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Saint Helena
(overseas territory of the UK)

 
Flag of Saint Helena
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Coordinates:
15.95 S  05.70 W

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Saint Helena Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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 and 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, and 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 the site for a meteorological station on Gough Island.
   Geography    Saint Helena Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
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 2300 nm southwest of Saint Helena
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Africa
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 413 sq km
land: Saint Helena Island 122 sq km; Ascension Island 90 sq km; Tristan da Cunha island group 201 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
Saint Helena: 60 km
Ascension Island: NA
Tristan da Cunha: 40 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Queen Mary's Peak on Tristan da Cunha 2,062 m; Green Mountain on Ascension Island 859 m; Mount Actaeon on Saint Helena Island 818 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
fish, lobster
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 12.9%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 87.1% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
active volcanism on Tristan da Cunha, last eruption in 1961
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7,502
note: only Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha islands are inhabited (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 18.8% (male 717/female 692)
15-64 years: 71.2% (male 2,751/female 2,593)
65 years and over: 10% (male 342/female 407) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 36 years
male: 36.2 years
female: 35.8 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.56% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.13 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.53 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 18.34 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.96 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 77.93 years
male: 75.02 years
female: 80.98 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.55 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Saint Helenian(s)
adjective: Saint Helenian
note: referred to locally as "Saints"
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
African descent 50%, white 25%, Chinese 25%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Anglican (majority), Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
English
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 20 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 97%
female: 98% (1987 est.)
   Government    Saint Helena Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Saint Helena
Dependency status:
Definition Field Listing
overseas territory of the UK
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Jamestown
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
1 administrative area and 2 dependencies*; Ascension*, Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha*
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
1 January 1989
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
British common law and statutes, supplemented by local statutes
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
NA years of age
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Governor and Commander in Chief Michael CLANCY (since 15 October 2004)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, three ex-officio officers, and five elected members of the Legislative Council
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor is appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Legislative Council (16 seats, including the speaker, 3 ex officio and 12 elected members; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 31 August 2005 (next to be held NA 2009)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 12
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Magistrate's Court; Supreme Court; Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
none
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
none
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ICFTU, UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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 shield features a rocky coastline and three-masted sailing ship
   Economy    Saint Helena Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
The economy depends largely on financial assistance from the UK, which amounted to about $5 million in 1997 or almost one-half 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):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$18 million (1998 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
NA
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA%
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2,500 (1998 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,500
note: 1,200 work offshore (1998 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 6%
industry: 48%
services: 46% (1987 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14% (1998 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.2% (1997 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $11.2 million
expenditures: $11 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (FY92/93)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
coffee, corn, potatoes, vegetables; timber; fish, lobster (on Tristan da Cunha)
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
construction, crafts (furniture, lacework, fancy woodwork), fishing, philatelic sales
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA%
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.65 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$19 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
fish (frozen, canned, and salt-dried skipjack, tuna), coffee, handicrafts
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Japan 46%, Tanzania 22.6%, US 10%, UK 4.8% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$45 million c.i.f. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
food, beverages, tobacco, fuel oils, animal feed, building materials, motor vehicles and parts, machinery and parts
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UK 50.9%, South Africa 14.1%, Spain 9.7%, Tanzania 8.4%, Australia 5.4%, US 4.3% (2005)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$NA
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$12.6 million (1995); note - $5.3 million from UK (1997)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Saint Helenian pound (SHP)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Saint Helenian pounds per US dollar - 0.55 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003), 0.6672 (2002), 0.6947 (2001)
note: the Saint Helenian pound is on par with the British pound
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Saint Helena Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,200 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: can communicate worldwide
domestic: automatic digital network
international: country code - 290; international direct dialing; satellite voice and data communications; satellite earth stations - 5 (Ascension Island - 4, Saint Helena - 1)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
Saint Helena: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0
Ascension: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (2005)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
0
note: three television channels are received in Saint Helena via satellite and distributed by UHF (2005)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.sh
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,000 note - includes Ascension Island (2003)
Communications - note:
Definition Field Listing
South Africa maintains a meteorological station on Gough Island
   Transportation    Saint Helena Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1
note: Wideawake Field on Ascension Island (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 198 km (Saint Helena 138 km, Ascension 40 km, Tristan da Cunha 20 km)
paved: 168 km (Saint Helena 118km, 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:
Definition Field Listing
Saint Helena: Jamestown
Ascension Island: Georgetown
Tristan da Cunha: Calshot Harbor
Transportation - note:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
defense is the responsibility of the UK
   Transnational Issues    Saint Helena Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
none

This page was last updated on 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook