Virtual Tours: Ascension Island
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Features of Natural Interest
Features of Other Interest, including Cultural
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Features of Other Interest, including Cultural

Ascension was not settled until Napoleon Bonaparte was imprisoned on St Helena in 1815. The British established a naval garrison, claiming the island in the name of King George III. This was to prevent French rebels from attempting to use it as a staging post for rescuing their Emperor. By the time Napoleon died on St Helena in 1821, Ascension had become a station for food and provisions for ships involved in suppressing the slave trade around the coast of West Africa. For administrative reasons, when the British set up a garrison on Ascension, the Royal Navy declared the island as being a ship entitled HMS Ascension. The island was therefore classified as a “Stone Sloop of War of the smaller class”. Due to this designation, any children born on Ascension between 1815 and 1922 were regarded as having been born at sea.

Fort Thornton, used for defending Ascension Island against French rebels, who may have attempted to use the island as a staging post for rescuing Napoleon. 

© Ascension Island Government
(Features of Other Interest, including Cultural, 2 of 10 - Slide ref. 621)