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Saint Helena

Introduction

Saint Helena (həlēˈnə) [key], island, 47 sq mi (122 sq km), in the S Atlantic Ocean, 1,200 mi (1,931 km) W of Africa. Together with the islands of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, it comprises the British overseas territory of St. Helena (2005 est. pop. 7,500). The capital and port is Jamestown. Mountainous and of volcanic origin, the island rises to a height of 2,685 ft (818 m) on Mt. Actaeon. About half the people are of African descent, while a quarter each are of European or Chinese background. The population is mainly Christian and English-speaking. The economy depends largely on support from Great Britain; livestock are raised and there is a fishing industry. Saint Helena is governed by the constitution of 1989. It has a unicameral 16-seat Legislative Council, whose members are elected by popular vote for four-year terms. The monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by a governor, is the head of state; the governor is the head of government. Saint Helena is divided into one administrative area and two dependencies.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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