British Virgin Islands

Facts at a glance:

Capital: Road Town (Tortola)

Form of Government: British Dependent Territory

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor John Rankin

Head of Government: Premier Andrew Fahie

Location: Archipelago of 36 islands (16 of which are inhabited); about 80 km (50 mi.) east of Puerto Rico; 18.5EN, 64EW.Principal islands: Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.

Area: Total 153 sq. km (59 sq.mi.); Tortola 54 sq.km. (21 sq.mi.); Anegada, 39 sq.km. (15 sq.mi.); Virgin Gorda, 21 sq.km. (8 sq.mi.); Jost Van Dyke, 9 sq.km. (3.4 sq.mi.).

Population:30, 738 (2016 est.)

Ethnic Make-Up:94% of African descent; remainder of European and Asian origin.

Adult Literacy: 98%

Currency :US Dollar

Time zone: EST (summer); EST+1 (winter); GMT -4

Phone code: Regional code (284), plus 49, plus the 5-digit local number

History: In 1666, British planters took over control of the islandgroup from the Dutch settlers. The islands attained the status of a British colony and remained part of the Leeward Islands from 1872 until 1956, when the BVI became a separately administered entity. To preserve its close economic ties with the US Virgin Is., the group did not join the 1958-1962 West Indies Federation. In 1967, a new Constitution provided for a ministerial system of government headed by a Governor, who represents HM Queen Elizabeth II.

UWI connections:The UWI Open Campus: British Virgin Islands