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The British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
(BOT) or alternatively, United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are 14 territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom.[1][2] They are the parts of the British Empire
British Empire
that have not been granted independence or have voted to remain British territories. These territories do not form part of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and, with the exception of Gibraltar, are not part of the European Union. Most of the inhabited territories are internally self-governing, with the UK retaining responsibility for defence and foreign relations. The rest are either uninhabited or have a transitory population of military or scientific personnel. They share the British monarch (Elizabeth II) as head of state. The term "British Overseas Territory" was introduced by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, replacing the term British Dependent Territory, introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981. Prior to 1 January 1983, the territories were officially referred to as British Crown Colonies. With the exceptions of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
(which host only officials and research station staff) and the British Indian Ocean Territory (used as a military base), the Territories retain permanent civilian populations. Permanent residency for the approximately 7,000 civilians living in the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia is limited to citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. Collectively, the Territories encompass a population of about 250,000 people and a land area of about 1,727,570 square kilometres (667,020 sq mi). The vast majority of this land area, 1,700,000 square kilometres (660,000 sq mi), constitutes the almost uninhabited British Antarctic Territory, while the largest territory by population, Bermuda, accounts for almost a quarter of the total BOT population. At the other end of the scale, three territories have no civilian population; the Antarctic territory, the British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory (from which the Chagos Islanders were controversially removed) and South Georgia. Pitcairn Islands, settled by the survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty, is the smallest settled territory with 49 inhabitants, while the smallest by land area is Gibraltar
Gibraltar
on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula.[3][4] The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
participates in the Antarctic Treaty System[5] and, as part of a mutual agreement, the British Antarctic Territory
British Antarctic Territory
is recognised by four of the six other sovereign nations making claims to Antarctic territory. Although the Crown dependencies
Crown dependencies
of Jersey, Guernsey
Guernsey
and the Isle of Man are also under the sovereignty of the British monarch, they are in a different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom.[6][7] The British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
and Crown Dependencies are themselves distinct from the Commonwealth realms, a group of 15 independent countries (and the United Kingdom) each having Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II
as their reigning monarch, and from the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 52 countries mostly with historic links to the British Empire (which also includes all Commonwealth realms). As of August 2014[update] the Minister responsible for the Territories excluding the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar
Gibraltar
and the Sovereign Base Areas is Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN. The other three territories are the responsibility of Sir Alan Duncan
Alan Duncan
MP, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas.[8]

Contents

1 Current overseas territories

1.1 Map

2 History 3 Government

3.1 Head of state 3.2 Local government 3.3 Legal system 3.4 Joint Ministerial Council

4 Relations with the United Kingdom

4.1 Foreign affairs 4.2 Citizenship 4.3 Military

5 Languages 6 Currencies 7 Symbols and insignia 8 Sports 9 Biodiversity 10 See also 11 References 12 Further reading 13 External links

Current overseas territories[edit] The fourteen British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
are:[9]

Flag Arms Name Location Motto Area Population Capital

Akrotiri and Dhekelia Cyprus, Mediterranean Sea

0000255 !255 km2 (98 sq mi)[10] 07700 !7,700 (Cypriots; estimate) 8,000 non-permanent (UK military personnel and their families; estimate) Episkopi Cantonment

Anguilla Caribbean, North Atlantic Ocean "Strength and Endurance" 0000091 !91 km2 (35.1 sq mi)[11] 13500 !13,500 (2006 estimate)[12] The Valley

Bermuda North Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
between Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
and Cape Sable Island, Canada "Quo fata ferunt" (Latin; "Whither the Fates carry [us]") 0000054 !54 km2 (20.8 sq mi)[13] 64000 !64,000 (2007 estimate)[14] Hamilton

British Antarctic Territory Antarctica "Research and discovery" 37645 !1,709,400 km2 (660,000 sq mi)[11] 00000 !0 50 non-permanent in winter, over 400 in summer (research personnel)[15] Rothera (main base)

British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory Indian Ocean "In tutela nostra Limuria" (Latin; " Limuria
Limuria
is in our charge") 0000046 !46 km2 (18 sq mi)[16] 00000 !0 3,000 non-permanent (UK and US military and staff personnel; estimate)[17] Diego Garcia
Diego Garcia
(base)

British Virgin Islands Caribbean, North Atlantic Ocean "Vigilate" (Latin; "Be watchful") 0000153 !153 km2 (59 sq mi)[18] 27000 !27,000 (2005 estimate)[18] Road Town

Cayman Islands Caribbean, North Atlantic Ocean "He hath founded it upon the seas" 0000264 !264 km2 (101.9 sq mi)[19] 56092 !56,092 (2013 estimate)[19] George Town

Falkland Islands South Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
A !South Atlantic Ocean "Desire the right" 0012173 !12,173 km2 (4,700 sq mi)[13] 02955 !2,955 (2006 census)[20] 1,350 non-permanent (UK military personnel; 2012 estimate) Stanley

