views updated May 14 2018

TRISTAN DA CUNHA, short form Tristan. A British dependency in the South Atlantic. Language: English. The Portuguese discovered SAINT HELENA and the Tristan Archipelago in 1506 and the British occupied Tristan in 1816 during the exile of Napoleon at St Helena. In 1961, the islanders were evacuated after a volcanic eruption, but returned in 1963. The people, among whom there are only seven surnames, number some 350. Distinctive features include: (1) An intrusive initial /h/: ‘highland happle’ for island apple. (2) Such words as first, herb pronounced ‘farst’, ‘harb’. (3) Tense and possessive inflections often dropped and is often omitted. (4) Such usages as plant in (intransitive) to plant potatoes, the sea put up bubbles the sea grew (too) rough (for fishing), and eastings and westings, to indicate which way the island is circled. (5) The term gulch is common, as are such complex place-names as Down-where-minister-pick-up-his-things, Ridge-where-the-goat-jump-off, and Blackinthehole Hill.

Tristan da Cunha

views updated Jun 08 2018

Tristan da Cunha Group of four islands in the s Atlantic Ocean, located midway between s Africa and South America. The group was discovered (1506) by the Portuguese and annexed by Britain in 1816. In 1961, Tristan, the only inhabitable island, suffered a volcanic eruption that caused a temporary evacuation. A British overseas territory, it is administered from St Helena. Area of Tristan: 98sq km (38sq mi). Pop. (2000) 283, all of whom live in the settlement of Edinburgh.