British Indian Ocean Territory

Last modified

Resources

PAGE LAST UPDATED ON JULY 27, 2011
Flag of British Indian Ocean Territory
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of British Indian Ocean Territory
CLICK FLAG OR MAP TO ENLARGE Opens in New Window
 
Map of British Indian Ocean Territory
CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE Opens in New Window
Photos of British Indian Ocean Territory
 
Navigation Arrow VIEW 1 PHOTO Opens in New Window
OF BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY
 

Introduction

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Formerly administered as part of the British Crown Colony of Mauritius, the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) was established as an overseas territory of the UK in 1965. A number of the islands of the territory were later transferred to the Seychelles when it attained independence in 1976. Subsequently, BIOT has consisted only of the six main island groups comprising the Chagos Archipelago. The largest and most southerly of the islands, Diego Garcia, contains a joint UK-US naval support facility. All of the remaining islands are uninhabited. Between 1967 and 1973, former agricultural workers, earlier residents in the islands, were relocated primarily to Mauritius, but also to the Seychelles. Negotiations between 1971 and 1982 resulted in the establishment of a trust fund by the British Government as compensation for the displaced islanders, known as Chagossians. Beginning in 1998, the islanders pursued a series of lawsuits against the British Government seeking further compensation and the right to return to the territory. In 2006 and 2007, British court rulings invalidated the immigration policies contained in the 2004 BIOT Constitution Order that had excluded the islanders from the archipelago, but upheld the special military status of Diego Garcia. In 2008, the House of Lords, as the final court of appeal in the UK, ruled in favor of the British Government by overturning the lower court rulings and finding no right of return for the Chagossians.
 
Back to Top

Geography

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
archipelago in the Indian Ocean, south of India, about halfway between Africa and Indonesia
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
6 00 S, 71 30 E; note - Diego Garcia 7 20 S, 72 25 E
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 54,400 sq km
country comparison to the world: 128
land: 60 sq km; Diego Garcia 44 sq km
water: 54,340 sq km
note: includes the entire Chagos Archipelago of 55 islands
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
land area is about 0.3 times the size of Washington, DC
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 km
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
698 km
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
tropical marine; hot, humid, moderated by trade winds
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
flat and low (most areas do not exceed two meters in elevation)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Diego Garcia 15 m
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
coconuts, fish, sugarcane
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 sq km
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
archipelago of 55 islands; Diego Garcia, largest and southernmost island, occupies strategic location in central Indian Ocean; island is site of joint US-UK military facility
 
Back to Top

People and Society

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
no indigenous inhabitants
note: approximately 1,200 former agricultural workers resident in the Chagos Archipelago, often referred to as Chagossians or Ilois, were relocated to Mauritius and the Seychelles in the 1960s and 1970s; in November 2004, approximately 4,000 UK and US military personnel and civilian contractors were living on the island of Diego Garcia
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
 
Back to Top

Government

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
conventional long form: British Indian Ocean Territory
conventional short form: none
abbreviation: BIOT
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
overseas territory of the UK; administered by a commissioner, resident in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
the laws of the UK, where applicable, apply
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Commissioner Colin ROBERTS (since July 2008); Administrator John MCMANUS (since April 2011); note - both reside in the UK and are represented by the officer commanding British Forces on Diego Garcia
cabinet: NA
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; commissioner and administrator appointed by the monarch
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
none (overseas territory of the UK)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
none (overseas territory of the UK)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
white with six blue wavy horizontal stripes; the flag of the UK is in the upper hoist-side quadrant; the striped section bears a palm tree and yellow crown (the symbols of the territory) centered on the outer half of the flag; the wavy stripes represent the Indian Ocean; although not officially described, the six blue stripes may stand for the six main atolls of the archipelago
 
Back to Top

Economy

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
All economic activity is concentrated on the largest island of Diego Garcia, where a joint UK-US military facility is located. Construction projects and various services needed to support the military installation are performed by military and contract employees from the UK, Mauritius, the Philippines, and the US. There are no industrial or agricultural activities on the islands. The territory earns foreign exchange by selling fishing licenses and postage stamps.
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by the US military
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA kWh
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
the US dollar is used
 
Back to Top

Communications

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
general assessment: separate facilities for military and public needs are available
domestic: all commercial telephone services are available, including connection to the Internet
international: country code (Diego Garcia) - 246; international telephone service is carried by satellite (2000)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) broadcasts over 3 separate frequencies for US and UK military personnel stationed on the islands (2009)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
.io
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
827 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 169
 
Back to Top

Transportation

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 228
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2010)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
note: short section of paved road between port and airfield on Diego Garcia
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Diego Garcia
 
Back to Top

Military

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
no regular military forces
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
defense is the responsibility of the UK; the US lease on Diego Garcia expires in 2016
 
Back to Top

Transnational Issues

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Islands; in 2001, the former inhabitants of the archipelago, evicted 1967 - 1973, were granted UK citizenship and the right of return, followed by Orders in Council in 2004 that banned rehabitation, a High Court ruling reversing the ban, a Court of Appeal refusal to hear the case, and a Law Lords' decision in 2008 denying the right of return; in addition, the United Kingdom created the world's largest marine protection area around the Chagos islands prohibiting the extraction of any natural resources therein
Page statistics
614 view(s) and 3 edit(s)
Social share
Share this page?

Tags

This page has no custom tags.
This page has no classifications.

Comments

You must to post a comment.

Attachments