Kings and Queens

Posterity alone rightly judges kings. Posterity alone has the right to accord or withhold honours.

Here we set our history into the context of the monarchs reigning in England/Britain

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This page covers monarchs reigning in England/Britain from the discovery of St Helena onwards. Also included are the two Lord Protectors during the Interregnum (1649-1660). Note that Great Britain was created by the Act of Union in 1707, which merged England and Scotland into a single kingdom. Prior to 1707 St Helena was an English possession so only English monarchs are shown in that period.

For more details see (1502-1707) and (1707-today) or click the image to see the Wikipedia page for each individual monarch.

Below: King Henry VIIKing Henry VIIIKing Edward VILady Jane GreyQueen Mary IQueen Elizabeth IKing James IKing Charles INo MonarchOliver CromwellRichard CromwellNo MonarchKing Charles IIKing James IINo MonarchKing William III & Queen Mary IIKing William IIIQueen AnneKing George IKing George IIKing George IIIKing George IVKing William IVQueen VictoriaKing Edward VIIKing George VKing Edward VIIIKing George VIQueen Elizabeth II


Other Records-based pages:

• A Brief History

• A Very Brief History

• Chronology

• On This Day

• In This Week

• In This Month

• Comparative History

• Titbits from the records

• Island History

For the pre-discovery history of St Helena, see our pages Geology of St Helena, Before Discovery and Endemic Species.



St Helena Events

King Henry VII

House of Tudor

 1502: St Helena is discovered by João da Nova

 1503: Ascension Island is discovered by Portuguese navigator Afonso de Albuquerque

 1506: Tristan da Cunha is discovered by Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha

King Henry VIII

House of Tudor

 1515: A Rhinoceros visits

 1516: Fernão Lopez arrives, the first inhabitant

 1546: Fernão Lopez dies on St Helena

King Edward VI

House of Tudor


Lady Jane Grey

House of Tudor


Queen Mary I

Bloody Mary
House of Tudor


Queen Elizabeth I

House of Tudor

 1580: Francis Drake, circumnavigating the world, locates St Helena but does not land

 1584: William Barrett is the first Englishman to write about St Helena

 1588: The First Englishman visits

 1589: Dutchman Jan Huygen van Linschoten visits and starts the myth of our discovery being on 21st May

 1593: Captain Sir James Lancaster makes his first visit

King James I

House of Stuart

 1603: Sir James Lancaster visits again

 1608: Dutch officer Admiral Wittert visits and the Dutch take an interest

 1613: Dutch warship the Witte Leeuw arrives, and loses a brief but spectacular naval action with two Portuguese carracks

King Charles I

House of Stuart

 1625: British & Dutch fight the Portuguese for possession of St Helena (unsuccessfully)

 1633: The Dutch formally claim St Helena, planning to occupy & fortify it

 1644: Richard Boothby proposes to The East India Company that St Helena be colonised

No Monarch

Rule by Parliament alone

 1649: The East India Company begins using St Helena as a rallying point for its homeward-bound vessels

 1651: The Dutch abandon plans to occupy St Helena

Oliver Cromwell

Lord Protector

 1657: Oliver Cromwell grants The East India Company patents to occupy and develop St Helena

Richard Cromwell

Lord Protector

 1658: Dutchman Johan Nieuhof visits

 1658: The East India Company decides to occupy St Helena

No Monarch

Rule by Parliament alone

 1659: Governor Dutton builds the Fort of St. John

 1659: The English occupy & fortify St Helena

King Charles II

House of Stuart

 1660: The fort is renamed James Fort, the town Jamestown and the valley James Valley, in honour of the Duke of York, later King James II

 1661: King Charles II formalises The East India Company occupation with a Charter

 1667: People displaced by the Great Fire of London are brought to St Helena (possibly)

 1671: The first chaplain of The East India Company arrives

 1672: The Dutch VoC fleet invades and captures St Helena

 1673: King Charles II re-affirms England’s ownership of St Helena by Royal Charter

 1673: Dutch invaders are expelled by Richard Munden and his force

 1675: Slaves begin to be sent to St Helena

 1677: Edmond Halley visits and catalogues the stars in the Southern hemisphere and observe the Transit of Mercury

King James II

House of Stuart


No Monarch

Rule by Parliament alone


King William III & Queen Mary II

William of Orange
Queen Mary II died on 28th December 1694 and thereafter King William III ruled alone

House of Stuart

 1690: Several French Protestants arrive and start a wine industry

 1691: Captain Dampier visits

 1693: Governor Joshua Johnston is shot and killed during the ‘Jackson Mutiny

King William III

William of Orange

House of Stuart

 1698: Rats and goats reported to be out of control and destroying the island

Queen Anne

House of Stuart

 1708: Council approves Governor John Roberts’ scheme to rebuild James Fort, creating what is now The Castle

 1710: The Great Wood is reported destroyed

King George I

House of Hanover

 1715: Governor Pyke proposes that the island be abandoned and everybody moved to Mauritius

King George II

House of Hanover

 1733: Coffee plants are introduced to the island

 1742: The island’s first hospital is built

King George III

House of Hanover

 1761: Nevil Maskelyne visits to observe the Transit of Venus

 1771: Captain James Cook visits

 1774: St. James’ Church is completed, the oldest Anglican Church in the southern hemisphere

 1775: Captain James Cook visits for the 2nd time

 1776: Horatio Nelson visits (before he was famous)

 1783: The ‘Arrack Rebellion’ is caused by attempts to control drunkenness

 1790: Saul Solomon arrives on St Helena

 1791: Plantation House is built

 1792: Captain Bligh visits

 1792: It becomes illegal to import slaves

 1805: Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington visits, and nearly drowns

