The remote south Atlantic island of St. Helena has largely lived apart from the world. For decades travel to the tiny (roughly 10 x 5 miles) island and British territory of 4000 has been entirely dependent upon a monthly visit from the Royal Mail Ship - a week-long voyage from Cape Town that has kept the island on the margins of the global travel market. You have to be a very determined traveller to see where Napoleon died and have a visit with a the oldest living land animal - a 184 year old giant tortoise named Jonathan. That is until last week when the first commerical airplane flight landed at the island's brand new airport. After five years of construction, hundreds of millions of pounds, and 450,000 truckloads of dirt and rock, Saint Helena Airport (airport code: HLE) is open for business, but how will St. Helena (now branded "The Secret Of The South Atlantic") adjust to the end of its isolation? Will the island's culture itself survive? [more inside]
In 1820–or so he claimed–he was offered the sum of £40,000 [equivalent to $3 million now] to rescue the emperor Napoleon from bleak exile on the island of St. Helena. This escape was to be effected in an incredible way–down a sheer cliff, using a bosun’s chair, to a pair of primitive submarines waiting off shore.
Tristan da Cunha has just been assigned its first postcode by the Royal Mail. This makes it easier for the inhabitants of these remote chunks of rock to receive mail. Easier, but still not easy - to get there, packages must first make their way to Cape Town and then travel 2,800 miles by fishing boat.
On October 17, 1815, following The 100 Days and Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte arrived on the Island of St Helena, where he would remain until his death (mysterious or otherwise) in 1821. Discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, St Helena had a long and interesting history before Napoleon arrived, but that history was overshadowed by the story of the Emperor's last years, living in captive exile at the simple yet beautiful Longwood House. Victorians had an insatiable interest for information about the remote island. Today, the picturesque Island is a a tiny bit of England in the South Atlantic, where coffee and tourism (indeed, what some might call pilgrimages) are the main sources of income.