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British Crown Rule, the Napoleonic Period, 1815-1821

Please Note:  The Society plan to provide a comprehensive history of St Helena on this website.   Meanwhile, below is the Wikipedia entry on the history of St Helena.


British rule 1815-1821, and Napoleon's exile 
In 1815 the British government selected Saint Helena as the place of detention of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was brought to the island in October 1815 and lodged at Longwood, where he died on 5 May 1821.

During this period the island was strongly garrisoned by regular British regimental troops and by the local St Helena Regiment, with Royal Navy ships circling the island. Agreement was reached that St Helena would be placed in the hands of a general officer of His Majesty's service during Napoleon's confinement. The British government would meet all expenses relating to the prisoner and would be responsible for both his and the island's security. Sir Hudson Lowe (1816–1821), was duly appointed reporting to Lord Bathurst, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies through the EIC's Secret Committee in London.[23] Brisk business was enjoyed catering for the additional 2,000 troops and personnel on the island over the six-year period, although restrictions placed against ships landing during this period posed a challenge for local traders to import the necessary goods.

The 1817 census recorded 821 white inhabitants, a garrison of 820 men, 618 Chinese indentured labourers, 500 free blacks and 1,540 slaves. In 1818, whilst admitting that nowhere in the world did slavery exist in a milder form than on St Helena, Lowe initiated the first step in emancipating the slaves by persuading slave owners to give all slave children born after Christmas of that year their freedom once they had reached their late teens. Solomon Dickson & Taylor issued £147-worth of copper halfpenny tokens sometime before 1821 to enhance local trade.