Gibraltar Iberian Peninsula, Continental Europe "Nulli expugnabilis hosti" (Latin; "No enemy shall expel us") 0000006.5 !6.5 km2 (2.5 sq mi)[21] 28800 !28,800 (2005 estimate)[22] 1,250 non-permanent (UK military personnel; 2012 estimate) Gibraltar

Montserrat Caribbean, North Atlantic Ocean "A people of excellence, moulded by nature, nurtured by God" 0000101 !101 km2 (39 sq mi)[23] 04655 !4,655 (2006 estimate)[23] Plymouth (abandoned due to volcano—de facto capital is Brades)

Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands Pacific Ocean

0000045 !47 km2 (18 sq mi)[24] 00049 !49 (2014 estimate)[25] 6 non-permanent (2014 estimate)[26] Adamstown

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
A !Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, including: South Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
B !South Atlantic Ocean

0000420 !420 km2 (162 sq mi) 05530 !5,530 (total; estimate) Jamestown

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
B !Saint Helena South Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
C ! "Loyal and Unshakeable" (Saint Helena) 0000419.9 ! 05529.9 !4,255 (Saint Helena; 2008 census)[27]

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
B !Ascension Island South Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
C !

0000419.9 ! 05529.9 !880 (Ascension; estimate)[28] 1,000 non-permanent (Ascension; UK military personnel; estimate)[28]

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
B !Tristan da Cunha South Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
C ! "Our faith is our strength" (Tristan da Cunha) 0000419.9 ! 05529.9 !300 (Tristan da Cunha; estimate)[28] 9 non-permanent (Tristan da Cunha; weather personnel)

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
D !South Atlantic Ocean "Leo terram propriam protegat" (Latin; "Let the lion protect his own land") 0004066 !4,066 km2 (1,570 sq mi)[29] 00000 !0 99 non-permanent (officials and research personnel)[30] King Edward Point

Turks and Caicos Islands Lucayan Archipelago, North Atlantic Ocean

0000430 !430 km2 (166 sq mi)[31] 32000 !32,000 (2006 census)[31] Cockburn Town

Overall

1,727,570 km2 c. 250,000

Map[edit]

  British Overseas Territories   United Kingdom   Crown dependencies

History[edit] Main articles: British Empire, Territorial evolution of the British Empire, and List of countries that have gained independence from the United Kingdom

St. George's town, in the Islands of Bermuda, or "The Somers Isles". The colony was founded by the wrecking of the flagship of the Virginia Company in 1609. The Company's charter was extended to include Bermuda in 1612, and it has remained a British colony ever since. Since the rebellion of Virginia, it has been the oldest-remaining British colony, and the town of St. George's is the oldest continuously inhabited British settlement in the New World.[32]

Early colonies, in the sense of English subjects residing in lands hitherto outside the control of the English government, were generally known as "Plantations". The first, unofficial, colony was Newfoundland, where English fishermen routinely set up seasonal camps in the 16th century.[33] It is now a province of Canada
Canada
known as Newfoundland and Labrador. It retains strong cultural ties with Britain. English colonisation of North America began officially in 1607 with the settlement of Jamestown, the first successful permanent colony in Virginia
Virginia
(a term that was then applied generally to North America). Its offshoot, Bermuda, was settled inadvertently after the wrecking of the Virginia
Virginia
company's flagship there in 1609, with the Virginia Company's charter extended to officially include the archipelago in 1612. St. George's town, founded in Bermuda
Bermuda
in that year, remains the oldest continuously inhabited British settlement in the New World (with some historians stating that – its formation predating the 1619 conversion of "James Fort" into "Jamestown" – St. George's was actually the first successful town the English established in the New World). Bermuda
Bermuda
and Bermudians have played important, sometimes pivotal, but generally underestimated or unacknowledged roles in the shaping of the English and British trans-Atlantic Empires. These include maritime commerce, settlement of the continent and of the West Indies, and the projection of naval power via the colony's privateers, among other areas.[34][35] The growth of the British Empire
British Empire
in the 19th century, to its territorial peak in the 1920s, saw Britain acquire nearly one quarter of the world's land mass, including territories with large indigenous populations in Asia and Africa. From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, the larger settler colonies – in Canada, Australia, New Zealand
New Zealand
and South Africa – first became self-governing colonies and then achieved independence in all matters except foreign policy, defence and trade. Separate self-governing colonies federated to become Canada
Canada
(in 1867), Australia
Australia
(in 1901), South Africa
South Africa
(in 1910), and Rhodesia (in 1965). These and other large self-governing colonies had become known as Dominions by the 1920s. The Dominions achieved almost full independence with the Statute of Westminster
Westminster
(1931).

Many of the overseas territories are in the Caribbean, as shown on the map.

