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Trip PlannerAfrica  /  St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha  /  St Helena Island  /  Jamestown


Water Sports · Tourist Spots · Specialty Museums
Jamestown is the capital of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, located on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is also the historic main settlement of the island and is on its north-western coast. It is the island's only port and the centre of the island's road and communications network. It was founded when colonists from the English East India Company settled on the island in 1659 and was briefly occupied by the Dutch East India Company in 1673 before being recaptured. Many of the buildings built by the East India Company in the 1700s survive and give the town its distinctive Georgian flavour.The town briefly hosted Napoleon in 1815 during his exile on St. Helena and later served as a base for the Royal Navy's efforts to suppress the slave trade. It had no role during the First World War and only played a minor role during the Second World War.HistoryJamestown was founded in 1659 by the English East India Company and named after James, Duke of York, the future King James II of England. A fort, originally named the Castle of St John, was quickly built and, with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the fort was renamed James Fort, the town Jamestown and the valley James Valley. The fort and associated gun batteries dominated James Bay and were sporadically improved over the years. In January 1673 the Dutch East India Company briefly seized control of the island until the English East India Company recaptured it in May. Since then the town has been continuously inhabited under English and then British rule.
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