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Africa, Saint Helena

Saint Helena, island, British dependency of Saint Helena (which also includes Ascension and the Tristan da Cunha group), in the South Atlantic Ocean, 1,900 km (1,200 mi) west of Africa. Saint Helena is of volcanic origin, and its surface is rugged and mountainous, reaching an altitude of 820 m (2,700 ft) in the High Hills in the southwest. The climate is moderate and healthful, and the mean annual temperature is somewhat over 21 C (over 70 F). Potatoes and flax are the chief products. The dependency is administered by a governor. The capital and chief port is Jamestown (population, 1990 estimate, 1,000).

Saint Helena was discovered in 1502 by a Portuguese navigator, Joao de Nova; it was then uninhabited. In 1659 the English East India Company founded the first permanent settlement. The island was the place of exile of Napoleon (1815-21), who died there in 1821, in the farmhouse of Longwood, near Jamestown. Area, 122 sq km (47 sq mi); population (1988) 5,564.

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