What Is The Capital Of Saint Helena?

Looking down at Jamestown, Saint Helena.
Looking down at Jamestown, Saint Helena.

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha is a British Overseas Territory (BOT) located in the South Atlantic Ocean, which is often referred to simply as Saint Helena. The capital of Saint Helena is Jamestown, which is located along the island's northwest coast. In addition to serving as capital, Jamestown is the hub of Saint Helena's communication and road infrastructure network. The historic settlement was founded by the English East India Company in 1659, and was briefly under the control of the Dutch East India Company in 1673. Jamestown was temporarily home to Napoleon, Emperor of the French Emperor, while on exile in 1815. The Royal Navy converted the settlement to a naval base during its attempt to stop the slave trade between Africa and the Americas. The United Kingdom's Queen Victoria granted Jamestown the status of city in 1859 and officially named it the "City of James Town."


Jamestown is situated between two cliffs at the base of the James Valley. Falling rocks have historically been a problem, but the addition of netting has helped to minimize the impact. The city is long and narrow and is divided into upper and lower parts. Jamestown is the main entry point to Saint Helena since it has the island's only shipping port and airport. Much of Saint Helena's infrastructure is located in the city, including fuel storage facilities and a power station. Many of Jamestown's buildings were constructed during the Georgian period, and as a result the city is listed as one of the best examples of preserved Georgian architecture. The city also contains Saint James' Church, which was built in the 1770s and is currently the oldest Anglican Church south of the Equator.

History of Jamestown

The English East India Company established Jamestown in 1659 and named it after James, the Duke of York, who later became King of England. Since its founding, the town has been under British rule, with the exception of a few months in 1673 when it was captured by the Dutch East India Company. In 1815, Napoleon, Emperor of the French, was defeated by the British forces and subsequently exiled to Saint Helena. The Royal Navy converted the settlement to a naval base during Britain's attempt to stop the slave trade. The island’s remote location meant that it had no role in the First World War, and a minimal role during the Second World War. In October 1941, a German submarine sunk British oil tanker RFA Darkdale that was refueling ships in the South Atlantic, killing 41 of the 50 men on board.


Approximately 650 residents inhabit Jamestown, which is a decrease from 715 in 2008. Although once the largest settlement in Saint Helena, the city's population has been declining gradually, and has been surpassed by Saint Paul’s, Longwood, and Half Tree Hollow. The education system in Jamestown based on the British curriculum. The city contains one primary school for children ages 4 to 11, as well as one secondary school.


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