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Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

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 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 a site for a meteorological station on Gough Island.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

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)

Map references:
Africa

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

Natural resources:
fish, lobster

Elevation extremes:
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

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

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

Area:
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

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 2300 nm southwest of Saint Helena

Coastline:
Saint Helena: 60 km
Ascension Island: NA
Tristan da Cunha: 40 km

Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
NA

Environment - current issues:
NA

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
active volcanism on Tristan da Cunha, last eruption in 1961

Land use:
arable land: 12.9%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 87.1% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.56 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

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

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.27 years
male: 75.36 years
female: 81.33 years (2008 est.)

Literacy:
definition: age 20 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 97%
female: 98% (1987 est.)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
African descent 50%, white 25%, Chinese 25%

Median age:
total: 37.1 years
male: 37.2 years
female: 37 years (2008 est.)

Population:
7,601
note: only Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha islands are inhabited (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
NA

Population growth rate:
0.487% (2008 est.)

Languages:
English

Death rate:
6.58 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.31 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.47 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.98 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.5% (male 716/female 690)
15-64 years: 70.7% (male 2,754/female 2,618)
65 years and over: 10.8% (male 381/female 442) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
11.45 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

Nationality:
noun: Saint Helenian(s)
adjective: Saint Helenian
note: referred to locally as "Saints"

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)

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

Suffrage:
NA years of age

Government type:
NA

Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: private sector; unions

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)

Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK

International organization participation:
UPU, WFTU

Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council (16 seats, including the speaker, three 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 in 2009)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 12

Legal system:
English common law and statutes, supplemented by local statutes

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 shield features a rocky coastline and three-masted sailing ship

Independence:
none (overseas territory of the UK)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Saint Helena

Political parties and leaders:
none

Capital:
name: Jamestown
geographic coordinates: 15 56 S, 5 44 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Constitution:
1 January 1989

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Governor and Commander in Chief Andrew GURR (since 11 November 2007)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, three ex-officio officers, and five elected members of the Legislative Council
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor is appointed by the monarch

Administrative divisions:
1 administrative area and 2 dependencies*; Ascension*, Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha*

Judicial branch:
Magistrate's Court; Supreme Court; Court of Appeal

  Economy Back To Top

Electricity - consumption:
7.44 million kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$NA

Unemployment rate:
14% (1998 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,500 (1998 est.)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$18 million (1998 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$NA

Exchange rates:
Saint Helenian pounds (SHP) per US dollar - 0.4993 (2007), 0.5434 (2006), 0.5493 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003)
note: the Saint Helenian pound is on par with the British pound

GDP - real growth rate:
NA%

Labor force:
2,486
note: 1,200 work offshore (1998 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.2% (1997 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Oil - imports:
85.42 bbl/day (2005)

Exports:
$19 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Saint Helenian pound (SHP)

Economy - overview:
The economy depends largely on financial assistance from the UK, which amounted to about $27 million in FY06/07 or almost 70% 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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
food, beverages, tobacco, fuel oils, animal feed, building materials, motor vehicles and parts, machinery and parts

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Electricity - production:
8 million kWh (2006 est.)

Imports:
$45 million c.i.f. (2004 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 48%
services: 46% (1987 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Oil - consumption:
60 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Currency code:
SHP

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

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

Economic aid - recipient:
$27.84 million obtained in a grant from the United Kingdom (FY06/07)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $12.33 million
expenditures: $30.28 million
note: revenue data reflect locally raised revenues only; the budget deficit is resolved by grant aid from the United Kingdom (FY06/07 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
1,000; note - includes Ascension Island (2003)

Telephones - main lines in use:
2,200 (2002)

Communications - note:
South Africa maintains a meteorological station on Gough Island

Televisions:
2,000 (1997)

Internet country code:
.sh; note - Ascension Island assigned .ac

Radio broadcast stations:
Saint Helena: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0
Ascension: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (2005)

Radios:
3,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:
0 (3 television channels are received via satellite and distributed by UHF) (2005)

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)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)

Internet hosts:
306 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Saint Helena: Jamestown
Ascension Island: Georgetown
Tristan da Cunha: Calshot Harbor

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

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 198 km (Saint Helena 138 km, Ascension 40 km, Tristan da Cunha 20 km)
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)

Airports:
1 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 47
female: 43 (2008 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
none

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