Saint Helena is an island in the South Atlantic Ocean. The territory consists of the island of Saint Helena, as well as the dependencies of Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha. The island was discovered on 21 May 1502 by the Portuguese explorer João da Nova and named after Helena of Constantinople. The Dutch claimed the island from 1645 but, in 1659, it was settled by the English East India Company under a charter granted by Richard Cromwell. The island was lost to the Dutch for a short period in 1673 but it was retaken and the island re-granted to the East India Company by Charles II. Before the Boer War, Saint Helena was already famous for being the place of exile of Napoleon Bonaparte from 1815 until his death in 1821. Longwood House, where Napoleon stayed, and Sane Valley, where he was buried until 1840, are still owned by the French government.
St Helena was the first place to receive Boer prisoners. However, the camp set up there was quickly overwhelmed by the numbers of men and new camps were established in India.
In May 1901, at the capital and port or St Helena, Jamestown, two Boers swam to a Russian ship moored in the harbour but they were not permitted to board and were later recaptured. In the same month, camp security stopped a larger attempt to escape from Deadwood by a group of prisoners, a concerted attempt by a group of prisoners at Deadwood Camp was foiled by the authorities. In Bermuda, a small number of Boers broke loose in Darren's Island and for a long time eluded capture. There were a large number of Boer sympathisers who may have helped them.