the Space Shuttle, the first re-useable spacecraft, and probes Voyager 1 and 2 1979 Iran becomes an Islamic Republic 1979 Egypt and Israel agree a peace treaty


1980 The St Helena Ebony is re-discovered 1982 The RMS St Helena (1978-1990) assists the forces in the Falkland Islands 1983 The British Nationality Act 1981 denies Saints their right to live and work in the UK{1} 1984 St Helena gets a new flag, motto and Coat of Arms 1984 HRH Prince Andrew visits 1986 The first islanders leave to work on the Falkland IslandsW 1988 Prince Andrew School opens to pupils 1989 The RMS St Helena (1990-2018) is launched in Aberdeen by Prince Andrew

1981 Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer 1982 Argentina captures the Falkland Islands but is expelled by British forces

1980 Zimbabwe is created under Robert Mugabe 1980 John Lennon is shot and killed in New York, USA 1980 ‘Solidarity’ agitates for political freedom in Poland 1984 Chemical accident in Bhopal, India kills 2,000 people 1984 Sikh extremists occupy the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India 1985 French agents sink Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior over nuclear weapons test protests 1986 Nuclear explosion at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine, USSR 1986 Nations agree sanctions against Apartheid South Africa 1987 World-wide stock market crash begins in New York, USA 1989 The USSR collapses and the constituent states become independent 1989 Oil Tanker Exxon Valdez causes an ecological disaster in Alaska 1989 Chinese army massacres peaceful protesters in Tiananmen Square, Beijing


1990 The RMS St Helena (1990-2018) begins service 1995 Television is introduced 1996 The Internet first becomes available 1999 Saints begin celebrating the start of the new Millennium

1990 Margaret Thatcher resigns as British Prime Minister 1991 Tim Berners-Lee launches the Internet 1992 Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales separate 1992 The Church of England decides to allow women to become priests 1994 The Channel Tunnel opens, linking Britain and France by rail 1995 Barings Bank collapses following fraud by Nick Leeson 1996 Cattle deaths begin from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (‘Mad Cow Disease’) 1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in Paris 1997 First clone, Dolly the sheep, is born 1998 The ‘Good Friday Agreement’ ends fighting in Northern Ireland

1990 Namibia gains independence from South Africa 1990 Apartheid breaks down and Nelson Mandela is released from prison in South Africa 1990 Hubble Telescope is launched 1990 Germany is re-unified 1991 Iraq is expelled from Kuwait by an international force 1991 125,000 people die in flooding in Bangladesh 1992 UN holds its first summit on Climate Change 1993 The Maastricht Treaty formally establishes the European Union 1994 Civil war breaks out in Rwanda 1994 Nelson Mandela becomes the first black President of South Africa 1997 The Kyoto Climate Change Protocol is adopted by the United Nations 1998 US and UK forces invade Iraq, deposing President Saddam Hussein 1999 People worldwide begin celebrating the start of the new Millennium 1999 The European Single Currency (€) is created


2000 Jacob’s Ladder is lit for the first time 2000 Official planting of The Millennium Forest begins 2002 Anne, the Princess Royal arrives for q two day visit 2002 The Quincentenary of St Helena (500 years) is widely celebrated on the island, in London and in the Falkland Islands 2003 The St Helena Olive nesiota elliptica is declared extinct 2004 The body of 19 year old Ryan Thomas is found, killed in a drunken fight with two others 2005 The UK Government announces plans to construct an airport on St Helena, to open in 2012 2008 The airport plan is ‘paused’, officially due to the world economic crisis 2009 St Helena’s current Constitution comes into force

2000 The role ‘Mayor of London’ is created 2001 An epidemic of Foot and Mouth disease kills around 10 million sheep and cattle 2002 Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Golden Jubilee (50 years on the throne) 2003 The London Congestion Charge is introduced 2004 Fox Hunting is banned in England and Wales 2005 Al-Qaeda attacks London - the ‘7/7 bombings2007 The new Wembley Statium opens

2000 The Human Genome is sequenced for the first time 2001 The ‘9/11’ attacks take place in the United States 2002 The becomes a physical currency as new notes and coins replace old legacy currency money 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates, killing all seven astronauts on board 2004 The Indian Ocean Earthquake creates a tsunami that kills ¼million people 2005 Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in Mississippi, USA, devastating New Orleans and killing more than 1,200 people 2006 Saddam Hussein, former leader of Iraq, is executed by United States troops 2007 The European Union expands to include 27 countries 2008 The World is affected by the 2008 Banking Crisis, which begins in America 2009 Barack Obama becomes the first African American President of the United States