Through a process of decolonisation following the Second World War, most of the British colonies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean
Caribbean
gained independence. Some colonies became Commonwealth realms, retaining the British monarch as their own head of state.[36] Most former colonies and protectorates became member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, a non-political, voluntary association of equal members, comprising a population of around 2.2 billion people.[37] After the independence of Southern Rhodesia
Southern Rhodesia
(now Zimbabwe) in Africa in 1980 and British Honduras
British Honduras
(now Belize) in Central America in 1981, the last major colony that remained was Hong Kong, with a population of over 5 million.[38] With 1997 approaching, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and China negotiated the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which led to the whole of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
becoming a "special administrative region" of China in 1997, subject to various conditions intended to guarantee the preservation of Hong Kong's capitalist economy and its way of life under British rule for at least 50 years after the handover. George Town in the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
has consequently become the largest city in the Overseas Territories. In 2002, the British Parliament passed the British Overseas Territories Act 2002. This reclassified the UK's dependent territories as overseas territories and, with the exception of those people solely connected with the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus, restored full British citizenship to their inhabitants.[39] Government[edit]

McKeeva Bush, Premier of the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
in 2012

Head of state[edit]

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The head of state in the overseas territories is the British monarch, Elizabeth II. The Queen's role in the territories is in her role as Queen of the United Kingdom, and not in right of each territory.[citation needed] The Queen appoints a representative in each territory to exercise her executive power. In territories with a permanent population, a Governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British Government, usually a retired senior military officer,[citation needed] or a senior civil servant. In territories without a permanent population, a Commissioner is usually appointed to represent the Queen. Exceptionally, in the overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, an Administrator is appointed to be the Governor's representative in each of the two distant parts of the territory, namely Ascension Island
Ascension Island
and Tristan da Cunha. The role of the Governor is to act as the de facto head of state, and they are usually responsible for appointing the head of government, and senior political positions in the territory. The Governor is also responsible for liaising with the UK Government, and carrying out any ceremonial duties. A Commissioner has the same powers as a Governor, but also acts as the head of government.[citation needed] Local government[edit] Main article: List of current heads of government in the United Kingdom and dependencies § Overseas Territories See also: List of leaders of dependent territories All the overseas territories have their own system of government, and localised laws. The structure of the government appears to be closely correlated to the size and political development of the territory.[citation needed]

Territories Government

British Antarctic Territory South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

There is no native or permanent population; therefore there is no elected government. The Commissioner, supported by an Administrator, run the affairs of the territory.

British Indian Ocean Territory

There is no elected government, as there is no native settled population. The Chagos Islanders – who were forcibly evicted from the territory in 1971 – won a High Court Judgement allowing them to return, but this was then overridden by an Order in Council preventing them from returning. The final appeal to the House of Lords
House of Lords
(regarding the lawfulness of the Order in Council) was decided in the government's favour, exhausting the islanders' legal options in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
at present.

Akrotiri and Dhekelia

There is no elected government. The Commander British Forces Cyprus acts as the territory's Administrator, with a Chief Officer responsible for day-to-day running of the civil government. As far as possible, there is convergence of laws[clarification needed] with those of the Republic of Cyprus.

Pitcairn Islands

There are an elected Mayor and Island Council, who have the power to propose and administer local legislation. However, their decisions are subject to approval by the Governor, who retains near-unlimited powers of plenary legislation on behalf of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Government.

Falkland Islands

The Government consists of an elected Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Executive and the Director of Corporate Resources as ex officio members.[40]

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

The Government consists of an elected Legislative Council. The Governor is the head of government and leads the Executive Council, consisting of appointed members made up from the Legislative Council and two ex-officio members. Governance on Ascension Island
Ascension Island
and Tristan da Cunha is led by Administrators who are advised by elected Island Councils.[41]

Anguilla British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Montserrat

These territories have a House of Assembly, Legislative Assembly (Cayman Islands), or Legislative Council (Montserrat) with political parties. The Executive Council is usually called a cabinet and is led by a Premier or a Chief Minister (in Anguilla), who is the leader of the majority party in parliament. The Governor exercises less power over local affairs and deals mostly with foreign affairs and economic issues, while the elected government controls most "domestic" concerns.[citation needed]

Gibraltar

Under the Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Constitution Order 2006 which was approved in Gibraltar
Gibraltar
by a referendum, Gibraltar
Gibraltar
now has a Parliament. The Government of Gibraltar, headed by the Chief Minister, is elected. Defence, external affairs and internal security vest in the Governor.[42]

Bermuda

Bermuda, settled in 1609, and self-governed since 1620, is the oldest and most populous of the Overseas Territories. The bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate and a House of Assembly, and most executive powers have been devolved to the head of government, known as the Premier.[citation needed]

Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands
adopted a new constitution effective 9 August 2006; their head of government now also has the title Premier, their legislature is called the House of Assembly, and their autonomy has been greatly increased.[citation needed]

Legal system[edit]

British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
Joint Ministerial Council

Type

Type

Dialogue forum

Seats 28-30

Elections

Voting system

All members elected either as MPs in the UK cabinet or as heads of Government or Ministers in Overseas Territories.

