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BVI AT A GLANCE print version

Official name

Territory of the Virgin Islands

Political status

British Overseas Territory

Geographic location

A group of approx. 16 inhabited and more than 20 uninhabited islands, islets and coral reefs located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico


Approx. 153 sq. km


Sub-tropical, rather humid.


Road Town (population approx. 9,000) located on the main island of Tortola


Approx. 24,000

Major ethnic groups

Black, British

Official language



Discovered by Columbus in the 15th century, the BVI were then frequented by traders and pirates of various nations, until the Dutch settled in 1648. The islands were then annexed by the English in 1672. The islands were part of the British colony of the Leeward Islands in 1872-1960, thereafter becoming a separate colony. The islands were granted autonomy in 1967

Local currency



Tourism, offshore services

Main economic partners

US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, USA, UK







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