What Happened in March ? …

1671   The new governor [Richard Coney] arrives accompanied by Richard Noakes the new chaplain.  Noakes was one chaplain among several during this period in history who causes social unrest – mainly by drinking too much.

1681  Sixty-six free planters, who were ordered by the East India Company to help with island defence works, claimed payment for the work done.  The governor stated their claims were unreasonable but eventually paid 30% of the amount they claimed.

1682  A seaman, left in St Helena to recover from sickness was found to be skilled in mathematics, navigation and other sciences.  Because of this he was allowed the privileges of a free planter. Later, because he had been uncivil to the governor he was deported.

1690  Jack – a son of Black Oliver, was charged with an offence even though there was no evidence against him.  The jury at the trial found him not guilty but he was still flogged anyway before being discharged.  In March 1690 there are several reports of quarrels and discontent among the island’s population.

1710  The Great Wood [which used to extend from Deadwood Plain to Prosperous Bay Plain] is reported as not having one tree left.  A was passed to encourage tree planting.  It was feared the island would be utterly ruined in 20 years if the tree planting law was not successful.

1717  In February of this year the heavy surf smashed a boat with cargo to pieces.  In March, after five days of heavy surf, the crane was broken and the newly built wharf was entirely ruined.

1723  The weather is reported as not being ‘kind’ for the last four years.  Wood is reported as very scarce and the islanders still need encouragement to plant trees.

1725  A good rainy season is reported at last.  Gumwood plants have sprung from seed in several parts of the island.

1781  The fortifications at Sandy Bay are extensively damaged by a large torrent of water following heavy rain.  In 1787 Rupert’s suffered a similar fate.

1794  It is eighty-four years since it was thought the island would be utterly ruined within 20 years if tree planting was not successful.  The Court of Directors of the East India Company is still urging the Governor and Council in St Helena to encourage tree planting as it is ‘of the utmost importance to the island’.  Even in those days is was known the tree leaves attract moisture from the air which then drips down to the ground.  The Directors encouraged tree planting to limit the effects of drought.  In 1795 the report of the Gardener at the Longwood Estate still describes ‘total neglect’ of de-forested areas and foresees the condemnation of his generation, because of this neglect, by the many generations to follow.

1802  A census counts 893 military personnel, 122 families and civil servants, 241 planters, 227 freed slaves and 1,029 slaves.  A total population of 2,511.

1807  An epidemic of measles has affected every family on the island.  A fleet of ships arriving from the Cape brought the desease to the island.

1840  A Vice Admiralty Court is established in St Helena to give judgement in cases were ship’s crews are charged with slave trading.

1849  Church lands are conveyed to the Bishop in Cape Town.

1853  Saul Solomon is buried.

1872  The Hussey Charity takes responsibility for running the Parish School of St Matthews.

1878  Women’s Society is formed [St Helena Church Provident Society for Women].

1884  Hudson Janisch dies on the 19th.

1897  A flushing Dam is constructed at the head of Jamestown.

1909  Road Tax introduced at 3 shillings per year [15p].

1914  Work starts on reconstructing the wharf – again.  In 1915 the wharf is enlarged.

1918  The St Helena Volunteer Sharpshooters become St Helena Rifles.

1930  Four bee hives are imported.

1955  Longwood Old House Museum is reopened to the public.

1962  A branch of the RSPCA is set up in St Helena.

1965  SHG grants Frank Robb & Associates [FRASHI] a license to set up a fishing industry.

1966  A severe influenza epidemic causes several deaths.

1969  SHG takes a 32% share in Solomons & Co and reserves the right to take a further 30% stake.

1975  An expert arrives to advise on the cause and prevention of rock falls in Chapel Valley.

1980  Decision taken to demolish the unsafe spire of St James’s church.

1981  An expert arrives to microfilm the archived civil records.  In 1989 the parish registers are microfilmed.

1986  A new power station is opened in Rupert’s Valley.

1988 The ‘Friends of  St Helena’ is formed in Cheltenham UK.

1995  Television is introduced to the island at a charge of £5 per month for a 24-hour news station.

1996  Diana’s Peak, Cuckold Point and Mount Actaeon designated a National Park.