 1810: Chinese labourers arrive

 1810: Tristan da Cunha is settled by Jonathan Lambert, from the USA

 1815: St Helena is chosen to detain Napoleon

 1815: Britain claims Ascension Island

 1816: The UK claims and occupies Tristan da Cunha

 1816: Many descriptions and histories of St Helena begin to appear

 1817: William Thackeray visits as a child and sees Napoleon

 1818: All children born to slaves are declared to be free

King George IV

House of Hanover

 1821: Napoleon dies at Longwood House

 1827: The emancipation of slaves begins

 1829: Mynah Birds are introduced to control cattle ticks

 1829: The ‘Inclined Plane’ railway from Jamestown to the Ladder Hill Fort begins operating

King William IV

House of Hanover

 1831: The Jamestown Upper Theatre is destroyed by fire

 1834: St Helena becomes a Crown Colony ending 175 years of rule by The East India Company

 1836: The first British Governor arrives, Governor George Middlemore

 1836: Charles Darwin visits in the HMS Beagle

Queen Victoria

House of Hanover

 1837: Attempts to set up a local whaling company fail

 1838: Dr James Barry leaves St Helena

 1840: The British Navy begins intercepting South Atlantic slave ships, liberating the slaves onto St Helena

 1840: Napoleon’s body is returned to France

 1842: William Alexander Thorpe is born on St Helena

 1842: The St Helena Regiment is formed

 1846: ‘The Rollers of 1846’ destroy 13 ships

 1851: St Helena Coffee wins a prize at the Great Exhibition

 1851: St. Paul’s Cathedral is completed

 1854: Baptists arrive on St Helena

 1858: Longwood House and Napoleon’s Tomb are transferred to French ownership

 1860: HRH Prince Alfred visits

 1860: ‘White Ants’ from a slave ship are destroying Jamestown

 1863: The St Helena Regiment is disbanded

 1869: The Suez Canal opens, further reducing St Helena’s role in global shipping

 1870: The Liberated Slave Depot is closed. 25,000 have passed through St Helena, 500 choosing to stay

 1871: The ‘Inclined Plane’ railway is re-engineered to become Jacob’s Ladder

 1874: The first flax industry fails

 1874: High Knoll Fort is expanded to its present form

 1882: Jonathan the tortoise arrives, aged about 50

 1888: Streetlights are introduced in Jamestown

 1890: A large rockfall kills nine people and destroys 14 houses

 1890: Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo arrives

 1891: The ‘Rockfall Memorial Fountain’ is dedicated

 1897: Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo departs

 1898: Joshua Slocum visits while sailing around the world

 1899: The undersea cable connects St Helena to the world

 1900: The first of 6,000 Boer PoWs arrive on St Helena

King Edward VII

Houses of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

 1902: The Boer PoWs depart from St Helena

 1905: The last execution takes place on St Helena (for the Prosperous Bay Murder)

 1907: The Flax Industry re-starts

 1908: The lace-making school is opened

King George V

Houses of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; Retitled House of Windsor in 1917

 1910: Mr Mosely’s fish-processing industry starts - and closes

 1910: The Duke of Connaught visits

 1911: The SS Papanui arrives on fire, burns out and sinks in James Bay

 1914: The island’s first cinema, Thorpes Bioscope, opens in Jamestown

 1914: World War 1 begins and the island comes under Martial Law

 1917: The island borders on starvation due to disruption of shipping by World War 1

 1918: St Helena escapes the world-wide Flu epidemic

 1920: Norwegian ship Spangereid arrives on fire and burns out in James Bay.

 1921: The first Saints leave to work on Ascension Island

 1925: HRH Edward, Prince of Wales visits

 1929: The island’s first car is imported to St Helena

 1934: The first flight over St Helena is made by a seaplane from HMS Dorsetshire

King Edward VIII

House of Windsor


King George VI

House of Windsor

 1936: Lord and Lady Baden-Powell visit

 1939: World War 2 brings many troops to the island

 1941: Education becomes compulsory and the Government of St Helena takes over all schools

 1941: The RFA Darkdale is torpedoed and sinks in James Bay

 1942: SS City of Cairo is torpedoed near St Helena and most survivors arrive here

 1947: HRH King George VI visits with the Royal Family, the first visit by a reigning monarch of Great Britain

 1949: The 100 Men leave for the UK

 1951: The Flax Industry reaches its peak

Queen Elizabeth II

House of Windsor

 1956: The (current) General Hospital opens

 1957: HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visits

 1958: The first known radio broadcast is made

 1965: The Flax Industry collapses

 1966: Democracy is introduced with a part-elected Legislative Council

 1967: The island’s first radio station, Radio St Helena, starts broadcasting

 1971: St Helena adopts Decimal Currency

 1976: St Helena banknotes begin circulating

 1977: The first RMS St Helena begins service

 1980: The Ebony is re-discovered

 1982: The first RMS St Helena assists the forces in the Falkland Islands

 1983: The British Nationality Act 1981 denies Saints their right to live and work in the UK{1}

 1984: St Helena gets a new flag, motto and Coat of Arms

 1984: HRH Prince Andrew visits

 1986: The first islanders leave to work on the Falkland IslandsW

 1988: Prince Andrew School opens to pupils.

 1989: the second RMS St Helena is launched in Aberdeen by Prince Andrew

 1990: The second RMS St Helena begins service

 1995: Television is introduced

 1996: The Internet first becomes available

 1999: Saints begin celebrating the start of the new Millennium{2}

{1} Restored in 2002.{2} Events shown on this page stop at 31st December 1999.

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