Meeting place

Westminster, London

Website

www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/overseas-territories-joint-ministerial-council

Each overseas territory has its own legal system independent of the United Kingdom. The legal system is generally based on English common law, with some distinctions for local circumstances. Each territory has its own attorney general, and court system. For the smaller territories, the UK may appoint a UK-based lawyer or judge to work on legal cases. This is particularly important for cases involving serious crimes and where it is impossible to find a jury who will not know the defendant in a small population island.[citation needed] The Pitcairn sexual assault trial of 2004 is an example of how the UK may choose to provide the legal framework for particular cases where the territory cannot do so alone. Joint Ministerial Council[edit] A joint ministerial council of UK ministers, and the leaders of the Overseas Territories has been held annually since 2012 to provide representation between UK Government departments and Overseas Territory Governments.[43] Relations with the United Kingdom[edit]

Leaders of the Overseas Territories with former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012.

Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
on 6 February 2013, as seen from space. The population was temporarily evacuated to the UK in 1961 because of an eruption. Postal code TDCU 1ZZ

Coastline at Little Bay, the site of the new capital of Montserrat replacing Plymouth. The project is funded by the[44] UK's Department for International Development.

British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
at the same geographic scale as the UK.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(FCO) has the responsibility of looking after the interests of all overseas territories except the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence.[45][46] Within the FCO, the general responsibility for the territories is handled by the Overseas Territories Directorate.[47] In 2012, the FCO published The Overseas Territories: security, success and sustainability which set out Britain's policy for the Overseas Territories, covering six main areas:[48]

Defence, security and safety of the territories and their people Successful and resilient economies Cherishing the environment Making government work better Vibrant and flourishing communities Productive links with the wider world

Britain and the overseas territories do not have diplomatic representations, although the governments of the overseas territories with indigenous populations all retain a representative office in London. The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) also represents the interests of the territories in London. The governments in both London
London
and territories occasionally meet to mitigate or resolve disagreements over the process of governance in the territories and levels of autonomy.[49] Britain provides financial assistance to the overseas territories via the Department for International Development. Currently[when?] only Montserrat
Montserrat
and Saint Helena
Saint Helena
receive budgetary aid (i.e. financial contribution to recurrent funding).[citation needed] Several specialist funds are made available by the UK, including:

The Good Government Fund which provides assistance on government administration; The Economic Diversification Programme Budget which aim to diversify and enhance the economic bases of the territories.

The territories have no official representation in the UK Parliament, but have informal representation through the All-Party Parliamentary Group,[50] and can petition the UK Government through the Directgov e-Petitions website.[51] Only Gibraltar
Gibraltar
has representation in the European Parliament
European Parliament
and it shares its Member with the region of South West England. Two national parties, UKIP
UKIP
and the Liberal Democrats, have endorsed calls for direct representation of overseas territories in the UK Parliament, as well as backbench members of the Conservative Party and Labour Party.[52][53][54][55] Foreign affairs[edit] See also: Special
Special
member state territories and the European Union

Map showing the portion of Antarctica
Antarctica
claimed by the UK as British Antarctic Territory.

Gibraltar
Gibraltar
is the only overseas territory included in the European Union

Foreign affairs of the overseas territories are handled by the FCO in London. Some territories maintain diplomatic officers in nearby countries for trade and immigration purposes. Several of the territories in the Americas maintain membership within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean
Caribbean
States, the Caribbean
Caribbean
Community, the Caribbean
Caribbean
Development Bank, Caribbean
Caribbean
Disaster Emergency Management Agency, and the Association of Caribbean
Caribbean
States. The territories are members of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
through the United Kingdom. The inhabited territories compete in their own right at the Commonwealth Games, and three of the territories (Bermuda, the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
and the British Virgin Islands) sent teams to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Gibraltar
Gibraltar
is the only overseas territory that is part of the European Union (EU), although it is not part of the European Customs Union, the European Tax Policy, the European Statistics Zone or the Common Agriculture Policy. Gibraltar
Gibraltar
is not a member of the European Union
European Union
in its own right. The Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus
Cyprus
are not part of the European Union, but they are the only British overseas territory to use the euro as official currency. None of the other Overseas Territories are members of the EU, the main body of EU law does not apply and, although certain slices of EU law are applied to those territories as part of the EU's Association of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT Association), they are not commonly enforceable in local courts. The OCT Association also provides overseas territories with structural funding for regeneration projects. Since the return of full British citizenship[56] to most 'belongers' of overseas territories (mainly since the British Overseas Territories Act 2002), the citizens of those territories hold concurrent European Union citizenship, giving them rights of free movement across all EU member states. Several nations dispute the UK's sovereignty in the following overseas territories:

