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British Virgin Islands: green hills, turquoise sea and white beaches

The archipelago of the British Virgin Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, located in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, between Puerto Rico ant the Anegada Passage. The British Virgin Islands are part of the Virgin Islands archipelago divided between United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Belong to the United Kingdom about 40 islands in the north-east of the archipelago, the islands more important are Tortola (55 sq km), Anegada (39 sq km), Virgin Gorda (21 sq. km) and Jost Van Dyke (8 sq km), the capital of the territory is the town of Road Town located on the south-east coast of the island of Tortola.

Most of the islands are of volcanic origin, mountainous and jagged, only the island of Anegada is low and composed by limestone and coral. The highest mountain in the archipelago is Mount Sage (530 metres), located on the island of Tortola. Most of the inhabitants of the islands are descended from African slaves who arrived there in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There are also minorities of whites, mulattos and Asians. The vast majority of the population of the archipelago is Christian, usually Protestant. The main economic resources are fishing, agriculture (sugar cane, banana trees, palm trees, fruits and vegetables), financial activities and tourism.

The islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, but the Spanish never settled there. The islands became the haunt of pirates in the seventeenth century and were occasionally occupied by the Dutch who established some settlements in Tortola and Virgin Gorda. With the end of the Third Anglo-Dutch War the islands were ceded to the British.

  • Area: 153 sqkm.
  • Population: 23,500 (2007 data) (Blacks 83%, Whites 7%, Mulattos (descendants of European and African) 5%, Asian 3%).
  • State Capital: Road Town (Tortola).
  • Language: Official language is English.
  • Religion: Christian 96% (Protestant 86% (Methodist 33%, Anglican 17%, Church of God 9%, Adventist 6%, Baptist 4%), Catholic 10%).
  • Currency: American Dollar (USD)
  • Time: UTC -4 hours.

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