The Territories of the United Kingdom

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This article makes a speciality of the Territories of the United Kingdom. It is a component of a Four-part sequence explaining present day scenario of the remnants of the colonial empires of the early 20th Century, virtually all of that are small islands scattered round the global. Other portions of the sequence will read about the standing of Dutch territories, French territories, and United States territories.

Prior to World War II, the British Empire used to be the biggest empire in global historical past in phrases of inhabitants and house. At its height, it dominated over 1 / 4 of the Earth’s inhabitants and land mass.

In the a long time since the finish of the warfare, the procedure of decolonization has dismantled the empire as colonies went down the trail to independence. 60 unbiased nations these days have been former British colonies which received their independence.

Today, the stays of that empire are a tiny fraction of what it as soon as used to be. The leftovers are for the maximum section islands and bits of land that are too small to grow to be absolutely unbiased.

British territories extra intently resemble US territories than French or Dutch territories, in that they don’t have equivalent standing with the integral portions of the nation (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).

This article won’t come with nations that are individuals of the Commonwealth, or that are unbiased nations which occur to have Queen Elizabeth as their head of state.

Map of British Territories

UK Territories

Crown Dependencies

The Crown Dependencies don’t seem to be section of the United Kingdom nor are they British Overseas Territories. They are regarded as to be self-governing possessions of the Crown. In each and every case, “the Crown” is outlined as “Crown in right of the dependence”. The Crown on the Isle of Man, as an example, is a separate entity from the Crown in the United Kingdom, despite the fact that it’s embodied by means of the identical particular person (aka Queen Elizabeth II).

Crown lands in each and every crown dependency are held in their very own identify and don’t seem to be section of the Crown Estate of the United Kingdom.

Each dependency has a prime quantity of autonomy, surroundings native rules, with a in the community elected legislature. However, protection, industry, and different insurance policies are set by means of the United Kingdom.

The Crown Dependencies are continuously known as areas which don’t seem to be section of the United Kingdom, however areas for which the UK is accountable. They all discuss English, use their very own model of the Pound as forex, and feature passports which, whilst distinctive, glance very just like British passports. The passports say “British Islands” as an alternative of “United Kingdom”, however are differently similar. None of the Crown Dependencies are section of the European Union, however many of the electorate even have citizenship in the UK from different members of the family.

Isle of Man

The Great Laxey Wheel on the Isle of Man
The Great Laxey Wheel on the Isle of Man

Population: 83,000
Area: 572 km2 (221 mi2)

Located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, the Isle of Man has a historical past which dates again 1000’s of years. The head of state on the Isle of Man is the Lord of Mann, who’s recently Elizabeth II. The identify of “Lord of Mann” is the utilization regardless if the holder is male or feminine. The Lord of Mann is represented on the island by means of the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man, which is appointed by means of the Crown.

The parliament on the Isle of Man is referred to as Tynwald, and it claims to be the oldest democratically elected legislature in the global. Tynwald has two chambers: the House of Keys which is without delay elected by means of the other people, and 11 particular person Legislative Council which is chosen by means of the House of Keys.

The head of the executive is referred to as the Chief Minister, and they’re selected by means of the House of Keys.

As with maximum of the puts indexed right here, the Isle of Man problems their very own pound notes. The Manx Pound is on a par with the British Pound. British Pound notes are approved on the island, however the opposite isn’t true. You can have a troublesome time discovering any individual to just accept an Isle of Man notice in the UK.

Bailiwick of Jersey

Mount Orgueil Castle on the island of Jersey. Image courtesy of Stefan Krasowski.
Mount Orgueil Castle on the island of Jersey. Image courtesy of Stefan Krasowski.

Population: 100,000
Area: 118.2 km2 (45.6 mi2)

Jersey is one of two Crown Dependencies, at the side of Guernsey, which makes up the Channel Isles. It is the biggest of the Crown Dependencies in phrases of inhabitants, with over 100,000 other people residing on the island. The island is the closest of the Channel Islands to France. A bailiwick is a reputation for a area which is run by means of a bailiff.