Akrotiri and Dhekelia – claimed by Cyprus British Antarctic Territory – Territory overlaps Antarctic claims made by Chile
Chile
and Argentina British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory – claimed by Mauritius
Mauritius
and Seychelles Falkland Islands – claimed by Argentina Gibraltar – claimed by Spain South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands – claimed by Argentina

Citizenship[edit]

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Main article: British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
citizen None of the overseas territories has its own nationality status, and all citizens are classed as British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
citizens (BOTC). They do, however, have legislative independence over immigration, and holding the status of a BOTC does not automatically give a person a right of abode in any of the territories, as it depends on the territory's immigration laws. A territory may issue Belonger status to allow a person classed as a BOTC to reside in the territory that they have close links with. Non-BOTC citizens may acquire Belonger status to reside in a particular territory (and may subsequently become naturalised BOTC if they wish).

Thousands of Gibraltarians dress in their national colours of red and white during the 2013 Gibraltar
Gibraltar
National Day celebrations.

Historically, most inhabitants of the British Empire
British Empire
held the status of British subject, which was usually lost upon independence. From 1949, British subjects in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and the remaining colonies became citizens of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and Colonies. However changes in British immigration and nationality law between 1962 and 1983 saw the creation of a separate British Dependent Territories citizenship (BDTC) with effect from January 1983. Citizens in most territories were stripped of full British citizenship. This was mainly to prevent a mass exodus of the citizens of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
to the UK before the agreed handover to China in 1997. Exception was made for the Falkland Islands, which had been invaded in 1982 by Argentina. Full British citizenship was soon returned to the people of Gibraltar having regard to the friction with Spain. However, the British Overseas Territories Act 2002
British Overseas Territories Act 2002
replaced British Dependent Territory citizenship with British Overseas Territories citizenship (BOTC), and restored full British citizenship to all BOTCs except those from Akrotiri and Dhekelia. This restored to BOTCs the right to reside in the UK. British citizens, however, do not have an automatic right to reside in any of the Overseas Territories. Some territories prohibit immigration, and any visitors are required to seek the permission of the territory's government to live in the territory. Military[edit]

RAF Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands

Defence of the Overseas Territories is the responsibility of the UK. Many of the overseas territories are used as military bases by the UK and its allies.

Ascension Island
Ascension Island
(part of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha) – the Base known as RAF Ascension Island
Ascension Island
is used by both the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
and the United States
United States
Air Force. Bermuda – became the primary Royal Navy
Royal Navy
base in America, following US independence. The Naval establishment included an admiralty, a dockyard, and a naval squadron. A considerable military garrison was built up to protect it, and Bermuda, which the British Government came to see as a base, rather than as a colony, was known as Fortress Bermuda, and the Gibraltar
Gibraltar
of the West (Bermudians, like Gibraltarians, also dub their territory "The Rock").[57] Canada
Canada
and the USA also established bases in Bermuda
Bermuda
during the Second World War, which were maintained through the Cold War. Four air bases were located in Bermuda
Bermuda
during the Second World War (operated by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, US Navy, and US Army/Army Air Force). Since 1995, the military force in Bermuda
Bermuda
has been reduced to the local territorial battalion, the Royal Bermuda
Bermuda
Regiment. British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory – the island of Diego Garcia
Diego Garcia
is home to a large naval base and airbase leased to the United States
United States
by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
until 2036 (unless renewed). There are British forces in small numbers in the BIOT for administrative and immigration purposes. Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
– the British Forces Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
includes commitments from the British Army, Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
and Royal Navy, along with the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
Defence Force. Gibraltar
Gibraltar
– British Forces Gibraltar
Gibraltar
includes a Royal Navy
Royal Navy
dockyard (also used by NATO), RAF Gibraltar
Gibraltar
– used by the RAF and NATO
NATO
and a local garrison – the Royal Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Regiment. The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
in Cyprus
Cyprus
– maintained as strategic British military bases in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Montserrat
Montserrat
– the Royal Montserrat
Montserrat
Defence Force, historically connected with the Irish Guards, is a body of twenty volunteers, whose duties are primarily ceremonial.[58] Saint Helena
Saint Helena
– it has been speculated[59] that the new Saint Helena Airport might be used for military purposes but this has neither been confirmed nor denied.

Languages[edit]

Cliffs at Gough and Inaccessible Islands.

Most of the languages other than English spoken in the territories contain a large degree of English, either as a root language, or in codeswitching, e.g. Llanito. They include:

Llanito
Llanito
or Yanito and Spanish (Gibraltar) Cayman Creole (Cayman Islands) Turks-Caicos Creole (Turks and Caicos Islands) Pitkern (Pitcairn Islands) Greek and Turkish (Akrotiri and Dhekelia)

Forms of English:

Bermudian English
Bermudian English
(Bermuda) Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
English

Currencies[edit] Main article: List of British currencies The many British overseas territories use a varied assortment of currencies, including the euro, pound, US dollar, NZ dollar, or their own currencies, which may be pegged to one of these.

