WELCOME TO

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

“Vigilate”

WELCOME TO

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

“Vigilate”

  • 27.7
    °C
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A fond welcome to locals and visitors!

Each and every visit to the Caribbean is like no other. There is always something new to learn, places to go or things to do. Sculpted by nature, the islands are ever-changing and evolving. With so many islands to choose from it is never easy to decide on where to stop.
We want to introduce you to our beautifully unique islands. Make sure you stay a while, take your time! In the Caribbean there’s no rush, let’s just ‘go with the flow’.
The more you learn, the more you will want to know, so relax and discover

the wonderful British Virgin Islands

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

ROAD TOWN, THE CAPITAL

Road Town, located on Tortola, is the capital of the British Virgin Islands. It is situated on the horseshoe-shaped Road Harbour in the centre of the island’s south coast. 

The name is derived from the nautical term “the roads”, a place less sheltered than a harbour but which ships can easily get to. This has enabled Road Town to emerge as a haven for yacht chartering and a centre of tourism. This area is the newest part of the city and the hub for the new commercial and administrative buildings of the BVI. The oldest building in Road Town, HM Prison on Main Street, was built in 1774.

ROAD TOWN THE CAPITAL

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Road Town, located on Tortola, is the capital of the British Virgin Islands. It is situated on the horseshoe-shaped Road Harbour in the centre of the island’s south coast. 

The name is derived from the nautical term “the roads“, a place less sheltered than a harbour but which ships can easily get to. This has enabled Road Town to emerge as a haven for yacht chartering and a centre of tourism. This area is the newest part of the city and the hub for the new commercial and administrative buildings of the BVI. The oldest building in Road Town, HM Prison on Main Street, was built in 1774.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS MUST STOPS:

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THE BATHS
This is one of the Virgin Islands’ most unique natural wonders and is at the top of every adventurer’s sightseeing list.  Swim and explore this National Park’s spectacular light-filled grottoes, naturally carved from a series of small sea pools lying beneath a canopy of giant granite boulders.

Information courtesy of bvitourism.com

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FOLK MUSEUM
Located on Main Street just past The Sir Oliva Georges Plaza, the Virgin Island Folk Museum has some Arawak and Carib pottery and stone tools. These include a decorated spindle, wreck of The Rhone and H.M.S. Nymph artefacts, plantation items and reef conservation information. This small museum also sells t-shirts, paintings, maps, and gifts. The VI Folk Museum was established in 1982 by the Virgin Islands Historical Society. The museum was originally housed in a late 19th Century wooden house on Main Street, in what is now the Abbott House. The museum later moved to its current location further up Main Street in 1993. It is currently housed in the Penn House located near the old Post Office. Penn House itself is a fine example of West Indian vernacular style and is an example of the many single and two-storey stone and wooden buildings which lined the winding dirt road that was Main Street. This fascinating old building houses a collection of photographs, crafts and artefacts dating from the arrival of the indigenous Amerindians of 100 B.C.E to present day Virgin Islands.

Information adapted from bvitourism.com

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SAGE MOUNTAIN
Established in 1964, Sage Mountain represents the beginning of conservation in the British Virgin Islands. Through a generous donation from Laurance Rockefeller, the land at Sage Mountain was purchased from farmers and given to the BVI Government as a national park. An entire mohogany trail has been established at Sage Mountain. Sage Mountain is the highest point in the British and US Virgin Islands at 1,716 feet, with panoramic views of all the islands. The main entrance to the Park is a 5-minute walk from the car park. There are twelve trails through the forest with loops creating a circular route.

Information adapted from bvitourism.com

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CALLWOOD DISTILLERY
This site features the original structure of a Sugar Cane distillery. Visitors to this rustic site can purchase samples of rum. The original boiler still operates and produces rum, which is then stored in original storage casks. The old guard house is also intact and has been turned into an art gallery and gift shop.

Information courtesy of bvitourism.com

History of British Virgin Islands

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDSThe Virgin Islands were settled by indigenous people in about 100 B.C.E., and were encountered by Columbus on 22 October 1493. Throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the BVI were under Spanish control, during which time the islands provided temporary anchorages for Spanish convoys hiding from English privateers. The Dutch on Tortola established the first permanent European settlement, in 1602, but by 1666 they had been replaced by English planters. Due to its arid climate and hilly terrain, the BVI were one of the more unprofitable of Great Britain’s plantation islands during the colonial period. As a British colony, the BVI were administered as part of the Leeward Islands Federation from 1872 to 1956. From 1902, when the local BVI legislature was abolished, to 1950, when it was reconstituted, the BVI experienced little in the way of direct governance by Great Britain.

With the breakup of colonial rule in the eastern Caribbean in 1956, the BVI declined both amalgamation with the USVI and membership in the now defunct West Indies Federation of British Islands (1958–1962). Constitutional reform in 1967 established the BVI as a British dependent territory, with a locally elected legislature and chief minister, and also established the U.S. dollar as the official national tender. Increased BVI political autonomy was matched by increased economic autonomy, related to the development of a successful tourism economy beginning in 1962, and the development of an offshore financial services sector beginning in the early 1980s. The expansion of the BVI economy was accomplished through extensive reliance upon imported labour. Of the present-day BVI population of twenty thousand, half are non-British Virgin Islanders drawn to work in its burgeoning tourist and financial services economies. The economic development that fostered radical demographic and social change has gone hand in hand with a growth in BVI nationalist sentiment.

