A casemate, sometimes erroneously rendered casement, is a fortified gun emplacement or armored structure from which guns are fired. Originally, the referred to a vaulted chamber in a fortress. In armoured fighting vehicles that do not have a turret for the main gun, the word comes from the Italian casamatta, the etymology of which is uncertain. Others think that it comes from the Arabic word kasaba, transliterated to kasbah, menagio speculated that it came from the Greek word for pit, the plural of which is khasmata. Hensleigh Wedgwood thought that it came from the Spanish casa and matar, others take matto in its archaic Italian meaning of dark, equivalent to the English matt, as in opaque, making a casamatta a dark house. Casematte were used as prisons, making use of their lack of light to add to the punishment. This explanation seems to be the most agreed upon, a casemate was originally a vaulted chamber usually constructed underneath the rampart. It was intended to be impenetrable and could be used for sheltering troops or stores, with the addition of an embrasure through the scarp face of the rampart, it could be used as a protected gun position.
In the early 19th century, French military engineer Baron Haxo designed a free-standing casemate that could be built on the top of the rampart, casemates built in concrete were used in the Second World War to protect coastal artillery from air attack. In warship design the term casemate has been used in a number of ways, the most famous naval battle of the war was the duel at Hampton Roads between the Union turretted ironclad USS Monitor and the Confederate casemate ironclad CSS Virginia. Casemate ship was a term for central battery ship or center battery ship. The casemate was a box that extended the full width of the ship protecting many guns. The armoured sides of the box were the sides of hull of the ship, there was an armoured bulkhead at the front and rear of the casemate, and a thick deck protecting the top. The lower edge of the casemate sat on top of ships belt armour, some ships, such as the Alexandra, had a two-storey casemate. A casemate was a room in the side of a warship. A typical casemate held a 6-in gun, and had a 6 front plate, with armour plates on the sides and rear, with a protected top and floor.
Casemates were similar in size to turrets, ships carrying them had them in pairs, the first battleships to carry them were the British Royal Sovereign class laid down in 1889. They were adopted as a result of live-firing trials against HMS Resistance in 1888, the use of casemates enabled the 6-in guns to be dispersed, so that a single hit would not knock out all of them
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, 88th-largest island in the world and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, the capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065, Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits. It was once the centre of the Minoan civilization, which is regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. The island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, repeated in Neo-Assyrian records and it was known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu, strongly suggesting a similar Minoan name for the island. The current name of Crete is thought to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek texts written in Linear B, through the words
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, before his accession to the throne, he served as heir apparent and held the title of Prince of Wales for longer than any of his predecessors. During the long reign of his mother, he was excluded from political power. He travelled throughout Britain performing ceremonial duties, and represented Britain on visits abroad. His tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 were popular successes, as king, Edward played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet and the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War. He reinstituted traditional ceremonies as public displays and broadened the range of people with whom royalty socialised and he died in 1910 in the midst of a constitutional crisis that was resolved the following year by the Parliament Act 1911, which restricted the power of the unelected House of Lords.
Edward was born at 10,48 in the morning on 9 November 1841 in Buckingham Palace and he was the eldest son and second child of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was christened Albert Edward at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle and he was named Albert after his father and Edward after his maternal grandfather Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. He was known as Bertie to the family throughout his life. As the eldest son of the British sovereign, he was automatically Duke of Cornwall, as a son of Prince Albert, he held the titles of Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duke of Saxony. He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 8 December 1841, Earl of Dublin on 17 January 1850, a Knight of the Garter on 9 November 1858, and a Knight of the Thistle on 24 May 1867. In 1863, he renounced his rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in favour of his younger brother. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were determined that their eldest son should have an education that would prepare him to be a constitutional monarch.
At age seven, Edward embarked on an educational programme devised by Prince Albert. Unlike his elder sister Victoria, Edward did not excel in his studies and he tried to meet the expectations of his parents, but to no avail. Although Edward was not a diligent student—his true talents were those of charm and tact—Benjamin Disraeli described him as informed, after the completion of his secondary-level studies, his tutor was replaced by a personal governor, Robert Bruce. After an educational trip to Rome, undertaken in the first few months of 1859, he spent the summer of that year studying at the University of Edinburgh under, among others, in October, he matriculated as an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford. Now released from the strictures imposed by his parents, he enjoyed studying for the first time
Chatham Dockyard was a Royal Navy Dockyard located on the River Medway in Kent. Established in Chatham in the century, the dockyard subsequently expanded into neighbouring Gillingham. It came into existence at the time when, following the Reformation, relations with the Catholic countries of Europe had worsened, for 414 years Chatham Royal Dockyard provided over 500 ships for the Royal Navy, and was at the forefront of shipbuilding and architectural technology. At its height, it employed over 10,000 skilled artisans, Chatham dockyard closed in 1984, and 84 acres of the Georgian dockyard is now managed as a visitor attraction by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. The Treasurer of the Navys accounts of the Kings Exchequer for the year 1544 identifies Deptford as the Dockyard that carried out all the repairs to the Kings Ships that year. Chathams establishment as a naval dockyard was precipitated by the use of the Medway as an anchorage by the ships of what was to become Englands permanent Royal Navy.
