What Happened in February …

1622  The Roebuck captained by Richard Swan arrived on the 19th.  There were already two Dutch ships at anchor.  The Dutch Wappen with a cargo of cloves from Amboyna [The Spice Islands] caught fire on the 22nd.  Spices such as cloves and nutmeg provided the commercial reason for exploring the oceans in much the same way as oil does today. Allowing a cargo of cloves to catch fire was a costly mistake.

1679  Visiting ships crews are accused of causing a scarcity of lemons by taking more than they need.

1681  Mr Greentree and Mr Colson were suspended from Council after being observed ‘most active’ at an unlicensed open air protest meeting.

1690  Two men visiting the island were suspected of being pirates because of the large amount of gold in their possession.  They admitted being retired pirates and were sent as prisoners to England.

1699  Twenty pirates who had been pardoned by the King arrived on the island.  Four of them were allowed to stay in the hope of ‘considerable profit to the inhabitants’.

1708  Captain Mashborne found small amounts of gold among the limestone dug from Breakneck Valley after it was fired in a kiln.

1716  The high death rate in the garrison is thought to be caused by foul water which occurs during the rainy season.  It is ordered that tea be drunk instead of plain water as this worked for Dutch soldiers in Batavia [Indonesia] who suffered the same problem.

1732  The Houghton brought coffee berries from Mocha for seed.  A supply of coffee plants was expected.

1737  ‘Old Will’ died on the 1st February aged about 104.  He served under 21 governors.

1749  Admiral Boscawen, Commander-in-Chief in the East Indies, arrived on the island with eight ships.

1792  A soldier missing for two days was found at Turk’s Cap where he had fallen, unhurt, on to a ledge.

1828  A plan to cover over part of The Run meets opposition.  The danger of flooding would increase.

1836  St Helena Observatory is dismantled and sent to Canada.  The Time Office retained some clocks.

1840  Sir John Henry Lefroy has an observatory built at Longwood for magnetic observations.

1846  Thirteen ships destroyed and the sea wall and wharf damaged by three days of heavy rollers.

1847  New Colours presented to the St Helena Militia.

1850  Foundation Stone for Country Church is laid.

1860  First issue of St Helena Record.

1862  St Matthews Churched is opened for worship.

1873  A heavy flood at Trap Cot carried away a house and its nine occupants.  Seven died.

1879  Spanish, Mexican and South American silver dollars are no longer accepted on the island as legal tender.

1890  Prince Dinizulu arrives on the island and is accomodated at Francis Plain House.

1893  Meteorological Station established at Hutts Gate.

1902  General Viljoen arrives on Britannica.

1903  The St Helena Cricket League is founded by HW Solomon.

1905  Two men executed for the murder at Prosperous Bay Signal Station.

1910  A fish curing business is set up by Alfred Moseley.  It failed due to lack of fish.

1914  German super-dreadnoughts Kaiser, Koenig Albert and Strassbourg visit – 2,400 crew post 5,000 postcards.

1919  Former Crown Prosecutor and Magistrate James Homagee sentenced to 5 years gaol for embezzling £4,829. He was manager of the Savings Bank for 50 years.

1922  The wreck of the Spangeree is smashed in half and sunk by heavy surf.

1925  Doctor Arnold, the best friend St Helena ever had, dies.

1930  The City of New York is the first American cruise liner to call at St Helena.

1940  A new constitution, providing for an Advisory Council, is introduced.

1945  The St Helena Home Guard is stood down.

1953  The Solomon Trust is created by Homfrey Solomon.

1966  All subsidies on basic foods are abolished.

1971  Decimal currency introduced.

1978  Cotton is sown at Guinea Grass and Cleughs Plain

1980  Eight Sapper Way houses sold by auction for £7,200 to £9,200.


Acknowledgment is due to St Helena Heritage Society’s ‘St Helena 500’ compiled by Robin Gill & Percy Teale