British Virgin Islands – British Overseas Territory

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands is a group of 36 islands and islets (total area 153 sq km) located northeast of the Virgin Islands (USA). Only 16 islands are inhabited, the largest being Tortola (55 km²), Anegada (38 km²), Virgin Gorda (21 km²) and Jost Van Dyke (8 km²). The capital, Rod Town, is located on the island of Tortola. The population of all islands is about 25 thousand people, while about 90% of them live on Tortola.

The British Virgin Islands is a British Overseas Territory. The official language of the BVI is English. The main currency is the U.S. dollar (since 1959).

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Geography

The islands are mostly hilly, some are flat: the highest point of Tortola Island is 530 meters and Anegada Island is only 8 meters.

There are no rivers and lakes, the groundwater is deep. Previously (and still today), rainwater was collected in tanks, now, where possible, use desalination plants.

The vegetation and fauna of the islands have been largely destroyed by humans.

The climate is tropical, trade winds, hot and humid, with two dry seasons. Hurricanes are fairly frequent (July to October).

History

The islands were inhabited in the 1st century BC by the Arawaks, who were later, in the 15th century, subjugated by the Caribs, a militant tribe of the Lesser Antilles, after whom the Caribbean Sea was named.

In 1493 Christopher Columbus discovered the Virgin Islands. Spain declared the Virgin Islands its possession, but did not begin to develop them. The English, Dutch, French, Danes, and pirates showed interest in the islands. The Indian population was virtually eliminated.

After an attempted settlement of Tortola by the Dutch in 1648, it was captured by England in 1672. Then, in 1680, the English occupied the islands of Anegada and Virgin Gorda. The English began to develop sugar cane plantations. For this purpose they imported negro slaves from Africa.

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In 1834 England abolished slavery, and contract laborers from India and Portugal were hired to work on the plantations instead of Negroes.

Political structure

British overseas territory. Since 1967 the British Overseas Territory is self-administered.

The governing body of the BVI is the Executive Council, headed by a governor appointed by the British Foreign Office and consisting of the chief minister, three ministers, and the attorney general.

The legislature, a unicameral Assembly, consists of 13 members elected for 4 years and one ex officio member (attorney general).

Political parties: the Virgin Islands Party and the National Democratic Party. Not represented in the Assembly are the Concerned Citizens Movement and the United Party. In the November 7, 2011 parliamentary elections, 49.4% of voters voted for the National Democrats and 42% voted for the Virgin Islands Party. In the Assembly, the National Democratic Party won 9 seats, while their main competitors won 4. Orlando Smith became Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the British Virgin Islands.

Population

  • Population – 24,939 (estimate as of July 2010).
  • Annual growth rate – 1.8% (almost half the growth rate is due to immigration).
  • Ethno-racial composition: black 82.0%, white 6.8%, and 11.2% others (including Indians, mulatto) (as of the 2008 Census).
  • Religions: Protestants 84%, Catholics 10%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 2%, Others 2%, and Atheists 2% (1991 Census).
  • Literacy – 98%.

Economy

The BVI economy is the most stable and booming in the Caribbean.

The main economic activity is tourism (about 800K tourists visit the islands annually, mostly from the US), also the financial sector is constantly growing in importance.

In British Virgin Islands there is no corporate income tax (corporation tax) and personal income tax (income tax), also there is no VAT and sales tax. However, a commercial company must pay an annual fee, depending on the maximum amount of shares allowed for issue and the date of incorporation.

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The British Virgin Islands are a popular offshore jurisdiction, including among Russian entrepreneurs. At the moment more than 650 thousand companies are registered: up to 40% of all offshore companies in the world. Offshore companies are mainly regulated by the British Virgin Islands Business Companies Ordinance, 2004 (BVI International Business Companies Ordinance, 2004). The main factors are: low cost of registration and maintenance of a legal entity, no residency requirements for directors, formal requirements to the minimum amount of share capital, and the ability to quickly (literally, in 1 day) to register a company. Another attractive point until recently was the confidentiality: the British Virgin Islands have no unified register of beneficiaries. In addition, information about the owner of the company is available only to a certain circle of people. However, more recently the authorities of the British overseas jurisdiction have started discussing the possibility of creating a single public registry of owners: the BVI Financial Services Commission has published on its website a governmental consultation paper on beneficial ownership information, the expert discussion of which will last until December 31, 2013.

Industry – rum production, light industry, construction.

Agriculture – the cultivation of sugar cane (for the production of rum), vegetables and fruits, livestock and poultry, fishing.