The felony scenario of Jersey is similar to that of the different Crown Dependencies. The Crown of Jersey is a separate establishment from the Crown in the UK however is held by means of the identical particular person. It has a unicameral legislative frame known as the States Assembly. The rules in Jersey are influenced by means of its historical past and placement subsequent to France. It combines parts of English commonplace legislation, French civil legislation, and common legislation from Normandy.

The Channel Islands have been the most effective portions of the British Isles to be occupied by means of the Germans all the way through WWII.

Both Jersey and Guernsey may also be reached by means of ferry or a brief aircraft flight.

Bailiwick of Guernsey

The view of Guernsey. Image courtesy of Stefan Krasowski.
The view of Guernsey. Image courtesy of Stefan Krasowski.

Population: 66,000
Area: 844 km2 (2,185.nine mi2)

Guernsey is the same politically and geographically to Jersey. The number one distinction is that the Bailiwick of Guernsey is made up of a number of other islands, basically Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark. Like the different Crown Dependencies, Guernsey can print its personal cash, however in contrast to the different Crown Dependencies, the island of Alderney additionally as the proper to factor its most effective forex as neatly. It most effective does this for commemorative cash, then again.

The legislature in Guernsey is referred to as the States of Guernsey. When is in consultation, it’s referred to as the States of Deliberation. The time period states comes from the French phrase estates.

For each Guernsey and Jersey, English is the most generally spoken language, however the number one language used to be French up till the early 20th Century. French used to be the language all actual property deeds have been written in till 1971. French is still an reliable language, however it’s not universally spoken.

British Overseas Territories

British Overseas Territories are territories beneath the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom without delay. The Crown is represented by way of the Crown of the United Kingdom, in contrast to the Crown Dependencies that have separate felony and regal entities. These territories are the ultimate vestiges of the British Empire. Some of the territories might search independence in the long run, then again, all of them are somewhat small and would stay depending on the UK for some issues in the event that they have been to grow to be unbiased.

Each in another country territory has a Governor appointed by means of the Crown, or by means of a commissioner if there’s no everlasting inhabitants, which serves as the head of state. All of the territories with a inhabitants has some extent of self-governance with an elected legislature, then again, they’re nonetheless topic to the rules of the United Kingdom. Territories shouldn’t have sitting individuals of parliament.

Each territory additionally problems its personal forex which is at par worth to the British Pound.

The felony standing of each and every territory might range fairly given its geography and placement.


You have to cross the airport runway to enter Gibraltar
You must go the airport runway to go into Gibraltar

Population: 35,000
Area: 6.7 km2 (2.6 mi2)

Gibraltar is the 2nd smallest British territory and the just one which is a component of continental Europe. It’s maximum outstanding characteristic is the Rock of Gibraltar which is a huge rock which dominates the front to the Mediterranian Sea. The British firstly took keep an eye on of Gibraltar to keep an eye on transport and out of the Mediterranean Sea. Gibraltar used to be a fort which used to be by no means conquered whilst beneath British keep an eye on.

Spain has contested British keep an eye on of Gibraltar because it used to be ceded to the British beneath the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. To these days, the Spanish deal with that Gibraltar is rightfully theirs, then again, the border isn’t militarized and is open.

While Gibraltar is a component of the European Union (in contrast to the Crown Dependencies), Gibraltar isn’t section of the Schengen Zone. Visitors coming into Gibraltar from Spain wish to cross thru passport keep an eye on and customs.

A referendum in 2002 requested Gibraltarian in the event that they sought after a power-sharing association with Spain, and it used to be rejected by means of 99% of the inhabitants. In the 2016 Brexit referendum, 96% of electorate in Gibraltar wanted to stick in the EU.

English and Spanish are each broadly spoken in Gibraltar in addition to the native dialect of Llanito, which is a type of Spanglish, Spanish with a heavy combine of English phrases and words.

Given the geographical constraints of Gibraltar, coming into the territory by means of land calls for the very extraordinary act of crossing over the airport runway. Entering by means of foot or automobile can continuously be behind schedule if they’re anticipating a aircraft to take off or land.

