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Country Fast Facts: British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands

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First inhabited by Arawak and later by Carib Indians, the Virgin Islands were settled by the Dutch in 1648 and then annexed by the English in 1672.

The islands were part of the British colony of the Leeward Islands from 1872-1960; they were granted autonomy in 1967.

The economy is closely tied to the larger and more populous U.S. Virgin Islands to the west; the U.S. dollar is the legal currency.

The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays.

Approximately 15 of the islands are inhabited.
The largest island, Tortola, is approximately 20 km (approx. 12 mi) long and 5 km (approx. 3 mi) wide. The islands have a total population of about 22,000, of whom approximately 18,000 live on Tortola.

Road Town, the capital, is situated on Tortola.
Source: CIA World Fact Book

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