From France to St. Helena

St. Helena is a British Overseas territory and one of the most remote inhabited islands of the world. Of volcanic origin, the nearest landmass is the southwestern edge of African continent and its good 1900 kms away. Before it’s Air connectivity from South Africa as recent as 2017, the only way to reach was by sea , if you are ready to rough it out for 5 days one way. Still a close to 4500 people live on this small island spreading across a landmass of about 17kms in length and 10 kms in breadth. Tourists add to St. Helena’s GDP of 40 million pound sterling

St. Helena, despite being under British administration, has its own currency: the St. Helena Pound. The 5 pound banknote shown here portrays Queen Elizabeth II as is true with British territories and dependencies having their own currency. In addition, the majestic rocky volcanic mountain terrain view of the island is depicted. These silent rocks stand testimony to an important world history.

Napoleon Bonaparte, also known as Napoleon I, was Emperor of the French in the early 19th century, from 1804 till 1815. He waged several battles with United Kingdom and Coalition allies over this period and successfully expanded French empire in Europe at the cost of United Kingdom and allies. However strong opposition from coalition and resulted in setbacks battles culminating into a resounding defeat of Napoleon’s army in 1813. With loss of Paris in 1814 Napoleon ceased to be the Emperor and was exiled to Elba island. Napoleon  escape from Elba and retaking control of France, rattled the coalition. Napoleon was decisively defeated in 1815 in the famous Battle of Waterloo. This time the Allies and especially the British were to ensure a secure exile to Napoleon, with no chance of repeat of escape from Elba.

St. Helena was chosen to be the place for exiling Napoleon, a good 1900 kms from the nearest landmark, on a long 10 weeks sea journey. This time all arrangements were made to ensure he does not escape again. The former Emperor of the French was provided a very rudimentary accommodation called Logwood House. Napoleon spend final six years of his life in solitude on St. Helena island.

What a journey of life, in midst of Europe, Emperor of a powerful nation, finally confined on one of the most remote islands of the world in his final days…

Currency Note Facts

CountrySt. Helena
StatusBritish Overseas Territory
Location1900 kms southwest of Africa
CurrencySt. Helena Pound
Currency Note Displayed5 Pounds
Catalog PickP-11 (1998)
Table with facts about St. Helena currency