2010 A ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) is signed between St Helena and the UK, securing funding for the new Airport 2011 Contracts for construction of the airport are signed with Basil Read Pty 2012 Basil Read’s supply ship NP Glory 4 becomes the first ship ever to dock at St Helena 2013 Marksman Simon Henry wins St Helena’s first ever gold medal in the history of the Island Games 2014 A strange monkey/cat creature (the ‘Moncat’) is reported 2015 Mobile Phones are introduced on St Helena 2015 The first aircraft ever lands at St Helena Airport 2015 For the 200th Anniversary of Napoleon’s arrival a Napoleon impersonator re-enacts him stepping ashore 2016 A test flight reveals Windshear problems with the new St Helena Airport; the opening is postponed 2017 St Helena’s scheduled commercial air service commences operation 2018 The RMS St Helena (1990-2018) departs St Helena for the final time 2019 The Government of St Helena announces an agreement with Google™ to land the Equiano™ submarine fibre-optic cable at St Helena

2012 Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee on the 60th anniversary of her accession 2013 Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, dies 2016 52% of voters decide that Britain should leave the European Union (BREXIT) 2017 72 die in a fire in a residential building, Grenfell Tower in London 2019 Boris Johnson becomes the new Prime Minster with a mission to Get BREXIT done

2011 Osama bin Laden, leader of Al-Qaeda, is assasinated by American troops 2013 Nelson Mandela dies 2014 Russia annexes Crimea (from Ukraine) 2015 The Paris Agreement to limit global warming is agreed by 195 states 2016 Donald Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States 2018 Jacob Zuma is forced out of office in South Africa, accused of corruption 2019 Covid‑19 is first detected, in Wuhan, China


2020 In response to the global Covid‑19 pandemic, the Government of St Helena effectively closes the island to tourists 2021 ‘The Cable’ is landed at St Helena 2022 Covid‑19 quarantine restrictions are abolished for all arrivals

2020 The United Kingdom formally withdraws from the European Union 2021 MP David Amess is killed at a Constituency meeting by an Islamic Terrorist 2022 Queen Elizabeth II dies aged 96, ending the longest ever reign; her son becomes King Charles III

2020 The 2020 Summer Olympics is postponed to July-August 2021 due to the Covid‑19 Pandemic 2020 Protests occur across America after the racist murder of George Floyd by the police 2020 The World Health Organisation declares Covid‑19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern 2021 Rioters storm the US Capitol, incited by Ex-President Donald Trump, who claims the 2020 election result was fraudulent 2022 Russia invades Ukraine, triggering a massive rise in global food and fuel prices

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Below: Today In World HistoryArticle: How Secure Was St Helena in 1815?

Today In World History

Article: How Secure Was St Helena in 1815?

By Trevor Hearl, published in the ‘Wirebird’, the magazine of Friends of St Helena{2} #34, Spring 2007{3}

With millions in Britain and east of the Rhine hoping in 1815 to be assured of St Helena’s security, it is surprising how little attention historians have given to the matter. Indeed, with the benefit of hindsight, they have taken it so much for granted that Hudson Lowe’s sensitivity on the point is portrayed as if some defect in his character! It was no flippant matter on the Island, however, and as late as 1883 Benjamin Grant’s Guide reminded visitors that the civilized world owes it a great debt for keeping the Conqueror in safe custody. Security was, of course, the first consideration ‘at the highest level’, when St Helena was suggested as the fallen Emperor’s next place of abode. Brasshats at Horse Guards were rather dubious about the mutinous tendencies of the St Helena Regiment, as shown in 1811, but a Regiment of Foot would cover that contingency and, as the late Governor, Major-General Beatson, assured them, the Island’s coastal artillery and telegraph system made it virtually impregnable.

St Helena may have been familiar to every traveller who had returned home from the Cape and all points East, but to few others. When therefore at the end of July 1815 rumours in the press began hinting that the escapee from Elba and Waterloo might be destined for this South Atlantic outpost, everyone asked How safe will that be? For some at least their fears were allayed within a few days by a 30-page Descriptive Account of St Helena, subtitled An Enquiry into the Degree of Security from Europe which that Island may Afford, published by John Murray. Its author, James Johnson (1777-1845), was surgeon-in-ordinary to HRH the Duke of Clarence, later William IV, with whom, in the words of the Dictionary of National Biography he enjoyed much friendly intercourse. We may reasonably assume, therefore, that his views were shared by, if they did not originate from, the bluff future ‘Sailor King’. But Johnson had other qualifications for the work, among them authorship of The Oriental Voyager (1807), a 400-page guide to all the principal Places [[᠁]] visited by our East India and China Fleets, compiled after his four-year voyage as surgeon aboard HMS Caroline. This, of course, included St Helena, which he had explored on horseback from dawn to dusk on 24 December 1805, devoting no fewer than 22 pages to its charms. Here it must suffice to say that, like most visitors, he was entranced by the Island’s landscape, but less impressed by the innkeeper who told him he should make do with good salt junk and plenty of grog.

