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British Virgin Islands:
Geography

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British Virgin Islands Page


Other pages in this profile of the British Virgin Islands:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
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 US Virgin Islands to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency.
Location
Definition
Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates
Definition
18 30 N, 64 30 W
Map references
Definition
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 153 sq km
land: 153 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: comprised of 16 inhabited and more than 20 uninhabited islands; includes the islands of Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke
Area - comparative
Definition
about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
80 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds
Terrain
Definition
coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Sage 521 m
Natural resources
Definition
NEGL
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 6.67%
other: 73.33% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)
Environment - current issues
Definition
limited natural fresh water resources (except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola, most of the islands' water supply comes from wells and rainwater catchments)
Geography - note
Definition
strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico


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