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or Ascenao Trinidad

island, british and brazil

TRINIDAD, or ASCENAO, a small unin habited rocky island in the Atlantic, in lat. 31' S., long. 29° 20' W., about 700 miles east of Brazil. Originally discovered by the Portu guese, it had never been claimed or made use of till 1700, when the famous English astrono mer, Halley, in the course of a scientific cruise, raised the British flag on the island. No ob jection was raised by Portugal, to which coun try, however, the island was transferred in 1782. Since then the island was regarded as a derelict, as no power exercised active posses sion. In 1880 the Englishjournalist, E. F. Knight, explored the rock and found it littered with dead trunks and branches—the remains of an extinct forest —and swarming with myriads of land crabs, sea-fowl and snakes. There is hardly any fresh water and the island reeked of rotten fish and guano. Access by boat is most difficult, and the water is alive with sharks. The whole area is about five square miles. In 1894 the island had gained a momentary celebrity through the announce ment by Baron Harden-Hickey (q.v.), that he had created himself "Prince of Trinidad." In

January 1895, however, the British warship Barracouta arrived and landed a party which, climbing up the precipitous rocks, formally read the proclamation of annexation, nailed the British flag on a spar and buried the procla mation in a bottle at the foot. The British government desired to erect a cable station on the island. All the then existing cables be tween South America and Europe had their western shore-ends at Pernambuco, with the result that Brazil controlled the whole of the direct telegraphic communication of the con tinent with Europe. The distance between the countries south of Brazil and Europe was too great to admit of a direct cable; hence Trinidad afforded an ideal half-way house. The British annexation roused considerable opposition in Brazil. By mutual consent the dispute was submitted for arbitration to the king of Portu gal, who decided in favor of Brazil. Consult Knight, E. F.,