Discovered uninhabited by the Portuguese navigator João da Nova Castella in 1502, St. Helena was annexed by the Dutch in 1633. In 1659 it was annexed and occupied by the British East India Company, and in 1834 it became a British crown colony. The island served as a prison for Boers (Afrikaners) from 1900 to 1902 during the South African War. St. Helena is best known as the place of exile of Napoleon I, who was sent there in 1815 and who died at Longwood, near Jamestown, in 1821. His home is maintained as a memorial.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.