The British Virgin Islands are one of the British overseas territories. The archipelago is part of the Lesser Antilles and consists of 60 islands, of which only 16 are inhabited. Since the islands were formed by volcanic eruptions, their landscape is characterized by hills and forested mountains.
The climate on the islands is tropical and warm all year round, but the cooling sea breeze ensures that the temperatures are pleasant. The islands owe their popularity with visitors, among other things, to their beautiful white sandy beaches, many of which are barely developed for tourists. Also divers and snorkelers get their money, so there near the islands, directly on a deep-water channel are many colorful diving areas with seamounts and wrecks.
According to itypejob.com, the British Virgin Islands are also very popular with sailors, with a constant, not too strong wind blowing between the islands, which ensures optimal conditions. Even beginners can learn to sail here without any problems, or rent a boat with a crew for a low price.
Many of the islands consist only of coral reefs where colonization is impossible. In terms of landscape and appearance, however, these reefs present a fascinating picture.
The first residents probably reached and settled the island as early as the 1st century BC. According to findings, these were the Arawak. They lived here until the Caribs came to the British Virgin Islands in the 15th century and subjugated the Arawak. The famous navigator and explorer Christopher Columbus landed on the islands in 1493 and “discovered” them for the Europeans. The various European states competed for the islands in the period that followed. In 1555 the Spaniards defeated the indigenous population and destroyed them in the following years. In 1648 the Dutch came to the islands and settled them, until 1672 the British came here and annexed the area. The British put on sugar cane plantations and managed them by slaves. Today’s population consists of 90 percent blacks, whose ancestors had to work as slaves here.
British Virgin Islands Key Figures
Area: 151 km²
Population: 25,383 (July 2011 estimate, CIA)
Population density: 168 people per km²
Population growth: 1.741% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: Road Town (8,610 residents, 2006)
Highest point: Mount Sage, 521 m
Lowest point: Caribbean Sea, 0 m
Form of government: The British Virgin Islands have been a British overseas territory since 1672, in the Commonwealth they are regarded as an associated state. The constitution dates from 1977. The Legislative Council in Parliament is composed of 15 members, 13 of whom are directly elected.
Head of Government: Prime Minister Orlando Smith, since November 9, 2011
Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, represented by Governor William Boyd McCleary
Language: The official language in the British Virgin Islands is English.
Religion: 86% of the population are Protestants (thereof 33% Methodists, 17% Anglicans, 9% Church of God, 6% Adventists, 4% Baptists, 2% Jehovah’s Witnesses, 15% other Protestants). Furthermore 10% Catholics, 2% others and 2% no creed.
Local time: CET – 5 h. There is no daylight saving time change in the British Virgin Islands.
The time difference to Central Europe is -5 hours in winter and -6 hours in summer.
International phone code: +1 (284)
Mains voltage: 110 V, 60 Hz. American plugs are quite common, so adapters are often necessary.
British Virgin Islands – Geography
The British Virgin Islands in the Eastern Caribbean are part of the Leeward Islands and comprise 56 islands, only 16 of which are inhabited. Important islands include Beef Island, Anegada, Ginger Island, Cooper Island, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke, Salt Island, Peter Island, Virgin Gorda and Tortola. There are other, smaller, islands around the Sir Francis Drake Canal.
The fairly flat island of Anegada consists of limestone and coral, while the other islands are hilly to mountainous and of volcanic origin. The highest point of the British Virgin Islands with 521 m is reached with Mount Sage on Tortola.
Many flat areas in the British Virgin Islands are used by mango, palm and banana groves. Remains of old rainforests were still found on Tortola.
British Virgin Islands – Climate and the best time to travel
The climate on the British Virgin Islands is tropical and mild, with daily maximum temperatures are moderate due to winds and fluctuate between 25 ° C in winter and 28 ° C in summer. A pleasant climatic aspect of the islands is the combination of winds, which keep the humidity low, and Caribbean currents, which keep the waters warm.
The wettest months are between September and November with short, heavy rains. Hurricanes and tropical storms can occur from July to October. Natural freshwater resources on the islands are limited with the exception of a few rivers (which have no water in summer) and springs on Tortola. Most of the islands’ water supply is covered by wells and collected rainwater.
Best time to travel: The peak of the tourist season is from December to May, although the weather on the British Virgin Island is beautiful all year round. For the most part, this has to do with the rather cool weather in North America and Europe. It is therefore best to plan a visit outside of this time. In the off-season, room prices can drop by up to a third. In addition, the calmer weather between April and August makes the clearer water more suitable for diving.