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Saint Helena

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Saint Helena is part of the Prison Island Swims (or the Triple Break or Triple Crown of Prison Island Swims that were nominated for the 2016 WOWSA Awards, a recognition of outstanding men, women, performances and offerings around the globe sponsored by the World Open Water Swimming Association in the category of World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

Saint Helena is a UK Colony and tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean), 4000 km east of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres (10 by 5 miles) and was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople.

The island was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. One of the most remote islands in the world, it was for centuries an important stopover for ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa. Napoleon was imprisoned there in exile by the British, as were Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (for leading a Zulu army against British rule) and more than 5,000 Boers taken prisoner during the Second Boer War.

Environmentalism[edit]

Between 1791 and 1833, Saint Helena became the site of a series of experiments in conservation, reforestation, and attempts to boost rainfall artificially.

Napoleon at Saint Helena[edit]

In 1815, the British government selected Saint Helena as the place of detention of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was taken to the island in October 1815, staying at the Briars pavilion on the grounds of the Balcombe family's home until his permanent home, Longwood House, was completed; he died there on 5 May 1821. During this period, Saint Helena remained in the East India Company’s possession, but the British government met additional costs arising from guarding Napoleon. The island was strongly garrisoned with British troops and naval ships circled the island.

The 1817 census recorded 821 white inhabitants, a garrison of 820 men on the East India Company's payroll, 1,475 men from the King's troops (infantry, engineers etc.) and 352 people as their families, 618 Chinese indentured labourers, 24 Lascars, 500 free blacks and 1,540 slaves; in total, 6,150 people on the island. In addition, the British government had sent a naval squadron under the command of a rear-admiral and consisting of a couple of men o'war and several smaller vessels. These were not counted in the Census, as most of them lived on their ships. Concerning the slaves, Governor Hudson Lowe initiated their emancipation in 1818: from Christmas of that year, every newborn child was considered a free person (though his parents remained slaves until their death).

Open Water Swimming[edit]

Saint Helena is site of one of the Triple Break swims (Triple Crown of Prison Island Swims), where swimmers challenge themselves to escape by swimming at least 3 of the world's most well-known prison island swims including Le Château d’If, Fort Boyard, Devil's Island, Île de Gorée, Robben Island, Alcatraz Island, Spike Island, Rottnest Island, and Sainte-Marguerite.

Triple Break Sites (listed by region and country)[edit]

Africa[edit]

  • Mogador Island (Morocco): 2.2 km to mainland, was used as a prison in the late 1800s
  • Île de Gorée (Senegal) 5.2 km to mainland, was known as the location of the House of Slaves
  • Robben Island (South Africa): 7.4 km to mainland, was the former isolated prison home of Nelson Mandella and other South Africans
  • Changuu (Tanzania): 34 km to mainland and 4.5 km to Zanzibar, was used in the 1860s as a prison for rebellious slaves
  • Saint Helena (UK Colony in South Atlantic Ocean): 1,800 km to mainland was used as a prison for Napoleon

Australia[edit]

Central America[edit]

Europe[edit]

North America[edit]

  • Alcatraz Island (U.S.A.): 2.3 km to mainland, was the former isolated prison home of Al Capone and other celebrated American criminals
  • Santa Cruz (U.S.A.): 33 km to mainland, was use to house prisoner after Mexico's independence from France
  • Fort Warren (U.S.A.): 11 km to mainland, was used as a prison in the American Civil War 1862
  • Fort Jefferson (U.S.A.): 110 km to Key West Florida, was used as a prison for USA Civil War deserters and plotters to kill Abraham Lincoln
  • McNeil Island (U.S.A.): 4.5 km to mainland, was used as a prison in the 1880s up to 1,200 inmates
  • Johnson Island (U.S.A.): 5 km to mainland, was used as a prison from 1861 with up 2,500 Conference prisoners
  • Peddocks Island (U.S.A.): 0.4 km to mainland, was used as a prison during World War II for Italian prisoners

External links[edit]