How secure would an erstwhile conqueror of Europe find St Helena ten years later, however? Johnson argued that, given the least chance, Napoleon’s sanguinary and war-thirsty adherents would mount a rescue attempt using either internal bribery, external force or stratagem, or a combination of all of them. Fortunately there was nowhere in the world better able to counter such schemes. It was more impregnable than either Gibraltar or Malta, and more reliable than anywhere against domestic treachery. The only plan to stand any chance of success was for agents to smuggle messages to Napoleon arranging to spirit him away in a whaleboat to be picked up at Ascension Island. But, without giving way to the ignoble impulse of insulting or oppressing the captive foe, this was easily scotched. The citadel at High Knoll was remarkably eligible for Napoleon’ s abode, not only for security but, with views over both limitless ocean and homely landscape, for reflecting on one’s follies. Ascension Island must be guarded, ships - especially American vessels - prevented from hovering off the coast, and Jamestown closed to commercial shipping except, probably, the Company’s Indiamen, as resulting discontent would create a greater security risk.

It is interesting to reflect how close Johnson’s ideas came to reality. Ascension Island was guarded, and even Tristan da Cunha for a while, leaving St Helena these unexpected legacies of Napoleon’s detention. Jamestown was closed to all except the Company’s shipping, though the exclusion of American vessels was resented by Islanders, as they enjoyed bartering with them and three years of trade had already been lost during Britain’s war with the United States (1812-14). By coincidence it was the man who burned the White House in 1814, Admiral Sir George Cockburn, who escorted Napoleon to St Helena. Finding him bombastic, uncouth and disagreeable on the voyage, the Admiral was in no mood to compromise over security when they reached the Island, but his decisions differed from Johnson’s expectations on at least two cardinal points. Firstly, High Knoll - then the home of Robert Leech (1750-1818), Second Member of Council - was not considered, Cockburn agreeing with Governor Wilks’ choice of Longwood as being relatively isolated, surrounded with open, level ground easily kept under observation, and most distant from the coast, so that boats could not possibly remove Bonaparte by a coup de main. The second point of disagreement was on the assumed loyalty of the people. Cockburn had 72 deported to the Cape from the tenor of their behaviour! One wanders how far the Solomons avoided this fate as tradesmen always came under particular scrutiny, being suspected by servicemen of putting, in military parlance, money before honour.

Johnson’s theory of a possible rescue attempt was completely eclipsed by reality. In the event Napoleon’s would-be rescuers planned to use, not a whaleboat, but a submarine built and tested on the Thames! The builder, Lymington-born smuggler Captain Tom Johnstone (1772-1834) - a character well-known to the Duke of Clarence, incidentally, who would have nothing to do with his sly schemes for underwater warfare - was reputed to have been offered £40,000 for his vessel and further large amounts for using it at St Helena. It got no further than the Thames, but another was said to be on the stocks at Pernambuco and, according to Lord Rosebery - one of the few to have considered the question of custody - these threats remained the constant bugbear of British Governments. Perhaps Hudson Lowe had more cause for sleepless nights than is generally realised. By an odd coincidence the author and artist of the celebrated Five Views of St Helena in 1815, Lieut. William Innes Pocock RN, was one of Britain’s leading exponents of submarine design. In an involved tale woven around these events, published in 1944 with the uninspiring title ‘Being Met Together’ the author, Vaughan Wilkins, claimed that there is nothing in the story of the St Helena venture of the submarine Mute that transcends contemporary report and surmise. Yet the best evidence suggests that, whenever the matter of escape was raised, Napoleon insisted that he would remain where he was. Just imagine the scene as our intrepid submariner actually crawled into Longwood! What is the French for Get lost? Even so, details of rescue schemes would make fascinating history.

James Johnson’s hitherto overlooked 1815 pamphlet is no less intriguing as a ‘find’ for St Helena literature. In August 1815 it must have been among the first, if not the very first, item of Napoleonic St Heleniana. Hastily printed at Portsmouth to meet an ephemeral demand, it was promoted by John Murray, whose publishing house retained an interest in ‘exile literature’ until as recently as the late Gilbert Martineau’s English trilogy on the theme. The pamphlet is not listed among Johnson’s works - mainly popular medical texts - and there is no copy in the Bodleian Library, though Rhodes House at Oxford now has a photocopy. Though they will rarely admit, it researchers usually have to thank antiquarian book-, map- and print sellers for their discoveries - in this case it was spotted by John Lawson of Didcot, doyen of St Helena literary sleuths. So browse through your local bookshop; there must be a lot more St Helena material waiting to be brought to light.



{a} Chris and Sheila Hillman{b} Bertrand Russell


{1} Restored in 2002.{2} The four ‘Wirebird’ publications should not be confused.{3} @@RepDis@@