Facts About Tristan Da Cunha, the World's Remotest Community
Tristan Da Cunha Is a six island archipelago in the remote group of volcanic islands known as the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha situated in the south Atlantic Ocean, lying 1,750 miles from the coast of south, west Africa and 2,090 miles from the coast of south, east South America.
The six islands that make up this archipelago were first sighted in 1506 by Portugese explorer Joao de Nova and named after Portugese naval admiral Tristao de Cunha. The islands were annexed to Britain in 1816, where they were ruled from the Cape Colony in South Africa.
Of the six islands that make up this archipelago only the largest Tristan Da Cunha at 98 sq km is inhabited. It has a population of 275 people from 15 original settlers of English and Dutch nationality.
Today's population consists of 80 families with just 8 surnames between them.( 2009 ).
The capital of the islands is Edinburgh Of The Seven Seas, named in honour of a visit to the islands by Queen Victoria's son Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1867.
This small settlement is home to the 2 churches of St Mary's ( Anglican) and St Joseph's ( Catholic), a village hall, a museum, a post office, one cafe ,one shop and the island's only school.
Other than these local services, the islands main income is generated from crawfishing, exported to Japan and the U.S.A, and becouse of the islands marine, sub- tropical climate, which has little variance between Summer and Winter temperatures, farming.
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.
The island is serviced by one policeman with three special constables and one doctor and five nurses, but with the nearest hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, serious injury can necessitate sending signals to passing sea vessels in order to have the patient transported to hospital.
These messages would be sent from the islands 'radio house', which also transmits a local radio station.
The island has one T.V station, an English speaking channel broadcast from the Falkland Islands.Satelite internet connection is available, with the island now having a British post code ( TDCU 1ZZ) for on-line shopping.
The island runs a very small tourist industry,using 6 self- catering chalets, called guest houses, or home stay with a local resident, for accommodation.
Tourist activities include fishing, golfing, hiking and boat trips to the other islands, two of which are wild life reserves and UNESCO world heritage sites ( Gough Island and Inaccessible Island).
The island is a breeding ground for sub-antarctic Fur Seals and southern Elephant Seals, and it's waters, feeding ground for several whale species.It has two species of bird native to the island, the Tristan Albatross and the Atlantic Petrel.
Endemic to Inaccessible Island is the worlds smallest flightless bird, the Inaccessible Island Rail.
Tristan Da Cunha landscape.
The island of Tristan Da Cunha is made up of upwelling magma, called the Tristan Hotspot.The island's highest point is a volcano called Queen Mary's Peak, ( 2062 m ) which erupted last in 1961, enforcing the evacuation of the entire population to Calshot in Hampshire, U.K.
Upon their return in 1963 the residents renamed their small harbour, Calshot Harbour in rememberance of their stay.
The approach to Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, Tristan da Cunha.
With the island's nearest community some 1,509 miles away ( the island of St Helena ) and it's nearest city ( Cape Town ) 1,743 miles away, accessing the island is somewhat problematic. Three boats make nine trips a year ( between them ) from Cape Town, so any visit to the island has to be planned well in advance.
Along with travel plans all visitors need the approval from the island's Council or Administrator and to be prepared to obtain a local police certificate in advance, to produce upon arrival.(These can be obtained by visiting their website).
All visitors must also have a fully paid return passage and health insurance that would cover them in case of evacuation to Cape Town in a medical emergency.
The main language of the island is English, although they use a Patois English in speech.
The currency is pound sterling, although they are issued with their own Tristan Da Cunha variant.
Map of Tristan Da Cunha and neighbouring islands, South Atlantic.
FIND OUT WHAT'S HAPPENING ON TRISTAN DA CUNHA TODAY ; www.tristantimes.com/
VISIT TRISTAN DA CUNHA'S OWN ISLAND WEBSITE; www.tristandacunha.org/
VISIT TRISTAN DA CUNHA'S TOURISM WEBSITE; www.tristandc.com/visits.php
Time zone - GMT.
Telephone code - +290
Post code - TDCU 1ZZ.
Int TLD - .sh
Island group dimensions -
Tristan Da Cunha. 98 sq km. Main Island.
Gough Island. 68 sq km. Wildlife reserve,unmanned weather station and UNESCO site.
Inaccessible Is. 14 sq km. Wildlife reserve.UNESCO site.
Nightingale Island. 3.4 sq km.
Middle Island. 0.1 sq km.
Stoltenhof Island. 0.1sq km.
Read about the vast ocean of the Atlantic - facts-about-the-atlantic-ocean
OTHER ISOLATED ISLANDS ARTICLES BY THE SAME AUTHOR;
All Images courtesy of Michael Clark, wikimedia commons.