The Countries Wiki

British Virgin Islands

Overseas Territory of the ‌United Kingdom
Flag Coat of arms
God Save the Queen
Location of British Virgin Islands
Region Virgin Islands
Capital Road Town
Status Overseas Territory
Head of State
- From 1952 Queen Elizabeth II
- From 2010 William Boyd McCleary
- From 2007 Ralph T. O'Neal
Legislature Parliament
January 1, 1960 Established
April 18, 1967 Autonomous territory
Area 153 km²
- 2005 27,000
 Density 176.4/km²
GDP 2005 (PPP)
- Total US$ 1.1 billion
- Per capita US$ 43,366
Currency US dollar
Flag of None.svg Leeward Islands colony

The British Virgin Islands is a overseas territory of the the United Kingdom, located in the Caribbean.


First inhabited by Arawak and later by Carib Indians, the Virgin Islands were settled by the Dutch in 1648 and then annexed by the English in 1672. The islands were part of the British colony of the Leeward Islands from 1872-1960; they were granted autonomy in 1967. The economy is closely tied to the larger and more populous US Virgin Islands to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency.[1]


The economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism generating an estimated 45% of the national income. More than 934,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 2008. In the mid-1980s, the government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. Roughly 400,000 companies were on the offshore registry by yearend 2000. The adoption of a comprehensive insurance law in late 1994, which provides a blanket of confidentiality with regulated statutory gateways for investigation of criminal offenses, made the British Virgin Islands even more attractive to international business. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959.[2]

Head of State

  • Queen Elizabeth II () (February 6, 1952 - )


  • William Boyd McCleary () (August 20, 2010 - )


  • Ralph T. O'Neal () (August 23, 2007 - )


British Overseas Territories


See also[]


  1. The CIA World Factbook: Introduction - Background
  2. The CIA World Factbook: Economy - Overview