British Territory in the Indian Ocean

By | July 2, 2022

General information: According to smber, the territory was formed in 1965, part of the islands was transferred to the Seychelles-1 when they received independence in 1976. As a result, the territory includes only six main groups of islands from the Chagos archipelago. The largest and southernmost of the islands, Diego Garcia, is home to a joint US-UK military base. All other islands are uninhabited. Former agricultural workers living on the islands, 1967-73 were relocated mainly to the island of Mauritius, as well as to the Seychelles. In 2000, a British High Court ruling invalidated a local immigration law that kept them out of the archipelago, but confirmed Diego Garcia’s special military status. Geography


Location: South Asia, the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, about halfway between Africa and Indonesia.
Geographical coordinates: 6° 00′ S. latitude, 71° 30’E E.
Reference map:
Area: total: 60 km2; land surface area: 60 km2; water surface area: 0 km2; note: entirely including the area of ​​the Chagos archipelago. Comparative area: about 0.3 the area of ​​Washington, DC.
Comparative area:
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 698 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive fishing rights zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 3 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical marine; hot, humid, moderated by trade winds.
Relief: low and flat (most of the territory does not exceed four meters in height).
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m; highest point: unnamed point on Diego Garcia Atoll 15 m.
Natural resources: coconuts, fish.
Land use: arable land: 0%; cultivated land: 0%; pasture: 0%; forests and plantations: no data; others: no data;
Irrigated land: 0 sq. km. (1993).
Natural hazards: no data available.
Current environmental issues: no data available.
International agreements on environmental protection:
Note to the section “Geography”: the archipelago consists of 2,300 islands; Diego Garcia, the largest and southernmost of them, occupies a strategic position in the middle of the Indian Ocean; There is a joint US-British military base on the island.


Population: no local population; note: Approximately 1,200 agricultural workers from the Chagos Archipelago were relocated to Mauritius and the Seychelles during the construction of the US-British base; in 1995 there were about 1,700 British and American military personnel and 1,500 civilian contract workers on Diego Garcia.


Common long form: British Indian Ocean Territory;
Common short form: does not exist; abbreviation: VYUT. Dependency State: British Overseas Territory; administered by the London-based Foreign and Commonwealth Office Commissioner.
State structure:
Capital city:
Administrative divisions:
National holiday:
Legal system: unknown. Executive:
head of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since February 6, 1952).;
head of the government: Commissioner John WHITE (from when – no data); manager Louise SAVILL (from when – no data); note – both are in the UK;
Government: no data; elections: not held; hereditary monarchy; the commissioner and manager are appointed by the monarch.
Legislative branch:
Judicial branch:
Political parties and leaders:
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations:
Diplomatic representation in the USA: none (overseas territory of Great Britain).
US Diplomatic Representation: None (UK Overseas Territory).
Flag Description: white with six blue wavy horizontal stripes; in the upper quarter, adjacent to the hoist, is the flag of Great Britain; against the background of wavy lines, a palm tree and a yellow crown are depicted, located in the center of the outer half of the flag.


Economic overview: All economic activity is concentrated on the largest island of Diego Garcia, where the joint British-American military installations are located. In the construction and provision of various services necessary for the maintenance of military installations, the military themselves and contracted residents of the UK, Mauritius, the Philippines and the USA are employed. There is no industrial or agricultural production on the islands. When the islanders return, they plan to revive sugarcane production and fishing.


Telecommunications Telephone lines: no data.
Mobile cellular telephones:
Telephone system: separate means of communication for military or public purposes; internal: all types of commercial communication are available, including Internet access; international: international telephone communication is carried out via satellite (2000).
Broadcast stations: AM – 1, FM – 2, shortwave – 0 (1998).
Radio receivers: no data.
Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997).
TVs: no data.
Internet country code: io
Internet service providers: 1 (2000).
Number of users:


Transport Railways:
Roads: total: no data; paved: a short section of highway between the port and the airfield on the island of Diego Garcia; uncoated: no data.
Ports and harbours: Diego Garcia.
Airports: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 1; over 3,047 m: 1 (2000 est.). Armed Forces Armed Forces – note: defense is the responsibility of the UK; the United States lease on Diego Garcia Island expires in 2016.
Airports with unpaved runways:

British Territory in the Indian Ocean