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Ascension Island

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1353897.  Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:08 am Reply with quote

No thread on this fascinating island so I'll start one.

Named after the day of its recorded discovery in 1501, organised settlement began in 1815 when the British garrisoned it as a precaution after imprisoning Napoleon on St. Helena and it was claimed for King George III the same year.

The Royal Navy subsequently proclaimed it a 'stone frigate' i.e. a naval establishment on land as the RN was traditionally forbidden to administer any land-based territories. It was actually given a ship's name, HMS Ascension, classed as a 'sloop of war of the smaller class'. The British did the same when they garrisoned Tristan da Cunha, naming it HMS Atlantic Isle.

The island was subsequently used as a coaling and victualling station and as a base for astronomers. Sailors who fell ill with yellow fever whilst on anti-slavery patrols could often find themselves quarantined at a place named Comfortless Cove. Some never left.

During WW2 it experienced action only once, in December 1941 when a two-gun shore battery fired on a German submarine that had plans to sink enemy ships in the vicinity. The guns scored no hits but the sub soon scarpered.

The island has never boasted an indigenous population though the last census showed there were 806 people living there, 556 from St Helena and 250 from other nationalities.

It also boasts the worst golf course in the world!


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