British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands
Motto: "Vigilate" (Latin)
"Be Vigilant"
Anthem: "God Save the Queen"
Territorial song: "Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands"
Location of  British Virgin Islands  (circled in red)
Location of  British Virgin Islands  (circled in red)
Location of Virgin Islands
StatusBritish Overseas Territory
Capital
and largest city
Road Town
18°25.883′N 64°37.383′W / 18°25.883′N 64°37.383′W / 18.431383; -64.623050
Official languagesEnglish
Ethnic groups
DemonymVirgin Islander
GovernmentParliamentary dependency under constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
• Governor
Augustus Jaspert
V. Inez Archibald
• Premier
Orlando Smith
• UK government minister [b]
Tariq Ahmad
LegislatureHouse of Assembly
Established as a dependency of the United Kingdom
• Separate
1960
• Autonomy
1967
Area
• Total
153 km2 (59 sq mi)
• Water (%)
1.6
Population
• 2018 census
31,758[1] (212th)
• Density
260/km2 (673.4/sq mi) (68th)
GDP (PPP)2017 estimate
• Total
$500 million[2]
• Per capita
$34,200
CurrencyUnited States dollar (USD)
Time zoneUTC–4 (AST)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+1-284
Internet TLD.vg
  1. ^ Source for all ethnic groups including labels is 2010 Census of Population.
  2. ^ Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for the British Overseas Territories.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI), officially simply "Virgin Islands",[3] are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.

The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, which is about 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom approximately 23,500 lived on Tortola.[1] For the islands, the latest United Nations estimate (2016) is 30,661.[4]

British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, British Virgin Islanders are deemed to be citizens of the EU by virtue of their British citizenship.[5]

Name

The official name of the territory is still simply the "Virgin Islands", but the prefix "British" is often used. This is commonly believed to distinguish it from the neighbouring American territory which changed its name from the "Danish West Indies" to "Virgin Islands of the United States" in 1917. However, local historians have disputed this, pointing to a variety of publications and public records dating from between 21 February 1857 and 12 September 1919 where the Territory is referred to as the British Virgin Islands.[6] British Virgin Islands government publications continue to begin with the name "The territory of the Virgin Islands", and the territory's passports simply refer to the "Virgin Islands", and all laws begin with the words "Virgin Islands". Moreover, the territory's Constitutional Commission has expressed the view that "every effort should be made" to encourage the use of the name "Virgin Islands".[7] But various public and quasi-public bodies continue to use the name "British Virgin Islands" or "BVI", including BVI Finance, BVI Electricity Corporation, BVI Tourist Board, BVI Athletic Association, BVI Bar Association and others.

In 1968 the British Government issued a memorandum requiring that the postage stamps in the territory should say "British Virgin Islands" (whereas previously they had simply stated "Virgin Islands"), a practice which is still followed today.[6] This was likely to prevent confusion following on from the adoption of US currency in the Territory in 1959, and the references to US currency on the stamps of the Territory.

Other Languages
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Брытанскія Віргінскія астравы
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yîn-koet liâng Virgin Khiùn-tó
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: ব্রিটিশ ভার্জিন দ্বীপমালা
Kreyòl ayisyen: Il Vièj britanik
Lëtzebuergesch: Britesch Joffereninselen
Norfuk / Pitkern: Dem British Virgin Ailen
Plattdüütsch: Britsche Jumferninseln
Simple English: British Virgin Islands
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Britanski Djevičanski otoci