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Sir Ambrose Shea had the unusual distinction of having been, not only the governor of Newfoundland, but also of the Bahamas.

He was born in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1817 and educated in his hometown. He entered the island's House of Assembly in 1848, where he quickly earned a reputation as a brilliant orator. In 1855 he was named speaker of the assembly, and held the office for the next six years. He had first been elected to represent Placentia, but at various other times represented St. John's East, St. John's East, Harbor Grace and Burin. He became governor of the colony on Jan. 1, 1886 and was honoured by being named knight commander of the order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) the same year.

In 1887 he moved from the relatively cool climate of his home island to the more balmy temperatures of the Bahamas, where he is remembered as having introduced the sisal industry.

He died in London, England, July 30, 1905.