This barren and uninhabited island was discovered and named by the Portuguese in 1501. The British garrisoned the island in 1815 to prevent a rescue of Napoleon from Saint Helena and it served as a provisioning station for the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron on anti-slavery patrol. The island remained under Admiralty control until 1922, when it became a dependency of Saint Helena. During World War II, the UK permitted the US to construct Wideawake airfield on Ascension in support of trans-Atlantic flights to Africa and anti-submarine operations in the South Atlantic. In the 1960s the island became an important space tracking station for the US. In 1982, Ascension was an essential staging area for British forces during the Falklands War, and it remains a critical refueling point in the air-bridge from the UK to the South Atlantic.
The climate on Ascension Island is subtropical. It is arid and lacking in vegetation until the elevation increases where lush forest and fertile soil exists.
The tourist information office is in the Obsidian Hotel (see Sleep).
Visitors require permission from the Administrator's office, requested in advance in writing.  They must also have full medical insurance which will cover the expense of medical evacuation, if needed.
- It's possible to purchase a seat on the military charter flight from RAF Brize Norton close to Oxford in the United Kingdom. Individual return tickets cost around £1000 (2008), booked at least 28 days in advance. Group and students discounts are available.
- The Royal Mail Ship Saint Helena sails through Portland, Tenerife, Ascension Island, Saint Helena, Cape Town, and sometimes Walvis Bay. Contact Andrew Weir Shipping, +44 (0)20 7816 4803 to make arrangements.
There is no public transportion (including taxis) on Ascension. Obsidian offers car rentals for £20/day.
Visitors are accommodated by the Obsidian Group Accommodation and Tourist Services, +247 6246, , which maintains a hotel (the Obsidian), two hostels, and two cottages (7 night minimum). Hotel rates range from £45 for a single to £79 for a VIP double. Hostel and cottage rates range from £25-£50 per night.
This page was last edited at 20:37, on 12 March 2009 by Wikitravel user Ypsilon. Based on work by Stefan Ertmann, Todd VerBeek, Ryan Holliday and Ian Kirk, Wikitravel user(s) Travelbird, Aeropost and Yzerfontein and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.