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Napoleon’s Garden Island

Lost and Old Gardens of St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean

Napoleon’s Garden Island reveals the amazing botanical history of one remote Atlantic island.
 
Though the South Atlantic island of St. Helena is best known as the site of Napoleon’s exile following his final defeat in 1815, this remote locale also has a rich gardening heritage and a population of highly diverse flora, both exotic and endemic. This is due to St. Helena’s history as a stopover for the vast East India Company fleets on their way to Europe, whose cargo holds carried not only spices but also plants from China, Malaysia, and India. As a result, St. Helena became a botanical hub and the island’s private plantation houses cultivated a number of extraordinarily varied gardens.

Illustrated throughout with drawings, maps, and archival materials, Napoleon’s Garden Island looks to St. Helena’s past and future alike. McCracken explores the island’s native and introduced flora, ultimately appealing for the establishment of a new permanent garden to showcase this singular botanical blend. Turning away from the military matters that characterize most other books about St. Helena’s history, Napoleon’s Garden Island highights how a dazzling assortment of plants have thrived thousands of miles from their nearest neighbors.
 

392 pages | 38 color plates, 70 halftones | 6 x 9 1/2

History: Environmental History


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Table of Contents

LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES viii
FOREWORD ~ St Helena’s Flora Today by Dr Colin Clubbe xiii
PREFACE xix
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 1
CHAPTER 1 ~ St Helena within the global botanical network 2
Section I EAST INDIA COMPANY DAYS 19
CHAPTER 2 ~ East India Company gardens 20
CHAPTER 3 ~ St Helena’s old private gardens 40
CHAPTER 4 ~ The St Helena Botanic Garden 76
Section II THE NAPOLEONIC ERA 101
CHAPTER 5 ~ The big three: Burchell, Beatson and Roxburgh 102
CHAPTER 6 ~ Napoleon’s gardens 132
CHAPTER 7 ~ Grande salle d’état 162
CHAPTER 8 ~ The Company’s twilight years 184
Section III CROWN COLONY 203
CHAPTER 9 ~ The new order 204
CHAPTER 10 ~ The long decline 230
POSTSCRIPT ~ The way through the woods 273
APPENDICES 281
I ‘A Catalogue of Trees and Shrubs growing in the Hon’ble East India Companys New 282
Botanic Garden in Jamses Vally, St Helena, 1789’ Catalogue of trees and shrubs growing in
the Honourable East India Company’s new Botanic Garden in James’ Valley, St Helena, 1789
II Catalogue of trees and shrubs growing at Plantation House [1789] 286
III Catalogue of trees and shrubs growing at High Ridge [1789] 290
IV Burchell: Catalogus plantarum quæ Sta Helena varius hortis inveniuntur (c.1809) 292
V Garden sightings of Napoleon and garden references recorded by 300
Captain Nicholls, 15 October 1818 to 9 February1820
VI Plants shipped from the Cape to St Helena during the Captivity, June 1816 314
VII Old country houses of St Helena 318
ENDNOTES 321
BIBLIOGRAPHY 341
INDEX 357

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