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First inhabited by Arawak and later by Carib Indians, the Virgin Islands were settled by the Dutch in 1648 and then annexed by the English in 1672. The islands were part of the British colony of the Leeward Islands from 1872-1960; they were granted autonomy in 1967. The economy is closely tied to the larger and more populous US Virgin Islands to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency.


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Economy - overview
The economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism generating an estimated 45% of the national income. More than 934,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 2008. In the mid-1980s, the government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. Roughly 400,000 companies were on the offshore registry by yearend 2000. The adoption of a comprehensive insurance law in late 1994, which provides a blanket of confidentiality with regulated statutory gateways for investigation of criminal offenses, made the British Virgin Islands even more attractive to international business. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 206
$853.4 million (2004 est.)

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$1.095 billion (2008)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 203
-0.6% (2008 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 25
$38,500 (2004 est.)

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 1%
Industry 11.9%
Services 87.2% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 213
12,770 (2004)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 0.6%
Industry 40%
Services 59.4% (2005)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 33
3.6% (1997)

Population below poverty line

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% NA%
Highest 10% NA%

Revenues $300 million
Expenditures $300 million (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 109
27.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 46
0% of GDP (2011 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 105
4.1% (2011 est.)
3.8% (2010 est.)

Agriculture - products
Fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish

Tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center

Industrial production growth rate

Electricity - production World Ranking: 201
45 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 203
41.85 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 156
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 199
1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 139
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 195
751.9 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 111
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 158
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 156
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 68
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 161
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 156
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 48
$362.6 million (2010 est.)
$279.8 million (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 204
$20.1 million (2010 est.)
$33.6 million (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities
Rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand

Imports World Ranking: 198
$296.1 million (2010 est.)
$217.6 million (2009 est.) (2002 est.)

Imports - commodities
Building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery

Debt - external World Ranking: 194
$36.1 million (1997)

Exchange rates
The US dollar is used

Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March


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British Virgin Islands [ United Kingdom ] (Overseas Territory):
Country Flag
Country Locator

GPS points from British Virgin Islands [ United Kingdom ] (Overseas Territory)

square Maya Cove British Virgin Islands (general)

square Red Point British Virgin Islands (general)

square Angilla Point British Virgin Islands (general)

square Presidency Of Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands (general)

square Whelk Point British Virgin Islands (general)

square Machineel Bay British Virgin Islands (general)

square Great Thatch Islet British Virgin Islands (general)

square Pelican Point British Virgin Islands (general)

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