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

The governor's house on St. Helena which administers the territory
The governor’s space on St. Helena which administers the territory

Population: five,600
Area: 394 km2 (152 mi2)

This territory governs 3 other islands in the Atlantic Ocean that are broadly separated from each and every different: Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha. The islands are ruled as a collective unit most commonly because of the low inhabitants on the islands. The distance between Tristan da Cunha and St. Helena is two,437 km, and the distance between St. Helena and Ascension is 1,295 km. The overall distance between the islands is bigger than the distance between Key West, Florida, and Seattle.

The collective territory is administered out of St. Helena, however each and every island has some extent of autonomy. Because the islands are so remoted from each and every different, despite the fact that they’re jointly a unmarried territory, I can care for each and every island one by one.

Saint Helena

Jamestown, the capital of the island of St. Helena
Jamestown, the capital of the island of St. Helena

Population: Four,500
Area: 121 km2 (47 mi2)

St. Helena is an island positioned in the South Atlantic Ocean roughly 1,200 km off the coast of Africa, parallel with the Namibian/Angolan border. it used to be found out in 1502 by means of Portuguese sailors. The island used to be given to the British East India corporate in 1657 which fortified and colonized the island. There used to be no local inhabitants which ever lived on the island.

The island used to be basically used as a forestall for ships which have been crusing round Africa to get provisions and recent water.

St. Helena is absolute best referred to as the position the place Napoleon Bonaparte used to be exiled from 1815 to 1821. Napoleon’s house at Longwood and his authentic tomb are two of the major sights on the island. Both the tomb and the space are owned by means of the French executive when they got as a present by means of Queen Victoria. Today the French executive assists in keeping a diplomatic consultant on the island.

St. Helena firstly had slaves who labored on on the island. After emancipation, maximum former slaves stayed on the island and combined into the inhabitants. Today, virtually all natives of St. Helena may also be described as blended race.

For maximum of its historical past, St. Helena used to be most effective available by means of send. The terrain used to be too mountainous for a runway to be constructed with out substantial expense and energy. For a long time, the RMS St. Helena used to be the ultimate running Royal Mail Ship ferrying passengers and load to the island from Cape Town, South Africa. An airport used to be in the end opened in 2016 which dramatically reduce down shuttle time to the island. There at the moment are weekly business flights from Johannesburg, South Africa.


Population: 800
Area: 88 km2 (34 mi2)

Ascension is positioned roughly 1,200 km northwest of St. Helena and it’s best recognized for the RAF Air Station which is positioned on the island. The inhabitants most commonly works at the air base and are natives of St Helena. Ascension had no local inhabitants when it used to be found out. There are common RAF scheduled flights from London and a per month business flight from St. Helena now that the airport there’s open.

Given its place in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, Ascension additionally serves as a European Space Agency monitoring station, a BBC World Service relay station, and a British-American Signal Intelligence facility. The RAF station used to be used to provide gadgets all the way through the Falklands War in the 1980s.

Outside of the per month flight from St. Helena and the occasional repositioning send which stops by means of, there’s no tourism on the island.

While 800 other people are living on the island, the inhabitants isn’t regarded as everlasting and other people can not purchase belongings on the island.

Tristan da Cunha

View of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. Image courtesy of Stefan Krasowski.

Population: 250
Area: 207 km2 (80 mi2)

Tristan da Cunha is the global’s maximum faraway human agreement. It is positioned roughly 2,800 km west southwest of Cape Town, South Africa.

There is not any runway on the island, so the most effective solution to get to the island is by means of send. The often scheduled provide send from Cape Town takes seven days to sail one solution to the island.

There are different uninhabited islands in the archipelago that are secure spaces. The two biggest islands, Gough Island and Inaccessible Islands, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Visiting the island is very tricky. The most effective solution to talk over with is by way of the often scheduled provide send, or by way of the occasional expedition send that prevents there as they reposition to the Northern Hemisphere. Arrangements to shuttle on the provide send and lodging will have to be made neatly upfront. The most effective lodging on the island are guesthouses owned by means of locals.

