British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands ( engl. British Virgin Islands, officially only Virgin Islands ) is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean. You geographically comprise over 60 islands and reefs in the northeastern part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands at the northern end of the island arc of the Lesser Antilles. The rapidly growing population especially through immigration ( net migration figure 2012. 18.56 per 1000 inhabitants, the world's third highest) occupied 16 of about 100 km east of Puerto Rico islands.

The economy is closely linked to the more populated United States Virgin Islands, the official currency is therefore the U.S. dollar. Dominating is the service sector, in particular the tourism and offshore financial services industry.


The territory of the British Virgin Islands include the islands of Anegada, Beef Iceland, Cooper Iceland, Ginger Iceland, Jost Van Dyke, Norman Iceland, Peter Iceland, Salt Iceland, Tortola, Virgin Gorda and beyond other small islands around the Sir Francis Drake channel.

The island of Anegada consists of stony coral and limestone and is relatively flat, the other islands are volcanic in origin, mountainous and hilly. The highest point of the islands is Mount Sage 521 m on Tortola.

The climate is tropical and humid, temperatures are moderated by winds. Hurricanes and tropical storms are available from July to October. The natural fresh water resources are limited, with the exception of some rivers dry out in summer, and from sources on Tortola. The most significant part of the water supply of the islands comes from wells and rainwater areas.

See also: List of settlements in the British Virgin Islands


The British Virgin Islands has approximately 27,800 inhabitants. The majority of the population is wholly or partly of African descent. 33 % are Methodists, 17% Anglican, 10 % Catholic, 9% members of the Church of God, 6% of the seventh day Adventist, Baptist 4%, 2%, Jehovah's Witnesses, 19 % are committed to another or no religion.


In the 1st century BC Arawak populated the islands, but were subjected in the 15th century by the Caribbean Sea. 1493 Christopher Columbus discovered the Virgin Islands for Europeans. 1555 Spanish troops defeated the indigenous population and exterminated them in the coming decades. After the Netherlands in 1648 the first to colonize the islands, the territory of England in 1672 was annexed. The British were by the based on slavery sugar cane cultivation. Today, therefore, 90 % of the population of black African descent.


The British Virgin Islands are associate member of the Caribbean Community and a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. They are among the carriers of the University of the West Indies.

The supreme executive authority of the British Virgin Islands has held Queen Elizabeth II. In this role, she is represented by the Governor, who is appointed by her on a proposal from the British government. For the foreign and defense policies, the United Kingdom is responsible.

The Constitution of the archipelago was last readopted in 2007. Head of government is the Premier, and 2007 Chief Minister, who is appointed along with the four other members of the Government from among the members of the Legislative Council by the Governor. The Legislative Council ( House of Assembly ) consists of 13 members, the Speaker and the non-voting attorney general elected by the people.

Since 2006, David Pearey holds the office of the governor. Acting Premier Ralph T. O'Neal since August 2007, Virgin Islands Party (VIP), the Orlando Smith, National Democratic Party (NDP ), its predecessor, it was already 1995 to 2003, according to a clear victory in the same month made elections to the Legislative Council replaced.


The road network is 177 km long, on the left. In Road Town, there is a harbor.

On the islands there are five airports: Anegada on the island of Anegada ( IATA airport code: NGD ), Beef Iceland on the island of Beef Iceland (EIS ), North Sound Virgin on the island of Virgin Gorda ( NSX ), Virgin Gorda on the island of Virgin Gorda ( VIJ ) and West End SPB on the island of Tortola ( TOV ).


The economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism, which accounts for about 45 % of the national income. Approximately 350,000 tourists, the majority from the U.S., visited the islands in 1998. 2002 tourism also suffered from the weak U.S. economy. Since the mid- 1980s, the government offers companies the opportunity to be resident on the islands with a letter box entity. The fees for the formation of such companies account for more than 50 % of the national income. Approximately 400,000 offshore companies were registered in late 2000 on the islands.

Animal husbandry is the most significant share of agriculture. The poor soil quality allows only a limited supply of the domestic population.

The economy is closely tied to the U.S. Virgin Islands and since 1959 is the U.S. dollar is the official currency.