St Helenians, also known as “Saints”, are known for their friendliness – everyone waves and greets each other, even to passing cars.

St Helena has a small population (estimated population of St Helena at the end of 2012 was 3,800) mainly descended from people from Europe (mostly planters, government employees and ex-soldiers serving in the local St Helena Regiment), Chinese (itinerant  workers from about 1810) and slaves (mostly from Madagascar and Asia, only a few coming from Africa from 1840 onward).  Naturally, not all Saints have remained on St. Helena. There are sizeable populations in the Falklands and Ascension Island, though these tend to be temporary workers who do not settle. More permanent pupulations exist in the UK and in Cape Town, South Africa, which could collectedly number more than those living on the island.

Saints are renowned for their hospitable nature. Getting involved in our local social life will give you an insight into how vibrant, fun and welcoming we are.




Coming from several distinct sources as mentioned above.  Some of the most comment surnames (and their probable origins) found on St Helena are:

Thomas (Slave name), Yon (Chinese origins) Williams (Slave name) Henry (Slave name) Benjamin (Slave name) Peters (Slave name) Stevens (Slave name) George (Slave name) Joshua (Slave name) Francis (Slave name) Duncan (Slave name) Lawrence (Slave name) Richards (Slave name).

Moyce (English, from Settlers), Young (English, from Settlers), Coleman (English, from Settlers), Bowers (English, from Settlers) Bennett (English, from Settlers), Buckley: (English, from Settlers), Fowler (English, from Settlers).

Piek (Boer), Vanguard (Boer), Leo (Probably from Dutch (Leon), i.e.Boer origins)





St Helena is a rich history of nicknames for its people, often people can be friends for years and not refer to each other by their legal names.

Learn more about these wonderful nicknames here →