Tristan Da Cunha, a cluster of three volcanic islands in the S. Atlantic. Tristan, the largest island, lies in lat. 37° 3' S., lon. 12° 19' W., about 1,500 m. S. by W. of St. Helena; area, about 40 sq. m. It is nearly circular, and rises abruptly on the N. side to an elevation of 1,000 ft. From the summit of the cliffs the land rises to a conical peak 8,326 ft. high. The surface consists of abrupt ridges covered with bushes, with deep ravines and chasms between. The summit is a crater about 500 yards in diameter, filled with water. On the N. W. side of the island is a narrow plain 100 to 150 ft. above the sea, with an excellent soil in a high state of cultivation. Near the N. extremity of this plain is a settlement which in 1870 contained 60 inhabitants, 35 of whom were children under 10 years. Nearly all are native born, the descendants of Europeans and Hottentots, with fine physique and dark skin, and are intelligent and hospitable. They have no government, disputes being settled by fisticuffs, with by-standers to secure fair play. They own a small vessel, which runs to Cape Town to exchange seal skins and oil for clothing, groceries, etc. Seals, sea lions, sea elephants, and whales frequent the group, and sea birds and edible fish abound. Heavy masses of kelp surround the shores.

There are no large trees, but an abundance of shrubbery, which with sea weed and drift wood furnishes aple supplies of fuel. There is an abundance of excellent water. The climate is equable and healthy. The temperature rarely rises above 70° F. or falls below the freezing point. The only anchorage is off the N. W. point, and is very insecure. - Inacessible island lies 17½ m. S. W., and Nightingale 20 m. S. S. W. of Tristan. The former is elliptical, 4 m. in length and 2 m. in breadth, and rises abruptly about 500 ft., the surface being flat and barren. Nightingale island is round, about 1½ m. in diameter, and 200 ft. in height. Both are uninhabited. - The group was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Tristan da Cunha in 1506, and explored by the Dutch in 1643, and by the French in 1767. Tristan was inhabited by John Patten, an American whaling master, with his crew, from August, 1790, to April, 1791, to collect seal skins. During the captivity of Napoleon at St. Helena it was occupied by British troops from Cape Town. The present inhabitants are chiefly descendants of one of these, a corporal named Glass.