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Island History

Read about the history of our island

 

The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
Muriel Rukeyser, in ‘The Speed of Darkness’ (1968)

This is a subset of our Island Detail pages which covers items of St Helena’s history.

Napoleon said It must be recognized that the real truths of history are hard to discover. Well, we’ve done our best, but if there is something about St Helena’s history that we have not covered please contact us and we’ll try to add it in.

Jamestown by Melliss 1857 Saint Helena Island Info Island History

If what you’re looking for isn’t in this index, please consult our Information Index page (the master index) or use the Page Search facility (below).

To read more about the people behind our island’s histories, and download some of the documents, see our Historians of St Helena page.

Information Index Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Information Index

Start here…

Subject Index Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Subject Index

These are the pages you are searching for

Historic Picture Gallery Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Historic Picture Gallery

Thumbnails that can be expanded to full size images

Historic Images Slide Show Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Historic Images Slide Show

Automated historic image show in random sequence

Today’s Images Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Today’s Images

Look at what we feature

Image Search Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Image Search

Find images on our site

Betsy Balcombe Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Betsy Balcombe

Napoleon’s Friend

Boer Prisoners (1900-1902) Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Boer Prisoners (1900-1902)

Home-from-home? Not really…

The Briars Pavilion Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The Briars Pavilion

Napoleon’s Other House

A Brief History Saint Helena Island Info Island History

A Brief History

How we got to here

Building St Helena Airport Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Building St Helena Airport

Built and operating

Characters of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Characters of St Helena

Eccentric? Colourful? Mad? Criminal? You decide…

Chronology Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Chronology

Search our events database

Churches of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Churches of St Helena

And other religious buildings

Cinema Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Cinema

Let’s go to a movie

Comparative History Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Comparative History

Here and there

Dark Tourism Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Dark Tourism

Visiting the darker parts of our history.

Deliberately Sunken Ships Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Deliberately Sunken Ships

Sent to the bottom

Diplomatic Wireless Station Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Diplomatic Wireless Station

Or was it spying?

Discovery of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Discovery of St Helena

It’s not that simple

Duke of Edinburgh Playground Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Duke of Edinburgh Playground

For Kids; For Everyone

The East India Company Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The East India Company

John, to it’s friends

Exiles Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Exiles

Not all our visitors wanted to be here!

Family And Friends Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Family And Friends

How to find people on St Helena

Famous Visitors Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Famous Visitors

Let’s drop a few names

Fish Processing Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Fish Processing

Exploiting our only natural resource

The Flax Industry Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The Flax Industry

Economic lifeline or ecological disaster?

Forts and Batteries Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Forts and Batteries

Defensive military installations

The Missing Fountain Mystery Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The Missing Fountain Mystery

Where did it go?

The Friendly Societies Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The Friendly Societies

Lending a hand

Geology of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Geology of St Helena

Upon this rock…

Ghost Stories of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Ghost Stories of St Helena

Don’t look round, but…

Government Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Government

For the people, by the people?

The Governor of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The Governor of St Helena

The one at the top

The Governor’s Hat Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The Governor’s Hat

If you want to get ahead…

The Great Wood Wall Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The Great Wood Wall

Too little, too late

Guns Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Guns

Old and older

The Historic Environment Record Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The Historic Environment Record

A catalogue…

High Knoll Fort Saint Helena Island Info Island History

High Knoll Fort

Important, in the past and today

Historians of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Historians of St Helena

Recording our past

Historic Buildings Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Historic Buildings

A standing reminder

Historic Buildings In Brief Jamestown Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Historic Buildings In Brief - Jamestown

A sample

Historic Buildings In Brief Country Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Historic Buildings In Brief - Country

A sample

Important People Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Important People

They made their mark

Industries Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Industries

It’s the economy, stupid

In This Week Saint Helena Island Info Island History

In This Week

This Week, in history

Invasion! Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Invasion!

The only time St Helena has been captured

Lace Making Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Lace Making

Over 100 years of history

Lost and almost-lost Buildings Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Lost and almost-lost Buildings

‘In need of some work…’

Lost Ships Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Lost Ships

Our seabed is littered with wrecks

Maldivia Gardens Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Maldivia Gardens

Fruit, flowers and much more…formerly

Maps of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Maps of St Helena

Finding your way around

Memories of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Memories of St Helena

‘Well, back in the day…’

Myths Debunked! Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Myths Debunked!

