The island group was discovered by the Portuguese in 1506 and was visited by whalers, seal hunters, and explorers. In 1816 it was annexed by Great Britain, and in 1938 it became a dependency of the colony of St. Helena. An important meteorological and radio base was set up in 1942. The volcano, long dormant, erupted in 1961; the population was evacuated and transported to England. In 1962, however, the islanders decided to leave England and return to Tristan da Cunha, which they did the following year.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.