500th Anniversary of the Discovery of St Helena (series II)

On Thursday, 2 July 1998 the St Helena Post office released four stamps entitled “500th Anniversary of the Discovery of St Helena Part II”. This is the second issue in a special series leading up to the quincentenary in 2002. Each stamp design portray a significant event in the Island’s history during the seventeenth century.

  The first Governor of St Helena, John Dutton, was commis- sioned by the East India Company to settle, fortify and plant St Helena. This task is vividly depicted on twenty pence stamp.   The twentyfive pence stamp design shows the skirmish bet- ween the islanders and the Dutch, when an attempt was made to land at Lemon Valley. Being spotted by the islanders, the enemy was met with a barrage of rocks and was forced to re- treat. However, returning after dark, the Dutch were success- ful in landing and stormed the fort in Jamestown forcing the English to flee.   The Dutch success was short lived; for in May 1673 posses- sion of the island had changed hands again. Captain Richard Munden on learing the Dutch had taken possession of St Helena, made a daring plan for its recapture. Captain Munden was to bombard James Fort from the sea, whilst Captain Keigwin and his men would land at Prosperous Bay and sur- prise the enemy from the rear. However, when Capt. Keigwin arrived in James Valley the Dutch had already capitulated to Munden who had kept up a bombardment of the fort through- out the previous day.   Following the recapture of St Helena, the Committee in Lon- don, realising the importance of their South Atlantic haven and also being anxious for the safety and welfare of its colonists, set about putting into place policies for its economy and secu- rity. The conditions were extremely favourable, for on 16 Dec 1673, the King granted the English East India Company a fresh charter, which constituted them Lords proprietors of the island with all the rights of sovereignity, and free and com- mon socage ‘as of the the manor of East Greeenwich in the County of Kent. This magnificent document is currently held by the British Library in London. The beautiful frontpiece bears a portrait of King Charles II contained in the letter ‘C’ of his name.


(with a descriptive liner card) at £1.95 are available from

The Philatelic Bureau, The Post Office, Jamestown