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Tuesday 24th October
British Virgin Islands Facts
The Virgin Islands are in the Caribbean, east of Puerto Rico.

The islands belong to a group known as the Leeward Islands which are part of the Lesser Antilles island chain. Other islands in the group include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat and St Kitts and Nevis.

The archipelago of the Virgin Islands is divided into two territories, the British Virgin Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Tortola is the largest of the islands in the British Virgin Islands.

The highest point in the BVI is Mount Sage (521 m) on the island of Tortola.

Most of the Virgin Islands are of volcanic origin.

The island of Anegada, one of the largest in the BVI group, is a coral and limestone island.

Amerindian people were early settlers in the Virgin Islands.

Christopher Columbus, in the service of Spain, visited the islands in 1493.

Columbus named the islands "Las Virgines" after the story of St Ursula and her virgin companions.

The British Virgin Islands were colonized by the Dutch in 1666. (The United States Virgin Islands were a colony of Denmark until 1917).

African slaves were brought to the islands to work on the sugarcane plantations.

The [British] Virgin Islands were annexed by the British in 1672.

The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act (1807) prohibited the slave trade within the British Empire. (Slaves in the British colonies did not gain their freedom until the 1830s. The 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act began the process leading to emancipation).

Limited self-rule was introduced in the British Virgin Islands in 1967 and extended in 1977.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is an Overseas Territory of the UK with internal self-government.

The Head of State of the British Virgin Islands is the British monarch, represented by a Governor.

The British Overseas Territories Act (2002) granted British citizenship to the people of the British Virgin Islands.

Hurricanes which have caused damage in the British Virgin Islands include Hurricane Hugo (1989) and Hurricane Marilyn (1995).

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