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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.


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Country name
Conventional long form British Indian Ocean Territory
Conventional short form None
Abbreviation BIOT

Dependency status
Overseas territory of the UK; administered by a commissioner, resident in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London

Legal system
The laws of the UK, where applicable, apply

Executive branch
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
None; the monarchy is hereditary; commissioner and administrator appointed by the monarch

Diplomatic representation in the us
None (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the us
None (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description
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


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  British Indian Ocean Territory [ United Kingdom ] (Overseas Territory):

  GPS points from British Indian Ocean Territory [ United Kingdom ] (Overseas Territory)

Wiglit Bank British Indian Ocean Territory (general)

Horsburgh Point British Indian Ocean Territory (general)

Ile Sipaille British Indian Ocean Territory (general)

Grande Ile Coquillage British Indian Ocean Territory (general)

Ganges Bank British Indian Ocean Territory (general)

Ile Gabrielle British Indian Ocean Territory (general)

Parry Patch British Indian Ocean Territory (general)

Ile Anglaise British Indian Ocean Territory (general)
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