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Saint Helena

Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha (Africa)

Introduction ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Background:

Saint Helena is a British Overseas Territory consisting of Saint
Helena and Ascension Islands, and the island group of Tristan da
Cunha.

Saint Helena: Uninhabited when first discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, Saint Helena was garrisoned by the British during the 17th century. It acquired fame as the place of Napoleon BONAPARTE's exile from 1815 until his death in 1821, but its importance as a port of call declined after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. During the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa, several thousand Boer prisoners were confined on the island between 1900 and 1903.

Ascension Island: This barren and uninhabited island was discovered and named by the Portuguese in 1503. The British garrisoned the island in 1815 to prevent a rescue of Napoleon from Saint Helena. It served as a provisioning station for the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron on anti-slavery patrol. The island remained under Admiralty control until 1922, when it became a dependency of Saint Helena. During World War II, the UK permitted the US to construct an airfield on Ascension in support of trans-Atlantic flights to Africa and anti-submarine operations in the South Atlantic. In the 1960s the island became an important space tracking station for the US. In 1982, Ascension was an essential staging area for British forces during the Falklands War. It remains a critical refueling point in the air-bridge from the UK to the South Atlantic.

Tristan da Cunha: The island group consists of the islands of Tristan da Cunha, Nightingale, Inaccessible, and Gough. Tristan da Cunha is named after its Portuguese discoverer (1506); it was garrisoned by the British in 1816 to prevent any attempt to rescue Napoleon from Saint Helena. Gough and Inaccessible Islands have been designated World Heritage Sites. South Africa leases a site for a meteorological station on Gough Island.

Geography ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Location:

islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, about midway between South America and Africa; Ascension Island lies 700 nm northwest of Saint Helena; Tristan da Cunha lies 2,300 nm southwest of Saint Helena

Geographic coordinates:

Saint Helena: 15 57 S, 5 42 W

Ascension Island: 7 57 S, 14 22 W

Tristan da Cunha island group: 37 15 S, 12 30 W

Map references:

Africa

Area:

total: 308 sq km country comparison to the world: 208 land: Saint Helena Island 122 sq km; Ascension Island 88 sq km; Tristan da Cunha island group 98 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:

0 km

Coastline:

Saint Helena: 60 km

Ascension Island: NA

Tristan da Cunha: 40 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Climate:

Saint Helena: tropical marine; mild, tempered by trade winds

Ascension Island: tropical marine; mild, semi-arid

Tristan da Cunha: temperate marine; mild, tempered by trade winds (tends to be cooler than Saint Helena)

Terrain:

the islands of this group result from volcanic activity associated with the Atlantic Mid-Ocean Ridge

Saint Helena: rugged, volcanic; small scattered plateaus and plains

Ascension: surface covered by lava flows and cinder cones of 44 dormant volcanoes; ground rises to the east

Tristan da Cunha: sheer cliffs line the coastline of the nearly circular island; the flanks of the central volcanic peak are deeply dissected; narrow coastal plain lies between The Peak and the coastal cliffs

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Queen Mary's Peak on Tristan da Cunha 2,060 m; Green Mountain on Ascension Island 859 m; Mount Actaeon on Saint Helena Island 818 m

Natural resources:

fish, lobster

Land use:

arable land: 12.9%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 87.1% (2005)

Irrigated land:
NA

Natural hazards:

active volcanism on Tristan da Cunha

volcanism: the island volcanoes of Tristan da Cunha (elev. 2,060 m, 6,758 ft) and Nightingale Island (elev. 365 m, 1,197 ft) experience volcanic activity; Tristan da Cunha erupted in 1962 and Nightingale in 2004

Environment - current issues:
NA

Geography - note:

Saint Helena harbors at least 40 species of plants unknown anywhere else in the world; Ascension is a breeding ground for sea turtles and sooty terns; Queen Mary's Peak on Tristan da Cunha is the highest island mountain in the South Atlantic and a prominent landmark on the sea lanes around southern Africa

People ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Population:

7,670 country comparison to the world: 226 note: only Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha islands are inhabited (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 18.3% (male 712/female 685)

15-64 years: 70.4% (male 2,744/female 2,629)

65 years and over: 11.4% (male 412/female 455) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 38.2 years

male: 38.2 years

female: 38.1 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.404% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 159

Birth rate:

10.95 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 178

Death rate:

6.91 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 137

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 111

Urbanization:

urban population: 39% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.049 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 16.98 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 110 male: 19.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 13.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 78.6 years country comparison to the world: 45 male: 75.68 years

female: 81.67 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.56 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 181

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

Nationality:

noun: Saint Helenian(s)

adjective: Saint Helenian

note: referred to locally as "Saints"

Ethnic groups:

African descent 50%, white 25%, Chinese 25%

Religions:

Anglican (majority), Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic

Languages:

English

Literacy:

definition: age 20 and over can read and write

total population: 97%

male: 97%

female: 98% (1987 est.)

