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Flag of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha country facts

Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Africa Jamestown 7,776 inhabitants 308 sq km 25.25 inhabitants/sq km Saint Helenian pounds (SHP) overseas territory of the United Kingdom population evolution



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 transatlantic 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.



islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, about midway between South America and Africa; Ascension Island lies 1,300 km (800 mi) northwest of Saint Helena; Tristan da Cunha lies 4,300 km (2,700 mi) 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

Area (sq km)

total: 308 sq km
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 (sq km)

slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries (km)

0 km

Coastline (km)

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

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


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)


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 (m)

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: 10.26%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 89.74% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)


Natural hazards

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

Environment - current issues


Geography - note

Saint Helena harbors at least 40 species of plants unknown elsewhere 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 and Society


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

Ethnic groups (%)

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

Languages (%)


Religions (%)

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


note: only Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha islands are inhabited, not any of the other nearby islands/islets (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 16.9% (male 669/female 643)
15-24 years: 11.9% (male 471/female 455)
25-54 years: 45.1% (male 1,737/female 1,773)
55-64 years: 12.4% (male 508/female 455)
65 years and over: 13.2% (male 543/female 522) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Median age (years)

total: 40.5 years
male: 40.5 years
female: 40.4 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

0.27% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

10.03 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

7.33 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 39.5% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: -0.87% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

JAMESTOWN (capital) 1,000 (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 14.71 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.35 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 79.21 years
male: 76.27 years
female: 82.29 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

1.58 children born/woman (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Literacy (%)

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


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



name: Jamestown
geographic coordinates: 15 56 S, 5 43 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


none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

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


several previous; latest effective 1 September 2009 (The St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Constitution Order 2009) (2013)

Legal system

English common law and local statutes


18 years of age

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Governor Mark CAPES (since 29 October 2011)
note: the constitution order provides for an administrator for Ascension and Tristan da Cunha appointed by the governor
Administrator Ascension Island: Colin WELLS (since 27 October 2011)
Administrator Tristan da Cunha: Alex MITHAM (since 23 September 2013)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, 3 ex-officio officers, and 5 elected members of the Legislative Council
elections: none; 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 November 2013)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 12

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 2 justices); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice - a non-resident - and NA judges)
note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: court judges' appointments and tenures NA
subordinate courts: Magistrate's Court; Small Claims Court; Juvenile Court

Political parties and leaders


Political pressure groups and leaders

other: private sector; unions

International organization participation


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 symbol(s)

Saint Helena plover (bird)

National anthem

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


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)

$31.1 million (FY09/10 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)


GDP - real growth rate (%)


GDP - per capita (PPP)

$7,800 (FY09/10 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Labor force

2,486 (1998 est.)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 6%
industry: 48%
services: 46% (1987 est.)

Unemployment rate (%)

14% (1998 est.)

Population below poverty line (%)


Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $10.21 million
expenditures: $25.09 million
note: revenue data reflect locally raised revenues only; the budget deficit is resolved by grant aid from the UK (FY06/07 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

4% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


construction, crafts (furniture, lacework, fancy woodwork), fishing, collectible postage stamps

Industrial production growth rate (%)



$19 million (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

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


$20.53 million (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

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

External debt ($)


Exchange rates

Currency converter
Saint Helenian pounds (SHP) per US dollar -
0.6307 (2014)
0.6391 (2013)
0.6472 (2010)
0.6175 (2009)
0.5302 (2008)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March


Electricity - production (kWh)

8 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

7.44 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

5,000 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

100 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

63 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

9,100 Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

3,000 (2012)

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) (2010)

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 radio station on St. Helena; 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

6,729 (2012)

Internet users

900 (2009)

Communications - note

South Africa maintains a meteorological station on Gough Island



1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways (km)

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, Tristan da Cunha 10 km) (2002)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s):
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; construction on the new international airport for Saint Helena began in 2012 with an estimated completion date of late 2015 or early 2016; the new airport will have a runway of 1,550 m capable of handling B737/A319 size aircraft


Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 1,565
females age 16-49: 1,579 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 49
female: 48 (2010 est.)

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Largest cities of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

These are the 50 largest cities of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population