Tristan da Cunha Edinburgh of the Seven Seas
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is Tristan's only settlement, home to less than 300 islanders and visitors.

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

Tristan Settlement

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.'

Fort Malcolm

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.

1957 View

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.