Education expenditures:
NA

Government ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Country name:

conventional long form: Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

conventional short form: none

Dependency status:

overseas territory of the UK

Government type:
NA

Capital:

name: Jamestown

geographic coordinates: 15 56 S, 5 44 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

3 administrative areas; Ascension, Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha

Independence:

none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday:

Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)

Constitution:

The Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Constitution Order 2009, effective 1 September 2009

Legal system:

English common law and statutes supplemented by local statutes

Suffrage:
NA

Executive branch:

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)

head of government: Governor Andrew GURR (since 11 November 2007)

cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, 3 ex-officio officers, and 5 elected members of the Legislative Council (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch:

unicameral Legislative Council (17 seats, including a speaker and deputy speaker, 12 elected, and three ex officio members; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

note: the Constitution Order provides for separate Island Councils for both Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

elections: last held on 4 November 2009 (next to be held in 2013)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 12

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court; Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders:

none

Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: private sector; unions

International organization participation:
UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US:

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US:

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description:

blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Saint Helenian shield centered on the outer half of the flag; the upper third of the shield depicts a white plover (wire bird) on a yellow field; the remainder of the shield depicts a rocky coastline on the left, offshore is a three-masted sailing ship with sails furled but flying an English flag

National anthem:

note: as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)

Economy ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Economy - overview:

The economy depends largely on financial assistance from the UK, which amounted to about $27 million in FY06/07 or more than twice the level of annual budgetary revenues. The local population earns income from fishing, raising livestock, and sales of handicrafts. Because there are few jobs, 25% of the work force has left to seek employment on Ascension Island, on the Falklands, and in the UK.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$18 million (1998 est.) country comparison to the world: 225

GDP (official exchange rate):
$NA

GDP - real growth rate:
NA%

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,500 (1998 est.) country comparison to the world: 177

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Labor force:

2,486 country comparison to the world: 223 note: 1,200 work offshore (1998 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 6%

industry: 48%

services: 46% (1987 est.)

Unemployment rate:

14% (1998 est.) country comparison to the world: 142

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3.2% (1997 est.) country comparison to the world: 94

Agriculture - products:

coffee, corn, potatoes, vegetables; timber; fish, lobster; livestock

Industries:

construction, crafts (furniture, lacework, fancy woodwork), fishing, philatelic sales

Industrial production growth rate:
NA%

Electricity - production:

8 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 210

Electricity - consumption:

7.44 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 211

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 139

Oil - consumption:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 207

Oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 182

Oil - imports:

80 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 201

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 132

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 139

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 158

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 137

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 142

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 108

Exports:

$19 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 207

Exports - commodities:

fish (frozen, canned, and salt-dried skipjack, tuna), coffee, handicrafts

Imports:

$45 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 216

Imports - commodities:

food, beverages, tobacco, fuel oils, animal feed, building materials, motor vehicles and parts, machinery and parts

Debt - external:
$NA

Exchange rates:

Saint Helenian pounds (SHP) per US dollar - 0.6494 (2009), 0.5302 (2008), 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006), 0.5462 (2004)

note: the Saint Helenian pound is on par with the British pound

Communications ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Telephones - main lines in use:

2,900 (2009) country comparison to the world: 219

Telephone system:

general assessment: can communicate worldwide

domestic: automatic digital network

international: country code (Saint Helena) - 290, (Ascension Island) - 247; international direct dialing; satellite voice and data communications; satellite earth stations - 5 (Ascension Island - 4, Saint Helena - 1)

Broadcast media:

St. Helena has no local TV station; 2 local radio stations, one of which is relayed to Ascension Island; satellite TV stations rebroadcast terrestrially; Ascension Island has no local TV station, but has 1 local radio station and receives relays of broadcasts from 1 St. Helena radio station; broadcasts from the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) are available, as well as TV services for the US military; Tristan da Cunha has 1 local radio station and receives BFBS TV and radio broadcasts (2007)

Internet country code:

.sh; note - Ascension Island assigned .ac

Internet hosts:

6,873 (2010) country comparison to the world: 136

Internet users:

900 (2009) country comparison to the world: 214

Communications - note:

South Africa maintains a meteorological station on Gough Island

Transportation ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Airports:

1 (2010) country comparison to the world: 225

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 1

over 3,047 m: 1 (2010)

Roadways:

total: 198 km (Saint Helena 138 km, Ascension 40 km, Tristan da Cunha 20 km) country comparison to the world: 208 paved: 168 km (Saint Helena 118 km, Ascension 40 km, Tristan da Cunha 10 km)

unpaved: 30 km (Saint Helena 20 km, Ascension 0 km, Tristan da Cunha 10 km) (2002)

Ports and terminals:

Saint Helena: Jamestown

Ascension Island: Georgetown

Tristan da Cunha: Calshot Harbor (Edinburgh)

Transportation - note:

there is no air connection to Saint Helena or Tristan da Cunha; an international airport for Saint Helena is in development for 2010

Military ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 1,575

females age 16-49: 1,591 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 48

female: 47 (2010 est.)

Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues ::Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Disputes - international:

none

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