Tristan da Cunha was first settled in 1810. Great Britain annexed it in 1816 to prevent a possible attempt to rescue Napoleon from his exile, some 1300 miles north in St. Helena.
There was no post office on Tristan until 1838, when the island was declared a dependency of St. Helena and stamps of that entity came into use. In 1952 the George VI stamps of St. Helena were overprinted for use in Tristan, and in 1954 a definitive stamp with Queen Elizabeth and scenes of Tristan was issued. In 1961 a volcanic eruption forced the evacuation of the entire population—about three hundred people—back to the U.K. They returned in 1963.