Everybody knows that…

Napoleon Bonaparte Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Napoleon Bonaparte

His imprisonment, his death, and some things you maybe don’t know about him

Napoleonic Bicentenary Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Napoleonic Bicentenary

A reason to celebrate…

Napoleon’s Tomb Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Napoleon’s Tomb

But not his final resting place

Observatories Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Observatories

Monitoring and measuring

On This Day Saint Helena Island Info Island History

On This Day

Today, in history

Other Military Sites Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Other Military Sites

…and related places

Postcards of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Postcards of St Helena

Old…and older

Quincentenary of St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Quincentenary of St Helena

‘Looking Up - Looking Forward’

Radio on St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Radio on St Helena

A surprisingly large number of stations

Radio St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Radio St Helena

The voice of the island for 45 years

Our (Other) Railway Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Our (Other) Railway

Useful; not quite as famous

The St Helena Regiment Saint Helena Island Info Island History

The St Helena Regiment

‘The Old Saints’

Roads Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Roads

Take me home…

Rollers Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Rollers

Rough Seas

Saint FM (2004-2012) Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Saint FM (2004-2012)

The original heartbeat of St Helena

Saint Helena Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Saint Helena

She gave our island her name

Saints Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Saints

Maybe it’s a state of mind?

Saved Buildings Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Saved Buildings

Almost lost; now restored

Slaves and slavery Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Slaves and slavery

Part of what makes us what we are

Exploring Space Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Exploring Space

To the stars and beyond

Origins of island surnames Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Origins of island surnames

How islanders got their family names

Theatres Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Theatres

All the world’s a stage

Time Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Time

Everything on St Helena starts 20 minutes late

Titbits from the records Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Titbits from the records

To amuse and inform

Two St Helenas? Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Two St Helenas?

Our mythical sister island

Whaling Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Whaling

‘Thar she blows!’

White Ants Saint Helena Island Info Island History

White Ants

A pest by any other name…

Zzyzx Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Zzyzx

Anything that didn’t fit in elsewhere

 

Sunset over James’ Bay Saint Helena Island Info Island History
Sunset over James’ Bay

Read More

More stories on our page Read articles about St Helena.

Article: Napoleon skewered in new British exhibition

Published on The Local (FR) 5th February 2015{1}

A colourful new exhibition about French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is opening in London on Thursday, showing how artists and cartoonists shaped the way the British perceived ‘The Little Corporal’.

‘The Corsican spider in his web’ by Thomas Rowlandson 1808 Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Published in 1808, ‘The Corsican spider in his web’ by Thomas Rowlandson is one of dozens of drawings, posters and other prints on display at London’s British Museum until August 16th.

The exhibition, ‘Bonaparte and the British: prints and propaganda in the age of Napoleon’ charts the rise of the young general, ending with the downfall of the Emperor who once had Europe at his feet.

Bonaparte, who lived from 1769 to 1821, was a charismatic enemy with a reputation as a short, angry man: an irresistible subject for caricatures, according to historian Tim Clayton, a Napoleon expert.

He had the misfortune to come along at exactly the wrong moment, Clayton said.

I don’t suppose anybody in history had been vilified and ridiculed in the way that Napoleon was vilified and ridiculed ever before.

Flattering portraits and memorabilia collected by British admirers in the 1790s gives way to mockery, as Napoleon becomes more of a threat to Britain.

‘The Corsican pest or Beelzebub going to supper’ by James Gillray 1803 Saint Helena Island Info Island History

By the time the two countries are at war in 1803, British cartoonist James Gillray portrays Napoleon being roasted over a fire by the devil in ‘The Corsican pest or Beelzebub going to supper’.

Mocking Napoleon as ‘Little Boney’ and perpetuating the idea he was small in stature helped diminish the feeling of threat.

Because you were frightened of him, you had to belittle him, make him seem not so frightening, said curator Sheila O’Connell.

So you made him a little tiny person. And that is how he’s remained in the British consciousness ever since.

- Propaganda tool -

‘Little Boney’ appears again in 1812 as Napoleon’s Russian campaign turns into a disaster.

‘General Frost shaving Little Boney’ by William Elmes 1812 Saint Helena Island Info Island History

A cartoon by William Elmes called ‘General Frost shaving Little Boney’ shows the cold as a monster crushing the French armies and trapping Napoleon’s feet in ice.

Sold for an average of between 1 and 4 shillings each, the drawings were particularly popular in shops frequented by the London elite.

Used as a propaganda tool and sometimes controlled by the government, the satires helped forge a sense of British unity and shaped the way Napoleon was perceived through generations.

They do have an influence on shaping people image of Napoleon. The idea that Napoleon is a little, angry chap sticks, Clayton said.

The fact that he was actually of average height seems to have escaped everybody’s attention.

Cartoonists are kinder when Napoleon is less of a threat, and at times some Britons displayed admiration for the emperor.

One example is a bronze bust of Napoleon, carved in the style of a Roman emperor with idealised features, and installed in 1818 in a British aristocrat’s garden.

Featured at the entrance to the exhibition, the bust has a call for the emperor to return from exile in Saint Helena engraved at its base.

Closing Humour Saint Helena Island Info Island History

Laugh at funny Island History humour LOL Saint Helena Island Info


Footnotes:

{1} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.



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