1567 is generally seen as the date of Chathams establishment as a Royal Naval Dockyard, in the years that followed the ground was prepared, accommodation was secured and a mast pond was installed. The renowned Tudor shipwright Mathew Baker was appointed to Chatham in 1572, under his supervision the site was developed to include sawpits, workshops, a wharf with a crane and, most significantly, its first dry dock, which opened in 1581. The dockyard received its first royal visit, from Elizabeth I, the first ship to be built at the dockyard, HMS Sunne was launched in 1586. James I used Chatham dockyard for a meeting in 1606 with Christian IV of Denmark, in 1613, the dockyard moved from its original location to its present site. Peter Pett, of the family of shipwrights whose history is connected to the Chatham dockyard. One of the disadvantages of Chatham was their relative inaccessibility for ships at sea, thus deliveries of victuals and other supplies were made by small boats, sailing regularly between Chatham and The Nore.
Seeking to alleviate this situation, the Navy Board explored options for developing a shore facility with direct access from the open water of the Thames Estuary. Sheerness remained operational as a royal dockyard until 1959, but it was never considered a major shore establishment, by the late 17th century Chatham was the largest refitting dockyard, important during the Dutch wars. It was, superseded in the century, first by Portsmouth, when the main naval enemy became France. In addition, the Medway had begun to silt up, making more difficult. Nevertheless, following a visit by the Admiralty Board in 1773, the decision was taken to invest further in Chatham, among many vessels built in this Dockyard, and which still exist, are HMS Victory, launched in 1765 – now preserved at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The officers and men employed in the yard increased, and by 1798 they numbered 1,664, including 49 officers
The French Navy, informally La Royale, is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces. As of June 2014, the French Navy employed a total of 36,776 personnel, the reserve element of the French Navy consisted of 4,827 personnel of the Operational Reserve. The French naval fleet includes more than a hundred vessels and nuclear type submarines, the history of the French Navy dates back to the History of the French Navy of Antiquity to the Renaissance, part of the History of the French Navy. The French Royal Navy was quasi inexistent prior 1624, the Ordre de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem, which was both a religious and military order, had its own respective international war fleet which assured the policing of the seas in the Mediterranean. The members which had satisfied obligations for periods in service at sea fulfilling their service, were granted the rank of Knights Hospitaller, many considered the naval service formation to integrate later, while being well formed, their respective navy. The Ordre de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem was one of the ancestors of the French naval schools and in principal, the Order accordingly formed most of the ships Captains, Officers of the French Royal Navy and Admirals of the Marine française de guerre de la Méditerranée.
During the Revolution, the French Navy succeeded to the French Royal Navy, under the First French Empire and the Second French Empire, the navy was designated as the Imperial French Navy. The French Navy is still designated today familiarly as La Royale and this expression was used by commercial sailors due to their military service at the corps of the navy by the institution of maritime inscription. The implementation of the Ministère de la Marine the de la Marine de guerre française at rue Royale. The symbol of the French Navy, which was since origin a golden anchor » and this symbol featured on all naval vessels, the arms, the couriers and general arms of the navy. This symbol was replaced in 1990 by a logo featuring a bow section of a warship with two ascending red and blue spray foams, and the inscription Marine nationale. The Chief of Staff of the French Navy was Admiral Bernard Louzeau, the navy became a consistent instrument of national power around the seventeenth century with Richelieus efforts under Louis XIII, and Colberts under Louis XIV.
