Saint Helena

Saint Helena

Official Country Name: Saint Helena
Region (Map name): Africa
Population: 7,212
Language(s): English
Literacy rate: 97%

Saint Helena, a group of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean midway between South America and Africa, was uninhabited when they were discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. Its most notorious resident was Napoleon Bonaparte, who was exiled there from 1815 until his death in 1821. Today, it is known for much tamer reasons: one of its islands is the site of a United States Air Force auxiliary airfield and serves as a breeding ground for sea turtles and sooty terns, and the area harbors at least 40 species of plants unknown anywhere else in the world. The official language is English. The population is approximately 7,000, and the literacy rate is 97 percent. The chief of state is the British monarch, and the head of government is a Governor and Commander in Chief, who is appointed by the monarch. There is a 15-seat unicameral Legislative Council. The economy depends largely on financial assistance from Britain—there are few jobs in the islands—but fishing, handicrafts and cattle also play important roles.

The media in St. Helena enjoys freedom of press and speech. The country's only major newspaper is the English-language weekly the St. Helena Herald, which appears on Fridays in print and online. It replaced the government-sponsored weekly St. Helena News in June 2001.

There is one radio station, which is AM, for 3,000 radios. There are 2,000 televisions in the country, but no local television stations. There is one Internet service provider.


"Annual Survey of Freedom Related Territory Scores," Freedom House (2000). Available from http:// .

"St. Helena," Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). World Factbook (2001). Available from .

"Country Profile," ( 2002 ). Available from .

"St. Helena Herald," St. Helena News Media (2002). Availabl from .

Jenny B. Davis

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