Virgin Islands (British)

Virgin Islands (British)

Basic Data

Official Country Name: Virgin Islands (British)
Region (Map name): Caribbean
Population: 19,615
Language(s): English
Literacy rate: 97.8%

The British Virgin Islands, which lie east of Puerto Rico between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, were settled by the Dutch in 1648. Britain annexed them 24 years later. The country is closely tied with the larger and more populous U.S. Virgin Islands, which lie to the west. The population is approximately 20,000. English is the official language, and the literacy rate is approximately 98 percent. The British monarch serves as the chief of state, represented locally by a Governor. The Governor appoints a Chief Minister as head of the government and presides over a unicameral, 13-seat Legislative Council. The country's economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the area, is heavily dependent on tourism. Offshore incorporation fees also generate a substantial amount of revenue.

The media enjoys freedom of the press and speech. There is no daily newspaper, but there are two weeklies. The English-language newspaper Island Sun publishes weekly on Saturday. Its circulation is 3,000. The BVI Beacon, a tabloid-style newspaper, publishes weekly on Thursday. Both newspapers appear in print and online through a dedicated Web sites and a news portal called B-V-I Guide.

There are five radio stations, one AM and four AM, serving 9,000 radios. One television station broadcasts to 4,000 televisions. There are 16 Internet service providers.


"Advertising in the Island Sun Island Sun (2001). Available from .

"British Virgin Islands," CIA World Fact Book (2001). Available from .

BVI Beacon, (2002) Home Page. Available from .

"Newslinks," The B-V-I Guide (2002). Available from .

Jenny B. Davis

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