Under the tutelage of the Sun King, the French Navy was well-financed and -equipped, managing to score several victories in the Nine Years War against the Royal Navy. Financial troubles, forced the navy back to port and allowed the English, before the Nine Years War, in the Franco-Dutch War, it managed to score a decisive victory over a combined Spanish-Dutch fleet at the Battle of Palermo. The French Navy scored various successes, as in the campaigns led in the Atlantic by Picquet de la Motte, in 1766, Bougainville led the first French circumnavigation. During the American Revolutionary War the French Navy played a role in supporting the Americans. French warships participated in the battle by bombarding British ground forces, in India, Suffren waged campaigns against the British, successfully contending for supremacy against Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes. In the Mediterranean, the French Navy waged a campaign during a 1798 French invasion of Egypt
Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy,284 km east of Tunisia, the country covers just over 316 km2, with a population of just under 450,000, making it one of the worlds smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital in the European Union, Malta has one national language, which is Maltese, and English as an official language. John and British, have ruled the islands, King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the George Cross to Malta in 1942 for the countrys bravery in the Second World War. The George Cross continues to appear on Maltas national flag, the country became a republic in 1974, and although no longer a Commonwealth realm, remains a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004, in 2008, Catholicism is the official religion in Malta.
The origin of the term Malta is uncertain, and the modern-day variation derives from the Maltese language, the most common etymology is that the word Malta derives from the Greek word μέλι, honey. The ancient Greeks called the island Μελίτη meaning honey-sweet, possibly due to Maltas unique production of honey, an endemic species of bee lives on the island. The Romans went on to call the island Melita, which can be considered either as a latinisation of the Greek Μελίτη or the adaptation of the Doric Greek pronunciation of the same word Μελίτα. Another conjecture suggests that the word Malta comes from the Phoenician word Maleth a haven or port in reference to Maltas many bays, few other etymological mentions appear in classical literature, with the term Malta appearing in its present form in the Antonine Itinerary. The extinction of the hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta. Prehistoric farming settlements dating to the Early Neolithic period were discovered in areas and in caves.
The Sicani were the tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time and are generally regarded as being closely related to the Iberians. Pottery from the Għar Dalam phase is similar to found in Agrigento. A culture of megalithis temple builders either supplanted or arose from this early period, the temples have distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from 4000 to 2500 BCE. Animal bones and a knife found behind an altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice. Tentative information suggests that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, the culture apparently disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500 BC. Archaeologists speculate that the builders fell victim to famine or disease
Fleet review (Commonwealth realms)
A fleet review is a traditional gathering of ships from a particular navy to be observed by the reigning monarch or his or her representative, a practice allegedly dating back to the 15th century. Such an event is not held at intervals and originally only occurred when the fleet was mobilised for war or for a show of strength to discourage potential enemies. However, since the 19th century, they have often held for the coronation or for special royal jubilees. Australia has a history of Fleet Reviews, the last Fleet Review took place in Australia in October 2013, port Phillip royal review,1921 - Reviewed by Prince Edward, Prince of Wales. Royal Australian Navy 25th birthday review,1936 50th Year Review,1961 The 75th fleet review,1986 - Led by USS Missouri, bicentennial naval salute,1988 - Led by USS New Jersey Centennial naval review 2001 - Cancelled due to terrorist attacks in the United States. In Canada, fleet reviews may take place on either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, typically in Halifax Harbour for the former and Victoria Harbour for the latter.
July 1958 - To mark the 100th anniversary of British Columbias entry into Canadian Confederation, the Royal Canadian Navy review was conducted by Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. June 1959 - Held at Montreal to mark the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, attended by ships from the Royal Canadian Navy and United States Navy, July 1959 - Held at Halifax Harbour, reviewed by Queen Elizabeth II. 12 June 2010 - To mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Canadian Navy,29 June 2010 - To mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Canadian Navy and held at the Bedford Basin. Ships of the Royal Canadian Navy, Brazilian Navy, Royal Danish Navy, French Navy, German Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Royal Navy, there have been several Fleet Reviews hosted by the Royal New Zealand Navy. These include the following, International Fleet Review,5 October 1991, International Naval Review,18 November 2016, to mark the Royal New Zealand Navys 75th birthday. In a break with tradition the RNZN mistakenly described the Review as a Naval Review rather than as the customary Fleet Review, in the examples below, the venue is Spithead unless otherwise noted.
