Cite

Virgin Islands: The British Virgin Islands

Immediately to the northeast of the U.S. Virgin Islands are the British Virgin Islands, officially the Virgin Islands, a British dependency (2015 est. pop. 30,000), 59 sq mi (153 sq km). There are more than 30 islands; 16 are inhabited. The principal ones are Tortola, Anegada, and Virgin Gorda. Road Town, the capital, is on Tortola. Tourism, light industry, and offshore financial services are the most important economic activities; the dependency is the nominal home of more than 600,000 offshore corporations. Britain acquired the islands from the Dutch in 1666. Granted autonomy in 1967, they are governed under the constitution of 2007. There is a unicameral House of Assembly whose 13 voting members are elected to four-year terms. The government is headed by a premier, and the monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by a governor, is the head of state. Andrew Fahie, of the Virgin Islands party, became premier in 2019.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Caribbean Political Geography