People on the island make their residing from subsistence agriculture, occasional tourism, and the executive.

More details about visiting and staying on Tristian may also be discovered on their reliable web page.

Falkland Islands

Population: three,400
Area: 12,200 km2 (Four,700 mi2)

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Population: No permananat inhabitants. About 35 body of workers in the summer season.
Area: three,903 km2 (1,507 mi2)

Picarin Islands

Population: 50
Area: 1.19 km2 (three.1 mi2)

Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands jointly make up the territory of the Pitcairn Islands. Only Pitcairn Island has any everlasting inhabitants. The different islands are a secure house and feature World Heritage Status.

The inhabitants of Pitcairn is the smallest everlasting inhabitants of any territorial degree frame in the global. Pitcairn used to be first settled by means of the mutineers from the HMS Bounty, who escaped right here with a number of Tahitian other halves in 1790. After arriving, they set hearth to the Bounty so they may no longer be discovered. Almost everybody on the island has the ultimate names of one of 4 of the mutineers.

The island was a British ownership in November 1838. By 1850 the inhabitants on the island had grown such a lot that they had to transfer other people off the island. The British executive presented them Norfolk Island, the place many of us from Pitcairn settled and the place their descendants reside these days.

Next to Tristan da Cunha, Pitcairn is the maximum faraway human agreement in the global. Traveling right here could be very tricky and will most effective be carried out by means of send. There is not any herbal harbor, so even visiting ships don’t seem to be assured to deliver other people ashore if stipulations aren’t excellent.

There is an ordinary send provider on the MV Bravo Supporter, which leaves from the island of Mangareva in French Polynesia. There also are a number of cruise ships which forestall there once a year, even if they most often most effective keep for a couple of hours.

Information about which ships shall be going to Pitcairn, or methods to ebook a price tag on the MV Bravo Supporter may also be discovered on the reliable Pitcairn Tourism web page.


Anguilla has some of the best beaches in the world
Anguilla has some of the absolute best seashores in the global

Population: 15,000
Area: 91 km2 (35 mi2)

Anguilla is a small island simply north of the island of St. Martin in the Caribbean. It is a well-liked and better finish holiday vacation spot in the Caribbean. It can simply be reached by means of speedboat from the St. Martin Airport, which has world flights from North American and Europe. There may be a small airport on the island for smaller planes. The overwhelming majority of guests will switch thru St. Martin, then again.

The island used to be very in brief “independent” in the overdue 1960s. As section of the decolonization procedure, on February 27, 1967, the British created the related state of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla. An related state is one step underneath overall independence. However, the other people in Anguilla weren’t consulted on the topic and the resolution used to be very unpopular as the new executive used to be ruled by means of the biggest island in the team, St. Kitts (aka St. Christopher). On May 30, 1967, in a cold coup, the police from the island of St. Kitts have been rounded up by means of local Anguillans and despatched again to St. Kitts.

In July 1967 a referendum used to be held to look if the other people of Anguilla sought after to be section of a state with St. Kitts. The vote used to be 1,813 towards and five for.

On February 6. 1969, a 2nd referendum used to be held with an identical effects: 1,739 towards to Four for. On February 7, Anguilla declared itself an unbiased republic.

In March 1969 300 British infantrymen entered Anguilla to revive order. There used to be no violence or bloodshed. The finish result’s that Aguilla continues to be a British Territory these days, however it’s not in any type of union with St. Kitts and Nevis, which was unbiased in 1983.

Today the UK nonetheless upholds Anguilla’s proper to self-determination and independence if it so chooses, then again it has but to move down that trail in opposition to an independence referendum. If Anguilla have been to grow to be unbiased, it will be the third smallest unbiased nation in the global in phrases of inhabitants after Nauru and Tuvalu (no longer together with Vatican City.)