Information courtesy of everyculture.com

UPCOMING EVENTS:

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RADIO
The British Virgin Islands Territorial flag was officially adopted on 15th November 1960.  The flag of the British Virgin Islands consists of a dark blue base with the British Union Jack in the top left corner, and one of the country’s badges on the right side of the flag. The Union Jack represents the country’s ties to Britain, as it is a British Overseas Territory. The badge consists of a green shield with 12 golden oil lamps with red flames and a female figure, St. Ursula. This is the patron saint of the British Virgin Islands attired in white and wearing sandals, carrying one of those lamps. Beneath the shield there is a golden ribbon that says ‘vigilate’, which means ‘be watchful’.

Information adapted from worldflags101.com

BAHAMAS
It is said that when Columbus discovered the British Virgin Islands in 1493, he named them ‘Las Virgenes’ in honor of St. Ursula and her companions. The eleven lamps which surround the figure of St. Ursula each represent 1,000 of the 11,000 Virgins who, according to the legend, were martyred along with St. Ursula. Beneath the shield there is a golden ribbon that says ‘vigilate’, which means ‘be watchful’.

Information adapted from worldflags101.com

Out of the huts of history’s pain

Our ancestors bled and died!

But with strength and will power we overcame

To restore Beautiful Virgin Islands pride!

To preserve our beauty we devised a plan

To retain ownership of your precious lands!

Educating our people is the golden key

To maintain the success of this Territory!

We shall protect your bountiful shores

And uphold your dignity!

We shall fight to preserve your culture

Your splendour and integrity!

And we shall never fail to understand

How blessed we are to possess this land!

So we shall unite standing proud and tall

Let none divide us, lest we fall!

Chorus

Oh how radiant are your daughters!

And how wealthy are your sons!

Your beaches boast your beauty!

And your success is second to none!

Green and brilliant are your hillsides!

They replenish our hopes and pride!

Oh Beautiful Virgin Islands!

Your qualities can never be denied!

May God richly bless this country!

May we ask three things of thee…

Courage for our great leaders

That they may rule our destiny!

We ask for wisdom for our people

That we may live in harmony!

And understanding for children

So they may cherish this legacy!

Chorus

BASIC INFO:

  • TIME ZONE:

    Atlantic Standard Time (AST)

  • CAPITAL CITY

    Road Town

  • LANGUAGE

    English

  • INDEPENDENCE

    British overseas territory 

  • ETHNIC GROUPS

    black 82%, white 6.8%, other 11.2% (includes Indian and mixed) (2008)

  • POPULATION

    32,680 (2014)

  • NATIONAL DISH

    Fish and fungi

    Check out the recipe

  • CURRENCY

    United States Dollar

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Augustus Jaspert

Governor
Andrew Fahie Premier of the British Virgin Islands

The Hon. Andrew Fahie

Premier

Governors

DEREK GEORGE CUDMORE

TOOK OFFICE: 1971 – LEFT OFFICE: 1974

WALTER WILKINSON WALLACE

TOOK OFFICE: 1974 – LEFT OFFICE – 1978

JAMES ALFRED DAVIDSON

TOOK OFFICE 1978 – LEFT OFFICE: 1982

DAVID ROBERT BARWICK

TOOK OFFICE: 1982 – LEFT OFFICE: 1986

MARK HERDMAN

TOOK OFFICE: 1986 – LEFT OFFICE: 1991

PETER PENFOLD

TOOK OFFICE: 1991 – LEFT OFFICE: 1995

DAVID MACKILLIGIN

TOOK OFFICE: 1995 – LEFT OFFICE: 1998

FRANK SAVAGE

TOOK OFFICE: 1998 – LEFT OFFICE: 2002

ELTON GEORGES (acting)

TOOK OFFICE: 2002

TOM MACAN

TOOK OFFICE: 2002 – LEFT OFFICE: 2006

DANCIA PENN (acting)

TOOK OFFCE: 2006

DAVID PEAREY

TOOK OFFICE: 2006 – LEFT OFFICE: 2010

V. INEZ ARCHIBALD (acting)

TOOK OFFICE: 2010

WILLIAM BOYD MCCLEARY

TOOK OFFICE: 2010 – LEFT OFFICE: 01/08/2014

V. INEZ ARCHIBALD (acting)

TOOK OFFICE: 01/08/2014 – LEFT OFFICE: 15/08/2014

JOHN DUNCAN

TOOK OFFICE: 15/08/2014 – LEFT OFFICE: 08/08/2017

ROBERT A. MATHAVIOUS (acting)

TOOK OFFICE: 08/08/2017 – LEFT OFFICE: 12/08/2017

ROSALIE ADAMS (acting)

TOOK OFFICE: 12/08/2017 – LEFT OFFICE: 22/08/2017

AUGUSTUS JASPERT

TOOK OFFICE:  22/08/2017 – INCUMBENT

Premiers

RALPH O'NEAL

(1933–)

TOOK OFFICE: 23/08/2007 – LEFT OFFICE: 09/11/2011

D. ORLANDO SMITH

(1944–)

TOOK OFFICE: 09/11/2011 – LEFT OFFICE: 25/02/2019

ANDREW FAHIE

(1970–)

TOOK OFFICE: 26/02/2019 – INCUMBENT

LINK DIRECTORY:

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Contributors

The team at caribbean1st.com would like to thank all contributors. The amazing websites we found that hold a wealth of resources and the individuals who have taken time to send us information and great pictures.

Our aim is to offer a complete and useful list of information to discover each island and their people. Your contribution would be much appreciated. Please feel free to send us any information that you would like us to feature in this website and we will do our best to keep every page up to date.