General issues: British colony 1856-1981, British dependency 1981-2002, British overseas territory 2002-2009, British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha 2009- Present
Country name on general issues: St Helena
Currency: 1 Pound = 20 Shilling, 1 Shilling = 12 Pence 1856-1971, 1 Pound = 100 Pence 1971-Present
Population: 3 900 in 1904, 4 200 in 2008
Political history Saint Helena
Saint Helena is located in the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean. Saint Helena was discovered by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The British annex Saint Helena in 1659 as a British colony. The administration of Saint Helena is put in the hands of the British East India Company that develops Saint Helena as a port of call on the shipping routes to British India. The importance of Saint Helena as a port of call comes to an end with the advent of the steamship, in the course of the 19th century, and the opening of the Suez canal in 1869.
Between 1815 and 1821, Saint Helena is manned by a military garrison to guard Napoleon Bonaparte who has been exiled to the island. The residence and grave of Napoleon are transferred to France in 1858 as the ‘Domaines Français de Sainte-Hélène’ and are, until today, administered by France.
The administration of Saint Helena is, in 1833, transferred from the British East India Company to the British Crown. Ascension and the Tristan da Cunha Islands – the other British possessions in the southern Atlantic Ocean – are to become dependencies of Saint Helena in 1922 and 1938 respectively. Saint Helena & Dependencies will become a British dependency in 1981 and a British overseas territory in 2002. In 2009 the status of Saint Helena is made equal to that of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, as the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha is formed.
Saint Helena currently has a population of some 4 000 living mainly from agriculture.
Postal history Saint Helena
Stamps have been issued for Saint Helena from 1856. Aside from the issues of the standard design for the British colonies most issues show local themes. Stamps of Saint Helena have, upon occasion, been used on Tristan da Cunha.