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  Geography
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Map of British Virgin Islands

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    British Virgin Islands
Background:
Definition Field Listing
First settled by the Dutch in 1648, the islands were annexed in 1672 by the English. The economy is closely tied to the larger and more populous US Virgin Islands to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency.

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   Geography    British Virgin Islands
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
18 30 N, 64 30 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 153 sq km
land: 153 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: comprised of 16 inhabited and more than 20 uninhabited islands; includes the island of Anegada
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
80 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Sage 521 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
NEGL
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 6.67%
other: 73.33% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
limited natural fresh water resources (except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola, most of the islands' water supply comes from wells and rainwater catchments)
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

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   People    British Virgin Islands
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
22,187 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 21.5% (male 2,402; female 2,361)
15-64 years: 73.5% (male 8,395; female 7,911)
65 years and over: 5% (male 594; female 524) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 30.9 years
male: 31.1 years
female: 30.7 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.06% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.96 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.42 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
10.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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: 1.13 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 18.05 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.02 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 76.27 years
male: 75.24 years
female: 77.36 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.72 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: British Virgin Islander(s)
adjective: British Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
black 83%, white, Indian, Asian and mixed
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
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)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
English (official)
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.8% (1991 est.)
male: NA
female: NA

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   Government    British Virgin Islands
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: British Virgin Islands
abbreviation: BVI
Dependency status:
Definition Field Listing
overseas territory of the UK; internal self-governing
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Road Town
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Territory Day, 1 July
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
1 June 1977
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
English law
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor Tom MACAN (since 14 October 2002)
head of government: Chief Minister Orlando D. SMITH (since 17 June 2003)
cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor from members of the Legislative Council
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed chief minister by the governor
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, consisting of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal (one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the High Court); Magistrate's Court; Juvenile Court; Court of Summary Jurisdiction
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS (associate), UNESCO (associate)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Virgin Islander coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms depicts a woman flanked on either side by a vertical column of six oil lamps above a scroll bearing the Latin word VIGILATE (Be Watchful)

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   Economy    British Virgin Islands
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
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. An estimated 350,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 1998. Tourism suffered in 2002 because of the lackluster US economy. 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, is expected to make 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 dollar as its currency since 1959.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $320 million (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $16,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 1.8%
industry: 6.2%
services: 92% (1996 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.5% (2002)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4,911 (1980)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture NA, industry NA, services NA
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3% (1995)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $121.5 million
expenditures: $115.5 million, including capital expenditures of NA (1997)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
38.1 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
35.43 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
420 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$25.3 million (2002)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$187 million (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$36.1 million (1997)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
USD
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March

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   Communications    British Virgin Islands
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11,700 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: worldwide telephone service
domestic: NA
international: country code - 1-284; submarine cable to Bermuda
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (plus one cable company) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.vg
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA

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   Transportation    British Virgin Islands
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 177 km
paved: 177 km
unpaved: 0 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Road Town
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 83,825 GRT/155,909 DWT
by type: cargo 1, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: Norway 1
registered in other countries: 32 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
3 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2003 est.)

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   Military    British Virgin Islands
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
defense is the responsibility of the UK

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   Transnational Issues    British Virgin Islands
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
none
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe; large offshore financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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