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Tuesday 24th October
British Virgin Islands Information - Page 2
History
Amerindian people, from the Orinoco Basin in Venezuela, were early inhabitants of the British Virgin Islands.

In the mid seventeenth century the Dutch began colonization of the islands. Later, the islands were annexed by the British (1672) and administered by the Government of the Leeward Islands.

Plantation owners grew cotton and sugarcane using a slave labour force. The Emancipation Act (1833), which abolished slavery throughout the British Empire, brought an end to this system.

Limited self-rule was introduced in the BVI in 1967 and extended in 1977.

Today, the British Virgin Islands is an Overseas Territory of the UK with internal self-government.

Economy
The economy of the British Virgin Islands benefits from tourism and offshore financial services. The services sector accounts for the largest percentage of the territory's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Industries produce a relatively small percentage of the GDP but provide employment for a significant percentage of the working population. Exports are gravel, sand, fish, fruit, rum and animals.

The agricultural sector is minimal in terms of GDP and employment. Agricultural produce includes bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes and livestock. Food imports are necessary. (2011)

Arts
The festivals of the British Virgin Islands are good occasions to see the arts and crafts of the islands.

The August Festival is a time to celebrate music and dancing. A variety of Caribbean music is performed including calypso, reggae, and the local music known as fungi.

Festivals are also an opportunity for local artists and craftsmen to display their work. Crafts include basketry, pottery and woodcarving.

Sport
Cricket is a popular sport in the British Virgin Islands. Other sports played include basketball, softball and football.

The islands are ideal for water sports such as swimming, snorkelling and diving. Surfing, kayaking and sailing are also favourite sports.

Holidays
Easter, Christmas and New Year are celebrated. Other holidays in the British Virgin Islands include Commonwealth Day - 14 March, Territory Day - 1 July and St Ursula's Day - 21 October. The Emancipation Act (1834) which abolished slavery in the British West Indies is celebrated in August.

News
News from the British Virgin Island is available from Newslink.

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