Location Native currency Issuing authority

Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Euro

European Central Bank

British Antarctic Territory Tristan da Cunha1 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Pound sterling

Bank of England

Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
pound (parity with pound sterling) Pound sterling
Pound sterling
(widely circulated and accepted universally)

Government of the Falkland Islands

Gibraltar

Gibraltar
Gibraltar
pound (parity with Pound sterling) Pound sterling
Pound sterling
(widely circulated and accepted universally) Euro
Euro
(accepted unofficially in most establishments)

Government of Gibraltar

Saint Helena
Saint Helena
and Ascension Island1

Saint Helenian pound
Saint Helenian pound
(parity with Pound Sterling) United States dollar
United States dollar
(accepted unofficially on Ascension Island)

Government of Saint Helena

British Virgin Islands Turks and Caicos Islands

United States
United States
dollar Bahamian dollar
Bahamian dollar
(accepted unofficially in the Turks and Caicos Islands)

US Federal Reserve

Anguilla Montserrat

Eastern Caribbean
Caribbean
dollar (pegged to US dollar at 2.7ECD=1USD)

Eastern Caribbean
Caribbean
Central Bank

Bermuda

Bermudian dollar
Bermudian dollar
(parity with US dollar) United States dollar
United States dollar
(widely circulated and accepted universally)

Bermuda
Bermuda
Monetary Authority

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
dollar (pegged to US dollar at 1KYD=1.2USD)

Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
Monetary Authority

Pitcairn Islands

New Zealand
New Zealand
dollar United States dollar
United States dollar
(accepted unofficially)[60] Pound sterling
Pound sterling
is also accepted.[61] Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
dollar (parity with New Zealand
New Zealand
dollar; commemorative issue only)

Reserve Bank of New Zealand

British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory

United States dollar
United States dollar
(de facto)[62][63] Pound sterling
Pound sterling
(de jure)[64][65]

US Federal Reserve Bank of England

1 Part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Symbols and insignia[edit]

Overseas Territories flags in Parliament Square in 2013

Each overseas territory has been granted its own flag and coat of arms by the British monarch. Traditionally, the flags follow the Blue Ensign design, with the Union Flag
Union Flag
in the canton, and the territory's coat of arms in the fly. Exceptions to this are Bermuda
Bermuda
which uses a Red Ensign; British Antarctic Territory
British Antarctic Territory
which uses a White Ensign; British Indian Ocean Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
which uses a Blue Ensign
Blue Ensign
with wavy lines to symbolise the sea; and Gibraltar
Gibraltar
which uses a banner of its coat of arms (the flag of the city of Gibraltar). Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
and Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha are the only British overseas territories without their own flag. The Union Flag
Union Flag
is used in these territories. Sports[edit] Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
and the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
are the only British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
with recognised National Olympic Committees (NOCs); the British Olympic Association is recognised as the appropriate NOC for athletes from the other territories, and thus athletes who hold a British passport are eligible to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games.[66] Shara Proctor
Shara Proctor
from Anguilla, Delano Williams from the Turks and Caicos Islands, Jenaya Wade-Fray
Jenaya Wade-Fray
from Bermuda[67] and Georgina Cassar
Georgina Cassar
from Gibraltar
Gibraltar
strived to represent Team GB
Team GB
at the London
London
2012 Olympics. Proctor, Wade-Fray and Cassar qualified for Team GB, with Williams missing the cut, however wishing to represent the UK in 2016.[68][69] The Gibraltar
Gibraltar
national football team was accepted into UEFA
UEFA
in 2013 in time for the 2016 European Championships. It has been accepted by FIFA and went into the 2018 FIFA
FIFA
World Cup qualifying, where they achieved 0 points. Biodiversity[edit]

The World Heritage Sites of the UK (Overseas Territories): The natural sites of Gough and Inaccessible Islands
Gough and Inaccessible Islands
and Henderson Island are marked green, the cultural sites of the Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Kourion, and Gorham's Cave
Gorham's Cave
are marked red.

