Saint Helena

Consisting of only 47 square miles, the Island of Saint Helena sits about 1200 miles due West from Angola. It is one of the remotest places on Earth. 700 miles from the ‘nearest’ habitation on the island of Ascension, European colonists first  discovered Saint Helena on 21st May 1502, St. Helena's Day, by the Portuguese navigator, Juan da Nova Castella. In 1659, having realised the Island's strategic value, The English East India Company established a settlement under the command of Captain John Dutton, the first Governor.


Under his direction the building of the first small fort, later named James Fort, was considered sufficient to defend the Island from attack. Both the Fort and the natural defences were not formidable enough to prevent invasion by the Dutch but, after re-taking the Island in 1673, the East India Company continued fortifying the island. By the mid 18th century St. Helena had become a fortress.


Following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo the British selected the island as the most suitable place for his incarceration, and took ownership from the East India Company. 



British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust

The British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust (BNBT) exists to promote public education on - and preservation of - the Georgian (1714-1837) built heritage of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena with an emphasis on the sites related to Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule (1799-1815) and subsequent incarceration on the island (1815-21).

The British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust © 2020 | Registered Charity Number 1185952

c/o St Helena Government, Alliance House, 12 Caxton Street, London, SW1H 0QS

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