ASCENSION

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ASCENSION ; an uninhabited island, consisting of naked rocks; a shattered volcano, of about 60 miles in circumference, in the Atlantic ocean ; Ion. 14° 28' W.; lat. 7° 5& S. It has an excellent harbor, frequented by the East Indiamen and whalefishers. Fish, seafowl and turtles abound, but there is an entire want of water. The vegetation, scarcely sufficient to support some goats, is confined to an eminence in the southeast. In a crevice of the rock there is the sea postoffice, as it is calleda place where bottles, closely sealed, are left with letters for passing vessels. This island formerly belonged to the Portuguese, who discovered it in 1501; but, in 1816, some English families from St. Helena settled here, on account of the inconvenience which they experienced from the residence of Napoleon. Ascension was then taken possession of, by the British government, as a military station, and 60 transport ships provided the garrison of 200 men with supplies from the cape of Good Hope. A road was laid out, and a fort was built. In 1821, the government resolved to continue the occupation of this post.