The British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
have more biodiversity than the entire UK mainland.[70] There are at least 180 endemic plant species in the overseas territories as opposed to only 12 on the UK mainland. Responsibility for protection of biodiversity and meeting obligations under international environmental conventions is shared between the UK Government and the local governments of the territories.[71] Two areas, Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
as well as the Gough and Inaccessible Islands
Gough and Inaccessible Islands
of Tristan Da Cunha
Tristan Da Cunha
are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and two other territories, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Saint Helena
Saint Helena
are on the United Kingdom's tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[72][73] Gibraltar's Gorham's Cave
Gorham's Cave
Complex is also found on the UK's tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site list.[74] The three regions of biodiversity hotspots situated in the British Overseas Territories are the Caribbean
Caribbean
Islands, the Mediterranean Basin and the Oceania ecozone
Oceania ecozone
in the Pacific.[71] The UK created the largest continuous marine protected areas in the world, the Chagos Marine Protected Area, and announced in 2015 funding to establish a new, larger, reserve around the Pitcairn Islands.[75][76][77] In January 2016, the UK government announced the intention to create a marine protected area around Ascension Island. The protected area would be 234,291 square kilometers, half of which would be closed to fishing.[78]

A Stoplight Parrotfish
Stoplight Parrotfish
in Princess Alexandra Land and Sea National Park, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

Penguins
Penguins
in South Georgia, 2010.

Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Islands

Rothera Research Station.

See also[edit]

Depopulation of Chagossians from the Chagos Archipelago
Depopulation of Chagossians from the Chagos Archipelago
to enable building of a UK-US military base in the British Indian Ocean Territory List of postcodes List of leaders of Overseas Territories List of British Army
British Army
installations British overseas territory citizens in the mainland United Kingdom Colonial Department Secretary of State for the Colonies Colonial Office Universities in British Overseas Territories United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum List of stock exchanges in the United Kingdom, the British Crown Dependencies and United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Overseas Territories

References[edit]

