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Get A Large Static Flag British Virgin Islands
Flag of British Virgin Islands
Map of British Virgin Islands
Introduction British Virgin Islands
First settled by Dutch in 1648, islands were annexed in 1672 by English. economy is closely tied to larger and more populous US Virgin Islands to west; US dollar is legal currency.
Geography British Virgin Islands
Caribbean, between Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates:
18 30 N, 64 30 W
Map references:
Central America and Caribbean
total: 153 sq km
note: comprised of 16 inhabited and more than 20 uninhabited islands; includes island of Anegada
water: 0 sq km
land: 153 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.9 times size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
80 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 3 NM
subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds
coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Sage 521 m
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 6.67%
other: 73.33% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)
Environment - current issues:
limited natural fresh water resources (except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola, most of islands' water supply comes from wells and rainwater catchments)
Geography - note:
strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
People British Virgin Islands
Total Population:
21,730 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.9% (male 2,401; female 2,358)
15-64 years: 73.1% (male 8,181; female 7,709)
65 years and over: 5% (male 578; female 503) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 30.7 years
male: 31 years
female: 30.4 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
2.1% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
15 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
4.46 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
10.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.15 male(s)/female
Population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 21.86 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 76.06 years
male: 75.07 years
female: 77.1 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.72 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: British Virgin Islander(s)
adjective: British Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups:
black 83%, white, Indian, Asian and mixed
Protestant 86% (Methodist 33%, Anglican 17%, Church of God 9%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6%, Baptist 4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 2%, other 15%), Roman Catholic 10%, none 2%, other 2% (1991)
English (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 97.8% (1991 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government British Virgin Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: British Virgin Islands
abbreviation: BVI
Dependency status:
overseas territory of UK; internal self-governing
Government type:
Road Town
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas territory of UK)
none (overseas territory of UK)
National holiday:
Territory Day, 1 July
1 June 1977
Legal system:
English law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor Tom MACAN (since 14 October 2002)
elections: none; monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by monarch; following legislative elections, leader of majority party or leader of majority coalition is usually appointed chief minister by governor
head of government: Chief Minister Orlando SMITH (since 17 June 2003)
cabinet: Executive Council appointed by governor from members of Legislative Council
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council (13 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote, one member from each of 9 electoral districts, four at-large members; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 16 May 2003 (next to be held NA 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NDP 8, VIP 5
Judicial branch:
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, consisting of High Court of Justice and Court of Appeal (one judge of Supreme Court is a resident of islands and presides over High Court); Magistrate's Court; Juvenile Court; Court of Summary Jurisdiction
Political parties and leaders:
Concerned Citizens Movement or CCM [Ethlyn SMITH]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Orlando SMITH]; United Party or UP [Gregory MADURO]; Virgin Islands Party or VIP [Ralph T. O'NEAL]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Caricom (associate), CDB, ECLAC (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS (associate), UNESCO (associate)
Diplomatic representation in US:
none (overseas territory of UK)
Diplomatic representation from US:
none (overseas territory of UK)
Flag description:
blue, with flag of UK in upper hoist-side quadrant and Virgin Islander coat of arms centered in outer half of flag; coat of arms depicts a woman flanked on either side by a vertical column of six oil lamps above a scroll bearing Latin word VIGILATE (Be Watchful)
Economy British Virgin Islands
Economy - overview:
economy, one of most stable and prosperous in Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism, generating an estimated 45% of national income. An estimated 350,000 tourists, mainly from US, visited islands in 1998. Tourism suffered in 2002 because of lackluster US economy. In mid-1980s, government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. Roughly 400,000 companies were on offshore registry by yearend 2000. adoption of a comprehensive insurance law in late 1994, which provides a blanket of confidentiality with regulated statutory gateways for investigation of criminal offenses, is expected to make British Virgin Islands even more attractive to international business. Livestock raising is most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. Because of traditionally close links with US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands has used dollar as its currency since 1959.
buying power parity - $320 million (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $16,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.8%
industry: 6.2%
services: 92% (1996 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.5% (2002)
Labor force:
4,911 (1980)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
3% (1995)
revenues: $121.5 million
expenditures: $115.5 million, includes capital expenditures of $NA (1997)
tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
38.1 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
35.43 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
420 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish
$25.3 million (2002)
Exports - commodities:
rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand
Exports - partners:
Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US
$187 million (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery
Imports - partners:
Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US
Debt - external:
$36.1 million (1997)
Economic aid - recipient:
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
US dollar is used
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications British Virgin Islands
Telephones - main lines in use:
10,000 (1996)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Telephone system:
general assessment: worldwide telephone service
domestic: NA
international: submarine cable to Bermuda
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)
9,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus one cable company) (1997)
4,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
16 (2000)
Internet users:
Transportation British Virgin Islands
0 km
total: 177 km
paved: 177 km
unpaved: 0 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Road Town
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) 19,203 GRT/28,864 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1 (2002 est.)
3 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Military British Virgin Islands
Military - note:
defense is responsibility of UK
Transnational Issues British Virgin Islands
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for US and Europe; large offshore financial center