St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha* are volcanic islands in the mid-South Atlantic. Due to their isolation all the Islands have distinctive flora and fauna and are important conservation sites.
* "Tristan da Cunha" means the Island of Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island, Nightingale Island and Inaccessible Island.
St Helena was discovered by the Portuguese sailor Joan da Nova in 1502 on St Helena's Day. The Island was colonised by the British East India Company in 1658. Napoleon Bonapart was famously exiled to the Island.
St Helena became a Crown Colony in 1834. Today the main industries of St Helena include agriculture, fishing and tourism.
St Helena Airport
Credit St Helena Government Access Office
Find out more about the St Helena AIP.
Ascension Island was also discovered by the Portuguese in the early 16th century. It remained uninhabited until the British established a garrison there in 1815. Ascension Island is an important breeding site for the green turtle and many rare sea birds.
Today Ascension Island remains in use by the military, its airfield is maintained by the RAF and is an important stopping place enroute to the Falkland Islands.
Island of Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island, Nightingale Island and Inaccessible Island
Tristan da Cunha claims to be the most remote inhabited island in the world. Discovered in 1508 by another Portuguese explorer, Tristao da Cunha, the Island remained uninhabited until Napoleon Bonapart was exiled to St Helena and the British garrisoned Tristan da Cunha in 1816 to prevent it being used to stage an escape.
Today the population of Tristan da Cunha are mostly self-sufficient, making a living from crayfish and octopus fishing. There is no airfield on the Island and the Islanders depend on passing shipping for contact with the outside world. The volcano on Tristan da Cunha is active and last erupted in 1961.