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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Saint Helena
Flag of Saint Helena
Map of Saint Helena
Introduction 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. Ascension Island is the site of a US Air Force auxiliary airfield; Gough Island has a meteorological station.
Geography Saint Helena
islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, about midway between South America and Africa
Geographic coordinates:
15 56 S, 5 42 W
Map references:
total: 410 sq km
note: includes St. Helena Island, Ascension, and the island group of Tristan da Cunha, which consists of Tristan da Cunha Island, Gough Island, Inaccessible Island, and the three Nightingale Islands
water: 0 sq km
land: 410 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
60 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Saint Helena - tropical; marine; mild, tempered by trade winds; Tristan da Cunha - temperate; marine, mild, tempered by trade winds (tends to be cooler than Saint Helena)
Saint Helena - rugged, volcanic; small scattered plateaus and plains
note: the other islands of the group have a volcanic origin
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Queen Mary's Peak on Tristan da Cunha 2,060 m
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 12.9%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 87.1% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
active volcanism on Tristan da Cunha
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
harbors at least 40 species of plants unknown anywhere else in the world; Ascension is a breeding ground for sea turtles and sooty terns
People Saint Helena
7,317 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.8% (male 698; female 678)
15-64 years: 71.9% (male 2,727; female 2,531)
65 years and over: 9.3% (male 296; female 387) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.7% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
13.26 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
6.29 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
21.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.2 years
female: 80.23 years (2002 est.)
male: 74.31 years
Total fertility rate:
1.53 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Saint Helenian(s)
adjective: Saint Helenian
Ethnic groups:
African descent 50%, white 25%, Chinese 25%
Anglican (majority), Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic
definition: age 20 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 97%
female: 98% (1987 est.)
Government Saint Helena
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Saint Helena
Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
1 administrative area and 2 dependencies*; Ascension*, Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha*
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)
1 January 1989
Legal system:
NA years of age
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor is appointed by the monarch
head of government: Governor and Commander in Chief David HOLLAMBY (since NA June 1999)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, two ex officio officers, and six elected members of the Legislative Council
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council (16 seats, including the speaker, 3 ex officio and 12 elected members; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 June 2001 (next to be held NA June 2005)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 15
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Magistrate's Court; Small Debts Court; Juvenile Court
Political parties and leaders:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
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 shield features a rocky coastline and three-masted sailing ship
Economy Saint Helena
Economy - overview:
The economy depends largely on financial assistance from the UK, which amounted to about $5 million in 1997 or almost one-half of annual budgetary revenues. The local population earns income from fishing, the raising of 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.
purchasing power parity - $18 million (1998 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $2,500 (1998 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.2% (1997 est.)
Labor force:
note: 1,200 work offshore (1998 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture and fishing 6%, industry (mainly construction) 48%, services 46% (1987 est.)
Unemployment rate:
14% (1998 est.)
revenues: $11.2 million
expenditures: $11 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY92)
construction, crafts (furniture, lacework, fancy woodwork), fishing
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
5 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
4.65 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
corn, potatoes, vegetables; timber; fish, crawfish (on Tristan da Cunha)
$704,000 f.o.b. (1995)
Exports - commodities:
fish (frozen, canned, and salt-dried skipjack, tuna), coffee, handicrafts
Exports - partners:
South Africa, UK
$14.434 million c.i.f. (1995)
Imports - commodities:
food, beverages, tobacco, fuel oils, animal feed, building materials, motor vehicles and parts, machinery and parts
Imports - partners:
UK, South Africa
Debt - external:
Economic aid - recipient:
$12.6 million (1995); note - $5.3 million from UK (1997)
Saint Helenian pound (SHP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Saint Helenian pounds per US dollar - 0.6981 (January 2002), 0.6944 (2001), 0.6596 (2000), 0.6180 (1999), 0.6037 (1998), 0.6047 (1997); note - the Saint Helenian pound is at par with the British pound
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Saint Helena
Telephones - main lines in use:
2,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
0 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: can communicate worldwide
domestic: automatic network
international: HF radiotelephone from Saint Helena to Ascension which is a major coaxial submarine cable relay point between South Africa, Portugal, and UK ; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
3,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
note: television programs are received in St. Helena via satellite and distributed by cable (2002)
2,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
Communications - note:
Gough Island has a meteorological station
Transportation Saint Helena
0 km
total: 158 km (Saint Helena 118 km, Ascension 40 km, Tristan da Cunha 0 km)
paved: 138 km (Saint Helena 98km, Ascension 40 km, Tristan da Cunha 0 km)
unpaved: 20 km (Saint Helena 20 km, Ascension 0 km, Tristan da Cunha 0 km)
Ports and harbors:
Georgetown (on Ascension), Jamestown
Merchant marine:
none (2002 est.)
1 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Military Saint Helena
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues Saint Helena
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003