Saint Helena, an island. See Saint Helena.
Saint Helena, wife of the emperor Constan-tius Chlorus and mother of Constantine the Great, born in Drepanum (Helenopolis), Bi-thynia, in 247, died in Nicomedia about 327. She was probably of obscure parentage, though some historians pretend that she was a British princess. When her husband was made Caesar in 202, he put her away and espoused Theodora, stepdaughter of the emperor Maximian; but in his will he acknowledged Constantine, his son by Helena, as his sole heir. Constantine on assuming the purple (30G) brought his mother to reside in the imperial palace at Treves, loaded her with honors, gave her the title of Augusta,* and conferred her name upon several cities of the empire. She erected and endowed a number of churches, and at the age of 79 made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where, according to the earliest Byzantine historians, she discovered the true cross. (See Cross.) She died in the arms of her son, and her body was carried to Rome, where a mausoleum was raised to her.
Saint Helena, an E. parish of Louisiana, bounded W. by the Amite river and drained by the Tickfah river and Natalbany creek; area, about 450 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 5,423, of whom 2,914 were colored. The surface is gently undulating, and the soil fertile, especially along the streams. The chief productions in 1870 were 91,265 bushels of Indian corn, 38,961 of sweet potatoes, 3,875 lbs. of wool, and 3,284 bales of cotton. There were 807 horses, 1,823 milch cows, 3,999 other cattle, 1,858 sheep, and 8,977 swine. Capital, Greensburgh.
Saint Helena, an island belonging to Great Britain, in the S. Atlantic ocean, about 1,200 m. W. of Africa and 2,000 m. E. of South America; lat. 15° 57' S., lon. 5° 42' W.; area, about 47 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 6,241, including natives of mixed European and Asiatic origin, west African negroes, and whites (government officials, the garrison, merchants, and farmers). Rugged and precipitous cliffs from 600 to 2,000 ft. high encircle the island. The principal inlets are James's bay, having an excellent harbor, on which is Jamestown, Rupert's and Lemon valley on the N. W., and Sandy bay on the S. E. side, all fortified. There are narrow ravines where landing is possible, which are also protected by small forts built during Napoleon's imprisonment, but now mostly unoccupied, as the entire garrison in 1874 numbered but 191 men. The island is of volcanic origin. From a crater on the S. side lava and other volcanic matters have flowed in every direction, the other side having, it is supposed, sunk into the ocean. A lofty ridge of calcareous rocks, running nearly E. and W. with a bend to the S. at each extremity, intersects the island, and in this range are Diana's peak, 2,700 ft. high, Cuckold's point, 2,672 ft., and Halley's mount, 2,467 ft.
The Flagstaff, 2,272 ft., and Barns-cliff, 2,015 ft., are prominent cliffs on the coast. Along the S. coast are many remarkable columns or basaltic rocks, two of which, Lot and Lot's Wife, are respectively 197 and 160 ft. high, and the Chimney, a noted hexagonal column, is 64 ft. Iron, gold, and copper have been found in small quantities. The climate is temperate and salubrious, and not unhealthy to European constitutions. The range of the thermometer is from 57° to 72°, the annual average 66°. The flora is interesting, though of more than 700 species but 52 are native. When the island was discovered it was covered with trees, which are now nearly destroyed. The vegetation is almost wholly European. There are several plains, the largest, Longwood, comprising 1,500 acres; but in a total area of about 30,000 acres not more than 500 are cultivated, and less than 8,000 are devoted to grazing. The soil is good and might be made productive, but almost every article of food or clothing is imported. Rice is brought from India, and with fish, which is abundant, forms the staple food of the poorer classes.
The island never had any internal sources of income, but formerly it imported supplies for ships to and from India, and for whaling vessels; but the trade to the East is now almost entirely diverted through the Suez canal, and whaling vessels are rarely seen. It was made a crown colony in 1833, with a governor and other officers under the control of the home government. Its revenue from customs and taxes is not more than £15,000, and its total annual cost to the government is about £55,000, including a military expenditure of about £23,000. - The island was discovered on St. Helena's day, May 21, 1502, by Juan de Nova Castella, a Spanish navigator in the service of the Portuguese, from whom it was at a later period taken by the Dutch. From about 1650 to 1672 it was alternately occupied by the Dutch and the English. In 1673 Charles II. granted it to the East India company. It was Napoleon's place of exile from Oct. 16, 1815, till his death, May 5, 1821. In 1840 his remains were removed to France, which in 1858 bought the house at Longwood occupied by him, and the valley where he was buried, and appointed a perpetual guard for them. - See "St. Helena," by John Charles Melliss (London, 1875).