Though Portuguese navigators first recorded the island in 1502, naming it for the mother of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, it is the British East India Company that has dominated the island’s history. In the heyday of the company the island was an important replenishment stop on trade routes to the East. Everyone from James Cook to William Bligh has set anchor offshore over the centuries. And Napoleon aside, it has long been a useful prison for the British crown, the Alcatraz of the Atlantic.The Zulu king Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo was banished here in 1889, and spent nearly a decade on the island. St Helena also played host to thousands of prisoners from the SA War of 1899-1902. Today the sombre Boer graveyard near the settlement of St Paul’s marks the final resting place of many who never made it home.Walk it offWith those stories ringing in your ears, you’ll step outside the museum to wonder at the curious stairway reaching up and out of the steep Jamestown valley.The 699 steps r...

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