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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 US Virgin Islands to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency.


Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico

Natural Resources

NEGL; pleasant climate, beaches foster tourism

Population - distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout the inhabited islands, with the largest islands of Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke having the largest populations

English (official)
ROAD TOWN (capital) 13,000 (2014)
Conventional long form
Conventional short form
British Virgin Islands
Local long form
Local short form
parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Road Town
Geographic coordinates
18 25 N, 64 37 W
Time difference
UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
The economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism, which generates an estimated 45% of the national income. More than 934,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 2008. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959.
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
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Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
Exports of goods and services
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
Commercial Service Exports
fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish
tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore banking center
rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand
building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery
Country Risk Rating
Business Climate Rating

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