Since 1959 the British Virgin Islands use the U.S. dollar as their currency.

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands , BVI is a group of 36 islands and islets (total land area of 153 km²) located northeast of the United States Virgin Islands. Only 16 islands and islets are inhabited.

The largest islands are Tortola (55 km²), Anegada (38 km²), Virgin Gorda (21 km²), and Jost Van Dyke (8 km²).

The capital, Rod Town, is located on the island of Tortola. The population of all the islands is about 25 thousand people, with about 90% of them living on Tortola.

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The British Virgin Islands is a British Overseas Territory. The official language of the BVI is English.

Content

History

The islands were inhabited in the 1st century BC by the Arawaks, who were later, in the 15th century, subjugated by the Caribs, a militant tribe of the Lesser Antilles, after whom the Caribbean Sea was named.

In 1493 Christopher Columbus discovered the Virgin Islands. Spain declared the Virgin Islands its possession, but did not begin to develop them. The English, Dutch, French, Danes, and pirates showed interest in the islands. The Indian population was virtually eliminated.

After an attempted settlement of Tortola by the Dutch in 1648, it was captured by England in 1672. Then, in 1680, the English occupied the islands of Anegada and Virgin Gorda. The English began to develop sugar cane plantations. For this purpose they imported negro slaves from Africa.

In 1834 England abolished slavery, and contract laborers from India and Portugal were hired to work on the plantations instead of Negroes.

Geography

The islands are mostly hilly, some are flat: the highest point of Tortola Island is 530 meters and Anegada Island is only 8 meters.

There are no rivers and lakes, the groundwater is deep. Previously (and still today), rainwater was collected in tanks, now, where possible, use desalination plants.

The vegetation and fauna of the islands have been largely destroyed by humans.

The climate is tropical, trade winds, hot and humid, with two dry seasons. Hurricanes are fairly frequent (July to October).

Political structure

The governing body of the BVI is the Executive Council, headed by a governor appointed by the British Foreign Office and consisting of the chief minister, three ministers, and the attorney general.

The legislature, a unicameral Assembly, consists of 13 members elected for 4 years and one ex officio member (attorney general).

Political parties: Virgin Islands Party and National Democratic Party. Not represented in the Assembly are the Concerned Citizens Movement and the United Party. In the November 7, 2011 parliamentary elections, 49.4% of voters voted for the National Democrats and 42% voted for the Virgin Islands Party. In the Assembly, the National Democratic Party won 9 seats, while their main competitors won 4 seats [1] . Orlando Smith became the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the British Virgin Islands.

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Administrative division

District Administrative Centre Area km² Population (2006) people Density km²
1 Tortola Rhode Town 59,2 16 630 280,91
2 Anegada Settlement 38,6 204 5,28
3 Virgin Gorda Spanish Town 21,2 3 063 144,48
4 Yost Van Dyke Greit Harbor 8,3 176 21,20
5 Other islands Greit Harbor 25,7 181 7,04
Total 153,0 20 254 132,38

Note: The “other islands” include small islets (Ginger, Norman, Cooper, Salt, and others) that are south of Tortola Island and are called Little Sisters Islands.

Population

Population – 24,939 (July 2010 estimate) [2] .

Annual growth rate – 1.8% (almost half the growth rate is due to immigration).

Ethno-racial composition: black 82.0%, white 6.8%, and 11.2% others (including Indians, mulatto) (as of the 2008 Census).

Religions: Protestants 84%, Catholics 10%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 2%, Others 2%, and Atheists 2% (1991 Census).

Economy

The BVI economy is the most stable and booming in the Caribbean.

The main economic activity is tourism (about 800K tourists visit the islands annually, mostly from the US), also the financial sector is constantly growing in importance.

In the British Virgin Islands there is no corporate income tax (corporation tax) and personal income tax (income tax), also there is no VAT and sales tax [3].

The British Virgin Islands are a popular offshore jurisdiction, including among Russian entrepreneurs. At present more than 650 thousand companies are registered: up to 40% of all offshore companies in the world. Offshore companies are governed mainly by the British Virgin Islands Business Companies Ordinance, 2004 (BVI International Business Companies Ordinance, 2004). The main factors are: low cost of registration and maintenance of a legal entity, no residency requirements for directors, formal requirements to the minimum amount of share capital, and the ability to quickly (literally, in 1 day) to register a company.

Industry – rum production, light industry, construction.

Agriculture – the cultivation of sugar cane (for the production of rum), vegetables and fruits, livestock and poultry, fishing.

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Since 1959 the British Virgin Islands use the U.S. dollar as their currency.

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