Ascension Island, in the South Atlantic Ocean, lies between latitude 7° 55' and 8° (XX south, longitude 14° 25' and 14° 20' west. It is 696 miles north west of St. Helena and has an area of about thirty-five square miles.
This remote island was first sighted by a Portuguese Captain, Juan de Nova, in 1501 and named in English, “The Island of Our Lady of the Conception”. Two years later another Portugese Captain, Alfonzo d’Albuquerque, actually landed on the island and named it Ascension Island in honour of the day he arrived.
Having no attractions to compare with St. Helena, Ascension remained uninhabited until 5.30 p.m. on 22 October 1815 when the sloops HMS Peruvian and HMS Zenobia took possession and Ascension became a British possession. The object of annexing Ascension was to ensure that the island could not be used as a base to effect the escape of Napoleon Bonaparte who had been banished to St. Helena in 1815.
From 1815 to 1922 the island was a Naval Establishment and was named HMS Ascension. The principle use made of the island by the Royal Navy was as a coaling station. On 20 October 1922 Ascension Island became by LETTERS PATENT a Dependency of St. Helena under the administration of the Governor of the Island of St. Helena.