The Scot who dreamed of paradise
THE first permanent settler on Tristan da Cunha was William Glass, born in Kelso in 1786.
Glass, a corporal in the Royal Artillery, helped take possession of the island following British fears it might be used by the French to rescue Napoleon from exile in St Helena.
In 1816, the United Kingdom formally annexed the islands. When the troops withdrew in 1817, Glass remained with his wife and a handful of companions.
He created an ideal community known as The Firm, where everything was shared. Others joined the growing settlement, despite the challenges of isolation and harsh weather.
Glass ruled over the community until his death in 1853. Many of his rules, such as banning private property, communal-decision making on spending the income from crayfish and ensuring the lowest paid gets the next job, persist today.
During the Second World War, the islands were used by the Royal Navy as a top-secret weather and radio station.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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