Montserrat's geography and recent history is dominated by its active volcano
Montserrat’s geography and up to date historical past is ruled by means of its energetic volcano

Population: five,200
Area: 102 km2 (39 mi2)

Montserrat’s fresh historical past and geography are ruled by means of the Soufrière Hills volcano which sits in the heart of the island. In 1995 the volcano got here again to existence and erupted, destroying the capital town of Plymouth, burying it in volcanic ash and dust. The eruption led to 2/three of the island’s inhabitants to charge to puts similar to the UK and the close by island of Antigua.

Today over part of the island is an exclusion zone the place no person as opposed to researchers and reliable body of workers are allowed to move.

The inhabitants has rebounded relatively since the eruption, however the island hasn’t ever been somewhat the identical. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory is open to vacationers to be told extra about the volcano and the way it has formed the island. You can nonetheless see steam and a few sparkling lava close to the most sensible of the volcano these days.

There is a small runway the place planes can land, however maximum vacationers arrive by way of ferry from the island of Antigua. There are not any massive inns on the island most effective smaller motels and guesthouses.

If you want to view the ruins of Plymouth, you’ll most effective achieve this from a helicopter, or by way of boat from the coast.

Turks and Caicos

Population: 31,500
Area: 616.three km2 ( mi2)

Geographically talking, the Turks and Caicos must be an element of the Bahamas. The island of the Turks and Caicos are the southernmost islands in the Bahamas archipelago and feature a lot the identical historical past and geology. However, again in 1848, the islands in the Turks and Caicos ask for and won a separate constitution after complaining about the prime salt taxes from the Bahamas.

For a long time the islands have been administered as an element of Jamaica and have been most effective made a separate crown colony when Jamaica was unbiased in 1958.

Since then, the Turks and Caicos have toyed with becoming a member of the Bahamas as a different self reliant area, or as an element of Canada, both as a separate province or as section of Nova Scotia. Neither concept has long past that some distance.

The identify of the territory comes from the two island teams which make it up. The Caicos is the greater of the two and positioned in the northwest and the Turks which is smaller and in the southeast.

The Turks and Caicos these days is ruled by means of tourism and offshore banking.

There are a number of small airports in the territory, however most effective the Providenciales airport is the most effective airport with common world flights.

Cayman Islands

Population: 64,500
Area: 264 km2 (102 mi2)

The Cayman Islands are 3 islands positioned between Jamaica and Honduras in the Caribbean. There are 3 inhabited islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The biggest of the 3 by means of some distance is Grand Cayman which may be the capital.

Historically, the Cayman Islands have been ruled as section of the colony of Jamaica. As with Anguilla the Turks and Caicos, when Jamaica was unbiased, the Caymans have been established as a separate Crown Colony.

The Cayman Islands are neatly referred to as one of the largest offshore monetary facilities in the global.

As with maximum of the territories in the Caribbean, this can be a standard vacationer vacation spot and maximum of its economic system relies on tourism. It may be a well-liked vacation spot for cruise ships.

The Cayman Islands use the Cayman Islands Dollar which is pegged to the US Dollar at 1.00 KYD to one.20 USD.

British Virgin Islands

The BVI capital of Road Town as see from the sea
The BVI capital of Road Town as see from the sea

Population: 32,000
Area: 153 km2 (59 mi2)

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) compromise the japanese part of the Virgin Islands (the western part being the US Virgin Islands). The reliable identify of the territory is “The Virgin Islands” however the phrase “British” is continuously used to tell apart them from the US Virgin Islands.

There are over 50 islands which make up BVI, the biggest of that are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke.

BVI is the location of Necker Island, which is the well-known personal island owned by means of Sir Richard Branson.

The reliable forex of BVI is the US Dollar, which it followed in 1959.

BVI used to be firstly section of the British Leeward Islands territory however was a separate territory in 1960. As with different British Caribbean colonies, it used to be section of the West Indies Federation however reverted again to territory standing when the federation fell aside.

BVI may also be accessed by means of aircraft, or by means of ferry from USVI or from Puerto Rico.


St. George is the historic center of Bermuda
St. George is the ancient heart of Bermuda

Population: 71,000
Area: 53.2 km2 (20.five mi2)

While continuously concept of as a Caribbean island, Bermuda isn’t in the Caribbean. It is positioned on the identical latitude as South Carolina.

