Jamestown Commonwealth Walkway

Saint Helena / Africa

Saint Helena is a British Oversea Territory. It is located west of the southwestern coast of Africa. Saint Helena is a remote volcanic island. It is famous for being the place of Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile and death. A now-empty tomb can be found on the island. Saint Helena was discovered in 1502 by João da Nova, a Spanish explorer. Portugal was the only country that knew of the existence of the island until 1588 when the English explorer Captain Thomas Cavendish found it on his travels. The island soon became the port of call for ships travelling between Europe and Indonesia.  By 1673, most of the island's inhabitants were imported slaves. Between 1826 and 1836, these slaves were freed. The inhabitants today are largely a mixture of Europeans (mainly British), east and south Asian and African descent. The only spoken language is English. Jamestown, the only town among the settlements on St. Helena, has about one-sixth of the island’s population. Capital Jamestown is the capital and port of St. Helena. Jamestown lies between the steep cliffs of James Valley. The surrounding landscape is composed of rough and steep rockfalls. Jamestown was named in honour of the Duke of York in 1660. This was to commemorate the restoration of the monarchy in England. James Valley was also known as “Chapel Valley”. It was named after the small church that was built by the island’s Portuguese discoverers. Jamestown itself has beautiful British Georgian-era colonial architecture. Also, many buildings have been built out of local volcanic rock.  
  • St Helena has only one newspaper, one radio station and one internet service, provider.
  • St Helena is said to have discovered the cross on which Jesus was crucified. 
  • St Helena is ten miles long and five miles wide.
  • Charles Darwin visited St Helena in 1836 and described it as “a curious little world within itself”.

9.3 miles / 15 kilometres

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