Longwood, Saint Helena

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Longwood
Longwood House in Longwood
Longwood House in Longwood
Map of Saint Helena's districts
Map of Saint Helena's districts
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
British overseas territory Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
IslandSaint Helena
StatusDistrict
Area
 • Total12.9 sq mi (33.4 km2)
Population
 (2011)
 • Total802 (district)
 • Density55/sq mi (21.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC+0 (GMT)

Longwood is a settlement and a district of the British island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, Africa.

Description[edit]

In 2016, Longwood had a population of 790, compared with a population of 960 in 1998.[1] The area of the district is 33.4 km2.[2] The district is second only in size to Blue Hill, and includes the settlement of Hutt's Gate, with its St Matthew's church. The district also contains the island's only golf course.

Map showing Longwood's location

The district contains Prosperous Bay Plain, which is where Saint Helena Airport and the Millennium Forest is located.

There is a weather recording station in the Longwood district. Readings of temperature, air pressure and visibility are automatically taken and communicated every 3 hours.[3]

History[edit]

Observatories[edit]

site of Halley's Observatory in 2020

On leaving the University of Oxford, in 1676, Edmond Halley visited Saint Helena and set up an observatory with a 24-foot-long (7.3 m) aerial telescope with the intention of studying stars from the Southern Hemisphere.[4] The site of this telescope is near St Matthew's church in the district. The 2,230-foot-high (680 m) hill there is named for him and is called Halley's Mount.

Halley's Observatory was in use from 1677–1678. Having returned to England in 1678, Halley published Catalogus Stellarum Australium in 1679, which included details of 341 southern stars. These additions to present-day star maps earned him comparison to Tycho Brahe. Halley was subsequently awarded his Master's from Oxford and Fellowship of the Royal Society.

In 1686, Halley published the second part of the results from his Helenian expedition, being a paper and chart on trade winds and monsoons. In this, he identified solar heating as the cause of atmospheric motions. He also established the relationship between barometric pressure and height above sea level. His charts were an important contribution to the emerging field of information visualisation.

Future Astronomer Nevil Maskelyne visited Saint Helena in 1761 to observe a transit of Venus and built an observatory near the site of Halley's from the previous century.[5] In the 19th/early 20th centuries, an observatory (in use 1840–1849) was situated in Longwood village and two further observatories were erected in the Hutt's Gate area: one in use from 1892–1924 and the second in use from 1925–1975.

Napoleon[edit]

Napoleon's Grave
Napoleon's Grave (1838)

It was the location of Napoleon's second exile from 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. France owns Briars Pavilion, Napoleon's initial exile residence, Longwood House and its properties, where he lived during most of his time on the island, and his original grave, but the United Kingdom retains ultimate sovereignty over these properties. Napoleon's main physician, Barry O'Meara, wrote letters describing the issues of Napoleon and his entourage while in captivity, and sent them clandestinely to a friend at the Admiralty in London.[6]

Geography and climate[edit]

As opposed to the hot and arid Jamestown being near sea level, Longwood is located about 500 metres above sea level.[7] Being one of the island's highest settlements, Longwood experiences a cooler variation of the warm-summer mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csb), bordering on a subtropical highland climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb) due to its persistent mild temperatures and consistent precipitation levels. Due to its elevated geography, the town has abundant vegetation.

Climate data for Longwood, Saint Helena
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.2
(90.0)
28.9
(84.0)
30.6
(87.1)
32.2
(90.0)
29.4
(84.9)
28.3
(82.9)
26.7
(80.1)
26.7
(80.1)
26.7
(80.1)
25.0
(77.0)
27.2
(81.0)
28.3
(82.9)
32.2
(90.0)
Average high °C (°F) 21.4
(70.5)
22.3
(72.1)
22.4
(72.3)
21.7
(71.1)
20.6
(69.1)
19.0
(66.2)
17.9
(64.2)
17.4
(63.3)
17.6
(63.7)
17.7
(63.9)
18.5
(65.3)
19.8
(67.6)
19.7
(67.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.9
(66.0)
19.9
(67.8)
20.0
(68.0)
19.3
(66.7)
18.1
(64.6)
16.6
(61.9)
15.6
(60.1)
15.1
(59.2)
15.2
(59.4)
15.4
(59.7)
16.4
(61.5)
17.4
(63.3)
17.3
(63.1)
Average low °C (°F) 16.3
(61.3)
17.3
(63.1)
17.5
(63.5)
17.0
(62.6)
15.9
(60.6)
14.5
(58.1)
13.4
(56.1)
13.0
(55.4)
13.1
(55.6)
13.2
(55.8)
13.9
(57.0)
15.0
(59.0)
15.0
(59.0)
Record low °C (°F) 15.0
(59.0)
15.6
(60.1)
15.6
(60.1)
16.1
(61.0)
13.9
(57.0)
12.2
(54.0)
11.7
(53.1)
11.1
(52.0)
11.7
(53.1)
11.1
(52.0)
12.2
(54.0)
13.9
(57.0)
11.1
(52.0)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 48
(1.9)
62
(2.4)
83
(3.3)
59
(2.3)
56
(2.2)
75
(3.0)
75
(3.0)
63
(2.5)
47
(1.9)
33
(1.3)
25
(1.0)
31
(1.2)
657
(25.9)
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 9 8 9 14 5 12 13 9 9 7 4 6 105
Average relative humidity (%) 85 86 85 84 82 82 83 83 84 84 84 84 84
Mean monthly sunshine hours 151.9 178.0 176.7 150.0 161.2 123.0 108.5 93.0 57.0 68.2 72.0 120.9 1,460.4
Mean daily sunshine hours 4.9 6.3 5.7 5.0 5.2 4.1 3.5 3.0 1.9 2.2 2.4 3.9 4.0
Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst[8]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Census 2016 – summary report" (PDF). St Helena Government. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Statistics of the territories of the United Kingdom". GeoHive. Archived from the original on 2013-10-07. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  3. ^ MeteoGroup St. Helena WMO
  4. ^ Gazetteer – p. 7. MONUMENTS IN FRANCE – page 338 Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "History and Heritage - St Helena". Saint Helena Island - Secret of the South Atlantic. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  6. ^ Inside Longwood Archived 2016-02-07 at the Wayback Machine Barry O'Meara's clandestine letters
  7. ^ "Longwood, St. Helena & Ascension Island Page". FallingRain.
  8. ^ "Klimatafel von St. Helena, Insel / Südatlantik / Großbritannien" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 6 November 2018.

Coordinates: 15°56′S 5°40′W / 15.933°S 5.667°W / -15.933; -5.667