A list follows of fleet reviews in England, Great Britain, on his arrival he was saluted by a triple discharge of cannon, and proceeded to the dockyard where admirals and captains were assembled, each with his barge, to escort the King to Spithead. They had dressed their crews in fancy colours, each to his own taste, may 1778, George III, before France joined American War of Independence 1781 June 1794, after Glorious First of June 25 June 1814, the last to consist solely of sailing ships. 15 ships of the line and 31 frigates were present, all of them veterans of the Napoleonic Wars and it was reviewed not by George III, but by the Prince Regent September 1820, George IV, first Coronation Review. One ship in attendance was HMS Beagle, made famous by Charles Darwin,17 occurred during her reign, the most for any monarch. March 1842, her first, held by herself and Prince Albert as a Grand Naval Review, the Board of Admiralty attended in their steam yacht, the Black Eagle. 11 August 1853, fleet mobilisation for Crimean War, including for the first time steam screw ships of the line
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago situated in the north Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Portugal. Its total population was estimated in 2011 at 267,785, the capital of Madeira is Funchal, located on the main islands south coast. The archipelago is just under 400 kilometres north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, since 1976, the archipelago has been one of the two Autonomous regions of Portugal. It includes the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and the Desertas, the region has political and administrative autonomy through the Administrative Political Statue of the Autonomous Region of Madeira provided for in the Portuguese Constitution. Madeira was claimed by Portuguese sailors in the service of Prince Henry the Navigator in 1419, the archipelago is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, which extended from 1415 to 1542. Today, it is a popular resort, being visited every year by about one million tourists. The region is noted for its Madeira wine, gastronomy and cultural value, its flora and fauna, landscapes which are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and embroidery artisans.
Its annual New Year celebrations feature the largest fireworks show in the world, Madeira is the second richest region of Portugal by GDP per capita, only surpassed by Lisbon. They are called the Isles of the Blessed, archeological evidence suggests that the islands may have been visited by the Vikings sometime between 900-1030. During the reign of King Edward III of England, lovers Robert Machim and they were driven off their course by a violent storm and their ship went aground along the coast of an island, that may have been Madeira. Later this legend was the basis of the naming of the city of Machico, knowledge of some Atlantic islands, such as Madeira, existed before their formal discovery and settlement, as the islands were shown on maps as early as 1339. The following year, an expedition, under the captaincy of Zarco, Vaz Teixeira. Subsequently, the new settlers observed a black cloud suspended to the southwest. Their investigation revealed it to be the island they called Madeira. The first Portuguese settlers began colonizing the islands around 1420 or 1425, grain production began to fall and the ensuing crisis forced Henry the Navigator to order other commercial crops to be planted so that the islands could be profitable.
The planting of sugarcane, and Sicilian sugar beet, allowed the introduction of the salt into Europe. These specialised plants, and their associated industrial technology, created one of the major revolutions on the islands, the expansion of sugar plantations in Madeira began in 1455, using advisers from Sicily and financed by Genoese capital. The accessibility of Madeira attracted Genoese and Flemish traders, who were keen to bypass Venetian monopolies, by 1480 Antwerp had some seventy ships engaged in the Madeira sugar trade, with the refining and distribution concentrated in Antwerp
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, the remaining population consists of Africas largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a variety of cultures, languages. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the recognition of 11 official languages. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup détat, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a role in the countrys recent history. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation, since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the countrys democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces.
South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation to describe the multicultural diversity. The World Bank classifies South Africa as an economy. Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, and the 34th-largest in the world, in terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa. However and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed, South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, and maintains significant regional influence. The name South Africa is derived from the geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, since 1961 the long form name in English has been the Republic of South Africa. In Dutch the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika, since 1994 the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning south, is a name for South Africa.
South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological and human fossil sites in the world, extensive fossil remains have been recovered from a series of caves in Gauteng Province. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has termed the Cradle of Humankind
Simons Town, sometimes spelled Simonstown, is a town near Cape Town, South Africa, which is home to the South African Navy. It is located on the shores of False Bay, on the side of the Cape Peninsula. For more than two centuries it has been a base and harbour. The town is named after Simon van der Stel, a governor of the Cape Colony. The land rises steeply from near the edge and the village is boxed in along the shoreline by the heights above. The small harbour itself is protected from swells by a breakwater that was built thousands of huge blocks of sandstone quarried out of the face of the mountain above. Simons Town is now in effect a suburb of greater Cape Town, the Simons Town railway station is the terminus of the Southern Line, a railway line that runs south from the central business district of Cape Town. In places, the line runs along the steep eastern shore of False Bay. Boulders Beach is located a few kilometres to the south of Simons Town, here small coves and beaches are interspersed between boulders of Cape granite.
There has been a colony of African penguins at Boulders Beach since 1985, there is no record of the birds having lived here prior to that date. There are only three penguin populations on the mainland in southern Africa, the others are close to Hermanus at Stoney Point, in the last weeks of 1795 or the first weeks of 1796 the British built a round tower on a site that today falls within the Naval Base. Britain had just annexed the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope and wanted to establish some defences to ward off possible Dutch or French attacks. The resulting tower was 8 metres high, had a diameter of 13 m. In front of the tower the British constructed a battery that they did arm with cannons, the Martello Tower was used as a navigational beacon for ships entering Simons Bay and was consequently white-washed in about 1843. The tower was restored in 1972 by the Simons Town Historical Society, Simons Town became a free port in 1832. It was granted by the College of Arms on 27 September 1957, in laymans terms, the shield is divided into four quarters.