^ "Supporting the Overseas Territories". UK Government. Retrieved 8 November 2014. There are 14 Overseas Territories which retain a constitutional link with the UK. .... Most of the Territories are largely self-governing, each with its own constitution and its own government, which enacts local laws. Although the relationship is rooted in four centuries of shared history, the UK government's relationship with its Territories today is a modern one, based on mutual benefits and responsibilities. The foundations of this relationship are partnership, shared values and the right of the people of each territory to choose to freely choose whether to remain a British Overseas Territory or to seek an alternative future.  ^ "What is the British Constitution: The Primary Structures of the British State". The Constitution Society. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014. The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
also manages a number of territories which, while mostly having their own forms of government, have the Queen as their head of state, and rely on the UK for defence and security, foreign affairs and representation at the international level. They do not form part of the UK, but have an ambiguous constitutional relationship with the UK.  ^ [1] Archived 1 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "CIA – The World Factbook 2002 – South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands". Faqs.org. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "CIA – The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ "States of Guernsey: About Guernsey". Gov.gg. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "Government – Isle of Man
Isle of Man
Public Services". Gov.im. Archived from the original on 18 December 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "New ministerial appointments at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office" (Press release). Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2016.  ^ "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] UK Overseas Territories Foreign & Commonwealth Office". Collections.europarchive.org. Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "SBA Cyprus". Jncc.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ a b "British Antarctic Territory". Jncc.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "Commonwealth Secretariat – Anguilla". Thecommonwealth.org. Archived from the original on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ a b "UNdata record view Surface area in km2". United Nations. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "Bermuda". Jncc.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "Commonwealth Secretariat – British Antarctic Territory". Thecommonwealth.org. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory". Jncc.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "Commonwealth Secretariat – British Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Territory". Thecommonwealth.org. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ a b " British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
(BVI)". Jncc.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ a b "The World Factbook: Cayman Islands". CIA. Retrieved 7 September 2016.  ^ "Commonwealth Secretariat – Falkland Islands". Thecommonwealth.org. 14 June 1982. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "Gibraltar". Jncc.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "Commonwealth Secretariat – Gibraltar". Thecommonwealth.org. 7 November 2002. Archived from the original on 6 March 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ a b "Montserrat". Jncc.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ "Pitcairn Island". Jncc.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ Rob Solomon and Kirsty Burnett (January 2014) Pitcairn Island Economic Review. government.pn. Retrieved 7 September 2016. ^ "Pitcairn Residents". puc.edu. Retrieved 7 September 2016. ^ "UN Statistics – St Helena census 2008" (PDF). United Nations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2011.  ^ a b c "St Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
profiles". BBC. 16 March 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2016.  ^ Vital Statistics – SOUTH GEORGIA AND THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS. 22 January 1993. CIA WORLD FACTBOOK 1992 via the Libraries of the Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis. ^ "Population of Grytviken, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands". Population.mongabay.com. 31 March 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ a b "Turks and Caicos Islands". Jncc.gov.uk. 1 November 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ " Bermuda
Bermuda
– History and Heritage". Smithsonian.com. 6 November 2007. Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2008.  ^ "Newfoundland History – Early Colonization and Settlement of Newfoundland". Faculty.marianopolis.edu. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ Copyright 2015 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "UNC Press - In the Eye of All Trade".  ^ "In the Eye of All Trade: Bermuda, Bermudians, and the Maritime Atlantic World, 1680-1783". Archived from the original on 9 January 2012.  ^ Statute of Westminster 1931
Statute of Westminster 1931
(UK) CHAPTER 4 22 and 23 Geo 5 ^ The Commonwealth – About Us; Online September 2014 ^ "Population". Census and Statistics Department. Hong Kong Statistics. Retrieved 12 July 2013.  ^ British Overseas Territories Act 2002
British Overseas Territories Act 2002
(text online): S. 3: "Any person who, immediately before the commencement of this section, is a British overseas territories citizen shall, on the commencement of this section, become a British citizen." ^ " Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
Legislative Assembly". Falklands.gov.fk. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ " Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Constitution Order 2009 (at OPSI)". Opsi.gov.uk. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.  ^ Press Release No. 133/2007 Archived 24 February 2010 at WebCite. Government of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Press Office. ^ "Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council 2015 Communique and Progress Report - Publications - GOV.UK". Retrieved 15 September 2016.  ^ "Little Bay Development". Projects.dfid.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
Law, Ian Hendry and Susan Dickson, Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2011, p. 340 ^ "Sovereign Base Areas, Background". Sovereign Base Areas, Cyprus. Retrieved 7 October 2011.  ^ "UK Overseas Territories".  ^ "The Overseas Territories: security, success and sustainability" (PDF). Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2014.  ^ British financial officials in the region for talks with dependent territories Archived 25 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine. – By Oscar Ramjeet, CaribbeanNetNews, (Published on Saturday, 21 March 2009) ^ "MP proposes British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
be represented in Westminster
Westminster
– MercoPress". En.mercopress.com. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ "HM Government e-petitions". Epetitions.direct.gov.uk. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ "Lib Dems would create an MP for Gibraltar". Gibraltar
Gibraltar
News Olive Press. 18 May 2017.  ^ " UKIP
UKIP
leader defends call for Gibraltar
Gibraltar
to become part of Britain - Xinhua - English.news.cn". news.xinhuanet.com.  ^ " Spain
Spain
must treat Gibraltar
Gibraltar
as an equal part of the British family, says Rosindell". www.gibraltarpanorama.gi.  ^ "gibraltar". gibraltar.  ^ [2] Any person who, immediately before the commencement of this section, is a British overseas territories citizen shall, on the commencement of this section, become a British citizen. ^ Bermuda[permanent dead link] at avalanchepress.com ^ UK Government White Paper on Overseas Territories, June, 2012. Page 23. ^ http://www.saint.fm/the-independent/ St. Helena Independent, 24 April 2015 p8 ^ "demtullpitcairn.com" (PDF). www.demtullpitcairn.com.  ^ Asia and Pacific Review 2003/04 p.245 ISBN 1862170398 ^ FCO country profile Archived 10 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "The World Factbook".  ^ " British Indian Ocean Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
Currency". Wwp.greenwichmeantime.com. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ Commemorative UK Pounds and Stamps issued in GBP have been issued. Source:[3], [4] ^ Overseas Territories. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee. ^ Stephen Wright (28 July 2012). "Representing Britain...and Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda
Olympics 2012". Royalgazette.com. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ "Williams' Olympic hopes on hold for 4 more years". Fptci.com. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ Purnell, Gareth (27 July 2012). "At last! Phillips Idowu tracked down... in Team GB
Team GB
photo – Olympic News". The Independent. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ "About the Biodiversity of the UK Overseas Territories". UKOTCF. Retrieved 17 June 2016.  ^ a b "Science: UK Overseas Territories: Biodiversity". Kew. Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ " Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands
– UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Whc.unesco.org. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ "Island of St Helena – UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Whc.unesco.org. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ " Gorham's Cave
Gorham's Cave
Complex". UNESCO. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2016.  ^ "World's Largest Single Marine Reserve Created in Pacific". National Geographic. World's Largest Single Marine Reserve Created in Pacific. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.  ^ " Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
get huge marine reserve". BBC. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.  ^ " Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
to get world's largest single marine reserve". The Guardian. London. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.  ^ " Ascension Island
Ascension Island
to become marine reserve". 3 January 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

Charles Cawley. Colonies in Conflict: The History of the British Overseas Territories (2015) 444pp Harry Ritchie, The Last Pink Bits: Travels Through the Remnants of the British Empire
British Empire
(London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997) Simon Winchester, Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire
British Empire
( London
London
& New York, 1985) George Drower, Britain's Dependent Territories (Dartmouth, 1992) George Drower, Overseas Territories Handbook (London: TSO, 1998) Ian Hendry and Susan Dickson, " British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories
Law" (London: Hart Publishing, 2011) Ben Fogle, The Teatime Islands: Adventures in Britain's Faraway Outposts (London: Michael Joseph, 2003) Bonham C. Richardson (16 January 1992). The Caribbean
Caribbean
in the Wider World, 1492–1992. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 8 December 2010. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to British overseas territories.

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