Edinburgh of the Seven Seas on the north coast of Tristan da Cunha, the world's most isolated settlement, has been the home for an extra-ordinary community since the early 19th Century. This photograph, taken from the ship's helicopter on the SA Agulhas' annual Southern Spring visit, shows almost the entire settlement, which houses all islanders, resident expatriate families and occasional visitors.
Highlights of the Settlement
- Churches - Explore St Mary's and St Joseph's Churches
- Cemeteries - Guide to Tristan's cemeteries and their restoration
- St Mary's School - Learn about the world's most isolated school
- Village Playground - Tristan's Village Children's Playground
- Camogli Hospital - Find out about health care on the island
- Calshot Harbour - Discover why Tristan often remains inaccessible to ships
- Supermarket - Edinburgh's Retail Therapy uncovered!
- Prince Philip Hall - Visit the social heart of the village - including The Albatross Bar
- Post Office - For Tristan stamps and Postal Services
- Handicrafts and Souvenir Shop - For a unique range of handicrafts and souenirs
- Thatched House Building - Building the Tristan Thatched House Museum
- Thatched House Opening - Traditional Thatched House Museum Opening
- Thatched House News - Traditional Thatched House Museum News
- Staying in the Thatched House - Staying overnight in the Thatched House Museum
- Electric Supply - Tristan's Electric Power Supply System
- Water Supply - Tristan's Water Supply System
- Café da Cunha - Café da Cunha in the Tourism Centre
- Tristan Golf Club - Tristan's Unique Golf Club
- Scientific Monitoring Station - Tristan's CTBTO Monitoring Station
- Aerial Tristan - Tristan da Cunha photographed from the air
- Tristan By Night - Photographs of the Tristan da Cunha Islands taken at night
The Settlement was built on gently sloping land beneath 800 metre high cliffs and overlooking the sandy landing beaches of Big and Little Beach. The Settlement was named Edinburgh of the Seven Seas after a visit from the Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria in 1867. Locally it is always referred to as 'The Settlement.'
This artists' impression above shows the 1817 Settlement (then known as Fort Malcolm) with quarters for the army garrison prior to their withdrawal in November that year. Big Beach can be seen directly behind the flagpole.
Photograph taken during the year that the current Duke of Edinburgh HRH Prince Philip made to Tristan da Cunha in 1957. Big Beach is in the bay, above which is the hidden Crawfish Canning Factory, both destroyed in the volcanic eruption of 1961.
Birds Eye View
800 metres above the Settlement, perched at the very edge of The Base, very fit visitors can peer down into the crater of the 1961 volcanic cone. The black basaltic lava destroyed Big Beach and Little Beach and the crawfish canning factory, but left the Settlement houses standing and crucially did not block or divert the fresh water spring feeding the Big Watron which provides the Settlement with water. This 1980s photograph has captured an Atlantic Yellow-Nosed Albatross soaring below. The SA Agulhas is anchored off the Settlement as cargo is brought ashore in barges.
21st Century Sign
It is almost certain that you won't arrive on Tristan da Cunha by accident today - but a sign will remind you that the Settlement of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is further from its nearest neighbour St Helena - 2173 km or 1350 miles - than any other community in the world.
Homes and families
Tristan settlement is the home to all resdent islanders, all descended from original settlers (names, dates of arrival & nationality in brackets) and with only seven family surnames surviving amongst present residents: Glass (William 1816 Scotland), Swain (Thomas 1826 England), Green (Peter 1836 Holland), Rogers (Thomas 1836 US), Hagan (Andrew 1849 US), Repetto (Andrea 1892 Italy), Lavarello (Gaetano 1892 Italy).
There is a small expatriate population including an Administrator and Doctor with their families. Priests may only stay for a few months, and other visiting professionals (eg dentist, optician) for a few weeks or occasionally months.