These were a modified version of the arms of Willem Adriaan van der Stel. The crest was the figure of Britannia resting on a naval crown
It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres and has a population of 4,534 and it was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople. The island, one of the most remote islands in the world, was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502 and it was an important stopover for ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa for centuries. Napoleon was imprisoned there in exile by the British, as were Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo, between 1791 and 1833, Saint Helena became the site of a series of experiments in conservation and attempts to boost rainfall artificially. This environmental intervention was closely linked to the conceptualisation of the processes of environmental change, Saint Helena is Britains second-oldest remaining overseas territory after Bermuda. The Portuguese found the island uninhabited, with an abundance of trees and they imported livestock, fruit trees and vegetables, and built a chapel and one or two houses.
Englishman Sir Francis Drake probably located the island on the leg of his circumnavigation of the world. In developing their Far East trade, the Dutch began to frequent the island, the Dutch Republic formally made claim to Saint Helena in 1633, although there is no evidence that they ever occupied, colonized, or fortified it. By 1651, the Dutch had mainly abandoned the island in favour of their colony at the Cape of Good Hope. In 1657, Oliver Cromwell granted the English East India Company a charter to govern Saint Helena and, the following year, the first governor Captain John Dutton arrived in 1659, making Saint Helena one of Britains oldest colonies outside North America and the Caribbean. A fort and houses were built, after the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, the East India Company received a royal charter giving it the sole right to fortify and colonise the island. The fort was renamed James Fort and the town Jamestown, in honour of the Duke of York, between January and May 1673, the Dutch East India Company forcibly took the island, before English reinforcements restored English East India Company control.
The company experienced difficulty attracting new immigrants, and sentiments of unrest, a census in 1723 recorded 1,110 people, including 610 slaves. The island enjoyed a period of prosperity from about 1770. Captain James Cook visited the island in 1775 on the leg of his second circumnavigation of the world. St. James Church was erected in Jamestown in 1774, the site of this telescope is near Saint Mathews Church in Hutts Gate in the Longwood district. The 680-metre high hill there is named for him and is called Halleys Mount, throughout this period, Saint Helena was an important port of call of the East India Company. East Indiamen would stop there on the leg of their voyages to British India
It is governed as part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha, of which the main island, Saint Helena, is around 1,300 kilometres to the southeast. The territory includes the sparsely populated Tristan da Cunha archipelago, some 3,730 kilometres to the south, the island is named after the day of its recorded discovery, Ascension Day. It played a role as an important safe haven and coaling station to mariners, during World War II it was an important naval and air station, especially providing antisubmarine warfare bases in the Battle of the Atlantic. Ascension Island was garrisoned by the British Admiralty from 22 October 1815 to 1922, the island was used extensively by the British military during the Falklands War. Ascension Island hosts one of four antennas that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System navigational system. Ascension is a young formation, the tip of an undersea volcano which rose above the waves only a million years ago. It is associated both with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge plate boundary 80 km to the west and with a hotspot 25–300 km to the south east and its last eruption may have occurred in the 16th Century.
Due to its short history, its soil consists mostly of clinker. In 1501, the Portuguese navigator Afonso de Albuquerque sighted the island on Ascension Day and barren, the island had little appeal for passing ships except for collecting fresh meat, and was not claimed for the Portuguese Crown. Mariners could hunt for the seabirds and the enormous female green turtles that laid their eggs on the sandy beaches. The Portuguese introduced goats as a source of meat for future mariners. In February 1701, HMS Roebuck, commanded by William Dampier, sixty men survived for two months until they were rescued. Almost certainly, after a few days they found the water spring in the high interior of the island. British mariners found the Dutchmans tent and diary in January 1726, organised settlement of Ascension Island began in 1815, when the British garrisoned it as a precaution after imprisoning Napoleon I on Saint Helena to the southeast. On 22 October the Cruizer class brig-sloops Zenobia and Peruvian claimed the island for His Britannic Majesty King George III, the Royal Navy designated the island as a stone frigate, HMS Ascension, with the classification of Sloop of War of the smaller class.
The location of the island made it a useful stopping-point for ships, the Royal Navy used the island as a victualling station for ships, particularly those of the West Africa Squadron working against the slave trade. A garrison of Royal Marines was based at Ascension from 1823, in 1836 the Beagle voyage visited Ascension. Charles Darwin described it as a treeless island, with nothing growing near the coast