Saint Helena Island is located in the south Atlantic Ocean, approx 4000 km (2500 ml) east of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and 1950 km (1210 ml) west of mainland Africa. The isle is one of the British Overseas Territories - the dependency of "Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha". Saint Helena is the UK's second-oldest dependency (overseas territory) - after Bermuda.
The island measures around16x8 km (10x5 ml) and has a total population of 4,530 inhabitants (2016 census). It was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople and was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. It became an important Atlantic Ocean supply port for ships sailing to Europe from South Africa and Asia. Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was imprisoned on the island by the British.
In the period 1791-1833, on St Helena were conducted a series of reforestation experiments attempting to boost artificial rainfalls. Until 1966, the island of Saint Helena had a monocrop economy, based on cultivation and processing of NZ flax for string and rope. The economy of Saint Helena Island is now weak, and almost totally backed by aid from the British government. The economy is dominated by the public sector, accounting for about half of the gross domestic product (GDP). There has been an increase in the cost of power, fuel and imported goods.
Tourism industry is largely based on Napoleon's imprisonment. A good golf course also exists on the island and the possibility for sportfishing is great. Three hotels operate on Saint Helena Island but the arrival of tourists is linked directly to the arrival/departure schedule of RMS St Helena.
Saint Helena Island produces and exports world's most expensive coffee (Tungi Spirit brand) that is made from the fruit of prickly pears (Opuntia ficus-indica / local name for this plant is "Tungi"). Like Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island, Saint Helena is allowed to issue its own postage stamps, an enterprise providing a significant income.
St Helena Island Airport
Between 1990 and 2017, the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) St Helena supplied the St Helena Island with all kinds of goods and was the only means of access to this remote UK territory. The ship was due to be decommissioned after the opening of the island’s GBP 285 million airport.
However, airport's inauguration (scheduled for May 21, 2016) was postponed indefinitely due to concerns about the region's weather conditions, making it unsafe for large commercial aircraft to land. British Airways commercial flights from Johannesburg (South Africa) were scheduled to start since May 21, 2016, but were suspended.
Until the airport becomes operational, the St Helena ship remains the island's only link to the outside world. Passengers spend 3 weeks to travel the itinerary, which also includes flight travel to South Africa, then 10 days at sea plus 8 days ashore (on the island).
Saint Helena Island cruise terminal
Cruise ships to St Helena Island dock (anchor) at Jamestown - port city located on the northwestern coast.
Next photo shows the RMS St Helena ship approaching Jamestown.
The following map of the island shows the names of all its locations (bays, points), as well as the names of the surrounding isles.