Tristan Da Cunha and Gough Island are small islands in the southern portion of the Atlantic Ocean. They are an overseas territory of New Britain, which took over this role from the United Kingdom.
Tristan da Cunha was annexed to the UK in 1816, mainly to prevent any Bonapartists from using it to mount a rescue mission to free Napoleon from Saint Helena. Gradually a colony took shape there. It was not until World War II that Britain organised Tristan da Cunha's government, designating it a dependency of St. Helena.
Between 1961 and 1963, the entire population was resettled in Calshot, near Southampton, England, following a volcanic eruption. When they returned home, they left behind a small Tristanian community.
Tristan da Cunha did not have any military bases, so it was not a target during World War III. Like the rest of The British overseas territories, it lost communication with London. For a while, however, it was able to maintain contact with St. Helena and the Falkland Islands. News of the Doomsday attacks was received with horror. The island's society may have looked the picture of rugged self-reliance, but all the adults could remember the evacuations of the 60s, which had shown them the extent to which they still depended on the mother country. Furthermore, everyone in the closely-related community had family members in England who had probably not survived.
The 12 South Africans manning a weather station on Gough Island were lost in a storm while sailing to Tristan da Cunha in late September.
As fuel ran out, Tristan da Cunha became even more isolated. Tristanians received word of HMS Survivor 2's landing at St. Helena in 1984, meaning that, miraculously, some Britons had survived and were moving to South Africa.
In the late 80s, the islanders created a new government. It was clear that neither Great Britain nor St. Helena was capable of governing them any longer. Without renouncing their loyalty to either the kingdom or the overseas territory, they held their first elections for a new Administrator in 1989. News of King Andrew's coronation and move to Africa reached the island around this time. The islanders remained loyal to him as the rightful King of Great Britain and Head of the Commonwealth.
In 1995 RMS St. Helena visited Tristan da Cunha, the first major relief expedition since 1983. On the ship were the 31 surviving Tristanians who had survived the trek from Calshot, to the Isle of Wight, to South Africa; and who now were able to reunite with their families. The expedition promised regular aid in return for becoming an overseas territory of New Britain. The island council quickly voted to approve this status before the ship even left. Once ratified, this change finally separated Tristan da Cunha from St. Helena. Like St. Helena and Ascension, Tristan da Cunha remained largely autonomous, even keeping the power to elect its own Administrator, who now was promoted to the title of Governor.
Since then, modernity has partially come back to the island, but in general it still relies on subsistence farming. New Britain refurbished Gough Island's weather station in 2007.
When South American forces invaded Cape Town in 2006, Tristan's position halfway between the two continents suddenly became strategic. New Britain sent a small fleet and a garrison of troops to the island to discourage any attempt to claim it for Brazil or Argentina. Like the Falklanders and South Georgians, the Tristanians were a British population who felt caught in South America's expanding sphere of influence, and the island council issued a defiant statement declaring that it would "strongly resist" any attempted occupation. Since then, tensions have eased between New Britain and the South Americans, and the South America-sponsored RZA is now a close economic partner. The troops stationed on Tristan were brought home in 2009.
The Government Of Tristan Da Cunha & Gough Island is based on that of England. Its people recognize the monarch in New Britain as the rightful head of the Commonwealth. The island is governed by a Council. The Governor is elected by the people of the Island, as is the council.
- Head Of Communications: Trinten Glass
- Head Of Domistic Affairs: James Hagen
- Head Of International Affairs: Brenda Taylor
- Governer: Alexander Swain
The island has no real military, potentially making it vulnerable to other nations, especially South America. Law enforcement is carried out by the constabulary, consisting of one full-time officer and a few special constables. The close-knit community has few problems with crime. The only true protection comes from New Britain's navy.
Foreign affairs are handled by New Britain.
Tristan da Cunha asked to participate on its own in the Commonwealth of Nations. The island council wished to express "our own British identity, which we do not possess vicariously through South Africa." This required the Commonwealth to change its requirement that members be "fully sovereign states." The change was granted, and today Tristan participates as a full member.
Culture and Society
The entire island is owned in common by the inhabitants, all of whom are farmers.
Tristanians are extremely proud of their British identity. Even the fiercely Anglophilic New Britain is sometimes seen as "too African." Tristanians objected to the Africanized flag released in 2005 and have kept the old Union Flag in its original colours.