Saint Martin is an island in the northeast Caribbean Sea 300 km east of Puerto Rico. The 87-square-kilometre island is divided 60/40 between the French Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but the two parts are equal in population; the division dates to 1648. The southern Dutch part comprises Sint Maarten and is one of four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the northern French part comprises the Collectivity of Saint Martin and is an overseas collectivity of France. Only the French part of the island is part of the European Union. On 1 January 2009, the population of the whole island was 77,741 inhabitants, with 40,917 living on the Dutch side, 36,824 on the French side. Collectively, the two territories are known as "St-Martin / St Maarten", or sometimes "SXM", the IATA identifier for Princess Juliana International Airport, the island's main airport. St. Martin received the ISO 3166-1 code MF in October 2007; the Dutch part changed in status to a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010 and was given the code SX.
Saint Martin has a land area of 87 km2, 53 km2 of, under the sovereignty of France, 34 km2 under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This is the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the main cities are Marigot. The Dutch side is more populated; the largest settlement on the entire island is Lower Prince's Quarter, on the Dutch side. The highest hilltop is the Pic Paradis in the centre of a hill chain on the French side. Both sides are hilly with large mountain peaks; this forms a valley. There are no rivers on the island, but many dry gullies. Hiking trails give access to the dry forest covering slopes; the island is located south of Anguilla, separated from the British territory by the Anguilla Channel. Saint Martin is northwest of Saint Barthélemy, separated from the French territory by the Saint-Barthélemy Channel, it is one of the Renaissance Islands. In 1493, explorer Christopher Columbus, embarked on his second voyage to the New World on behalf of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella I of Spain.
According to legend, Columbus sighted and anchored at the island of Saint Martin on November 11, 1493, the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours. In his honour, Columbus named the island "San Martin"; this name was translated to "Sint Maarten", "Saint-Martin" and "Saint Martin" in English. At Columbus' time, St. Martin was populated, by Carib amerindians; the former Arawaks had been chased by the Caribs coming from the north coast of South America a short time before the arrival of the Spaniards who followed in Columbus' wake. The Arawaks were agricultural people who fashioned pottery and whose social organization was headed by hereditary chieftains who derived their power from personal deities called zemis; the Caribs' territory was not conquered until the mid-17th century when most of them perished in the struggle between the French, Dutch and Spanish for control of the West Indies islands around the Caribbean Sea. The Dutch first began to ply the island's ponds for salt in the 1620s. Still at war with the Dutch, the Spaniards captured St. Martin in 1633.
One year they built a fort and another artillery battery at Pointe Blanche to assert their claim and control access to Great Bay salt pond. A massive influx of African slaves took place in the 18th century with the development of sugarcane plantations by the French and Dutch. Slavery was abolished in the first half of the 19th century. On some of their territories the British imported Chinese and South Asians to take the place of slaves. Thus, St. Martin and the other islands are populated by a mixture of Amerindian, African and Asian peoples. On 23 March 1648, the Kingdom of France and the Dutch Republic agreed to divide the island between their two territories, with the signing of the Treaty of Concordia. Folklore surrounds the history of the once ever-changing border division between St. Martin and Sint Maarten, a popular story among locals narrates that "to divide the island into two sections, the inhabitants were told to choose two walkers, one chosen by the French-dominated community and the other one by the Dutch-dominated community, who were put back to back in one extreme of the island, making them walk in opposite directions while stuck to the littoral line, not allowing them to run.
The point where they met was set as the other extreme of the island, the subsequently created line was chosen as the frontier, dividing Saint-Martin from Sint Maarten. The French walker had walked more than his Dutch counterpart; the French locals' explanation for this discrepancy is that, as the first man chose wine as his stimulant prior to the race, while the latter chose Jenever, the difference between such beverages' lightness was said to be the cause of the territorial differences. The Dutch locals instead accuse the French walker of running." Under the Köppen climate classification, the island has a tropical monsoon climate with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from August to December. The precipitation patterns are due to the movement of the Azores high during the year. With the wind direction predominantly from the east or the northeast, northeasterly trades, temperatures
Leeward Islands cricket team
The Leeward Islands cricket team is a first class cricket team representing the member countries of the Leeward Islands Cricket Association, a regional association which again is part of the West Indies Cricket Board. Contrary to the normal English definition of the Leeward Islands, Dominica is not included – for cricketing purposes Dominica is a part of the Windward Islands; as such and Barbuda, Saint Kitts, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands and Sint Maarten are all part of the Leeward Islands Cricket Association. The team does not take part in any international competitions, but rather in inter-regional competitions in the Caribbean, such as the West Indies' Professional Cricket League, the best players may be selected for the West Indies team, which plays international cricket; the team competes in the Professional Cricket League under the franchise name Leeward Islands Hurricanes. The Leeward Islands has won a total of ten domestic titles – four in first class cricket and six in one-day cricket, but their last title was in 1997–98 when they won the double.
