African territories that are under tight European control

July 08, 2019 at 07:30 am | Opinions & Features

Adom Tabbey-Botchwey

Adom Tabbey-Botchwey | Contributor

July 08, 2019 at 07:30 am | Opinions & Features

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Saint Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha (Great Britain)

The volcanic islands of Saint Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha were all separately discovered by several Portuguese explorers between 1502 and 1504. Considered as one of the most remote islands in the world, Saint Helena lies 4,000 kilometres east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 kilometres west of the mouth of the Cunene River, on the border between Namibia and Angola. The islands were inhabitable, with an abundance of trees and freshwater but reportedly had no inhabitants. The Portuguese settlers imported livestock, fruit trees and vegetables and put up a few structures which made the island crucially important for homebound voyages from Asia. In 1657, the English East India Company was granted a charter to colonize the island with planters and the first governor, Captain John Dutton, arrived in 1659. The territory has various climates; Ascension has a warm and dry climate, with temperatures around 20°C all year long. St Helena is more moderate but dry around the coasts. Tristan da Cunha, which is closer to the Antarctic Circle, is much cooler and a lot wetter. As of May 2018, Britain had expressed the intention of applying to the UN to extend its territorial rights around Ascension Island on the grounds that the island’s landmass actually reaches much further underwater. This would give Britain more extensive rights over any oil or gas reserves in the areas, according to BBC.

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