Bermuda’s historical past is going again to the early 16th Century when it used to be found out by means of the Spanish quickly after Columbus arrived in the New World. The island didn’t obtain any everlasting population till 100 years later when a boat headed to Virginia ran round and the passengers have been pressured on shore.

The island has served as a precious waypoint off the shore of North American and north of the Caribbean. It used to be a staging house for troops in the War of 1812, a jail camp all the way through the Boer War, and hosted summits between the US and the UK.

Its location off the coast of the US makes it a well-liked vacationer appeal as flights from the east coast of the US have a tendency to be a lot shorter than flights to the Caribbean.

This ancient the city of St. George used to be given global heritage standing in 2000.

British Indian Ocean Territory

Population: No permanant inhabitants
Area: 54,400 km2 (21,000 mi2)

The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) has had an overly arguable previous. The territory is is composed of the seven atolls of the Chagos Archipelago and it’s strategically positioned between Africa, Indonesia, and India. Between 1968 and 1973 over 2,000 local individuals who lived in the Chagos Archipelago have been forcefully got rid of and resettled in the Seychelles and Mauritius.

Today, the territory has no everlasting population. The most effective other people are living on the island of Diego Garcia, which is the house of a joint US/UK army facility. Deigo Garcia is a naval beef up facility used to stay ships at the able to move to scorching spots in the area. It may be used for different logistical and communications beef up.

BIOT is infamous for being the maximum tricky territory in the global to talk over with for other people looking to entire the Traveler’s Century Club checklist. No guests are allowed on Diego Garcia. No journalist have ever been allowed on the island. Occasionally, other people will constitution a ship to take a look at to set foot on one of the uninhabited islands in the archipelago.

A 2019 ruling by means of the International Court of Justice in the Hague decided that the territory must be ceded to Mauritius because it must had been section of their nation at independence. However, the ruling is non-binding and there are not any plans on the section of the UK to modify anything else.

British Antarctic Territory

Port Lockroy is staffed in the summer and has a British post office
Port Lockroy is staffed in the summer season and has a British publish place of work

Population: No permanant inhabitants
Area: 1,709,400 km2 (660,000 mi2)

The British Antarctic Territory has no everlasting inhabitants. Moreover, its declare on Antarctica constitutes the entirety of the Antarctic peninsula and overlaps claims by means of each Argentina and Chile. All nationwide claims to territory in Antarctica had been suspended since the 1961 Antarctic Treaty.

The British have two completely staffed analysis stations in Antarctica: Rothera and Halley. There may be a ancient base which is most effective staffed in the summer season at Port Locroy. The Port Lockroy base is one of the maximum visited websites in Antarctica getting virtually 10,000 guests in keeping with yr. It is a forestall for many ships which talk over with the Antarctic Peninsula. The base sells souvenirs and likewise has a British Post place of work.

As with all nationwide claims in Antarctica, the British have a token presence, promote stamps, and do different issues to ensure they have got a declare, however it’s not vigorously enforced.

Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Population: 15,700*
Area: 254 km2 (98 mi2)

Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are the leftover portions of when Cyprus used to be a British Colony. When Cyprus completed independence in 1960, as section of the deal the British stored two small portions of land the place that they had army bases the place they’d stay sovereign keep an eye on.

These spaces have all the time been a sticking level with Cypriots. There had been protests, sabotage, and different makes an attempt to drive the British to offer the territory again to Cyprus.

The British worth the bases as a result of of their proximity to the Middle East. They also are utilized by the United States and different NATO allies.

About 15,000 other people reside in the territory and about part of the ones are electorate of Cyprus. The leisure are army team of workers.

Entering the territory isn’t tricky. There are roads which cross thru and there’s no border keep an eye on. The most effective safety is targeted round the precise army bases themselves, no longer the territory in keeping with se.

The British have proven no need to surrender keep an eye on of the bases, however they have got proven a willingness to cede again roughly 117 sq. km, which is ready part the land house, which is recently used for farming.

Source hyperlink Everything Everywhere

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