The Leeward Islands played their inaugural first-class game in 1958, lost by an innings and 19 runs to Jamaica. However, their first win did not come until 1968–69, when they beat Guyana by 43 runs at the Warner Park Sporting Complex ground. From 1965–66 to 1980–81 the team competed as the Combined Islands in first-class cricket, along with the best cricketers from the Windward Islands. However, when regular one-day competitions began in 1975–76 the island groups were separate, the Leeward Islands won on their third outing in 1977–78. In 1981–82 the Leeward Islands made their debut in the Shell Shield with a 57-run win over the Windward Islands, but it was to take eight seasons until they could lift the first-class trophy – which by had been renamed the Red Stripe Cup. From 1989–90 to 1997–98, the Leeward Islands won five first-class titles and four one-day titles, but since they have failed to win any major trophy in the West Indies. Listed below are players who have represented the Leeward Islands in either the 2016–17 Regional Four Day Competition or the 2016–17 Regional Super50.
Players with international caps are listed in bold. Source: Regional Four Day Competition, Regional Super50 The list of prominent cricketers who have represented the Leeward Islands includes: Curtly Ambrose Kenny Benjamin Winston Benjamin Ridley Jacobs Viv Richards Richie Richardson Andy Roberts Eldine Baptiste Sylvester Joseph Sheldon Cotterell Keith Arthurton Derick Parry Stuart Williams Runako Morton Kieran Powell Omari Banks Lionel Baker Adam Sanford The Leeward Islands play cricket on all the islands, though the only ground to have seen Test cricket is the Antigua Recreation Ground. However, their last match at the ARG was in February 2009, while another traditional ground, Warner Park in St Kitts, with 28 first-class games with Leeward Islands, was revamped for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. In the 2004–05 season, the Leeward Islands played their home games at Salem Oval, Edgar Gilbert Sporting Complex, Carib Lumber Ball Park, Addelita Cancryn Junior High School Ground and Grove Park. Regional Four Day Competition: 1989–90, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1997–98 Domestic one-day competition: 1977–78, 1981–82, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1997–98, 2010–11 Cricinfo Leeward Islands at CricketArchive Leeward Islands Cricket – Info from West Indies Cricket Board
Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. The island in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles, in the West Indies. Montserrat measures 16 km in length and 11 km in width, with 40 km of coastline. Montserrat is nicknamed "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants. On 18 July 1995, the dormant Soufrière Hills volcano, in the southern part of the island, became active. Eruptions destroyed Montserrat's Georgian era capital city of Plymouth. Between 1995 and 2000, two-thirds of the island's population was forced to flee to the United Kingdom, leaving fewer than 1,200 people on the island as of 1997; the volcanic activity continues affecting the vicinity of Plymouth, including its docking facilities, the eastern side of the island around the former W. H. Bramble Airport, the remnants of which were buried by flows from volcanic activity on 11 February 2010. An exclusion zone, encompassing the southern half of the island to as far north as parts of the Belham Valley, was imposed because of the size of the existing volcanic dome and the resulting potential for pyroclastic activity.
Visitors are not permitted entry into the exclusion zone, but a view of the destruction of Plymouth can be seen from the top of Garibaldi Hill in Isles Bay. Quiet since early 2010, the volcano continues to be monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. A new town and port are being developed at Little Bay, on the northwest coast of the island. While this construction proceeds, the centre of government and businesses is at Brades. In 1493, Christopher Columbus named the island Santa María de Montserrate, after the Virgin of Montserrat in the Monastery of Montserrat, on Montserrat mountain, near Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. "Montserrat" means "serrated mountain" in Catalan. Archaeological field work in 2012, in Montserrat's Centre Hills indicated there was an Archaic occupation between 4000 and 2500 BP. Coastal sites show the presence of the Saladoid culture. In November 1493, Christopher Columbus passed Montserrat in his second voyage, after being told that the island was unoccupied due to raids by the Caribs.
A number of Irishmen settled in Montserrat in 1632. The preponderance of Irish in the first wave of European settlers led a leading legal scholar to remark that a "nice question" is whether the original settlers took with them the law of the Kingdom of Ireland insofar as it differed from the law of the Kingdom of England; the Irish being historical allies of the French in their dislike of the English, invited the French to claim the island in 1666, although no troops were sent by France to maintain control. It was captured shortly afterwards by the English and English control of the island was confirmed under the Treaty of Breda the following year. Despite the seizing by force of the island by the English, the island's legal status is that of a "colony acquired by settlement". A neo-feudal colony developed amongst the "redlegs"; the colonists began to transport Sub-Saharan African slaves for labour, as was common to most Caribbean islands. The colonists built an economy based on the production of sugar, rum and sea island cotton, cultivated on large plantations manned by slave labour.
By the late 18th century, numerous plantations had been developed on the island. Many Irish continued to work as indentured servants. On 17 March 1768, slaves failed to achieve freedom; the people of Montserrat celebrate St Patrick's Day as a public holiday due to the slave revolt. Festivities held that week commemorate the culture of Montserrat in song, dance and traditional costumes. In 1782, during the American Revolutionary War, as America's first ally, France captured Montserrat in their war of support of the Americans; the French, not intent on colonizing the island agreed to return the island to Great Britain under the 1783 Treaty of Paris. The Irish constituted the largest proportion of the white population from the founding of the colony in 1628. Many were indentured labourers; the geographer Thomas Jeffrey claimed in The West India Atlas that the majority of those on Montserrat were either Irish or of Irish descent, "so that the use of the Irish language is preserved on the island among the Negroes".
African slaves and Irish colonists of all classes were in constant contact, with sexual relationships being common and a population of mixed descent appearing as a consequence. The Irish were prominent in Caribbean commerce, with their merchants importing Irish goods such as beef, pork and herring, importing slaves. There is indirect evidence that the use of the Irish language continued in Montserrat until at least the middle of the nineteenth century; the Kilkenny diarist and Irish scholar Amhlaoibh Ó Súilleabháin noted in 1831 that he had heard that Irish was still spoken in Montserrat by both black and white inhabitants. A letter by W. F. Butler in The Atheneum quotes an account by a Cork civil servant, C. Cremen, of what he had heard from a retired sailor called John O'Donovan, a fluent Irish speaker: He told me that in the year 1852, when mate of the brig Kaloolah, he went ashore on the island of Montserrat, out of the usual track of shipping, he said he was much surprised to hear the negroes talking Irish among themselves, that he joined in the conversation… The British phonetici
Saint Barthélemy the Territorial collectivity of Saint-Barthélemy, called Ouanalao by the indigenous people, is an overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies. Abbreviated to St-Barth in French, St. Barths or St. Barts in English, the island lies about 35 kilometres southeast of St. Martin and north of St. Kitts. Puerto Rico is 240 kilometres to the west in the Greater Antilles. Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, an overseas region and department of France. In 2003, the island voted in favour of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity of France; the collectivity is one of four territories among the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean that comprise the French West Indies, along with Saint Martin and Martinique. Saint Barthélemy, a volcanic island encircled by shallow reefs, has an area of 25 square kilometres and a population of 9,625, its capital is Gustavia, which contains the main harbour to the island.
It is the only Caribbean island, a Swedish colony for any significant length of time. Symbolism from the Swedish national arms, the Three Crowns, still appears in the island's coat of arms; the language and culture, are distinctly French. The island is a popular tourist destination during the winter holiday season for the rich and famous during the Christmas and New Year period. Before European contact the island was frequented by Eastern Caribbean Taíno people. Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter the island in 1493, he named it after his brother Bartolomeo. Sporadic visits continued for the next hundred years. By 1648, the island was settled from St. Christopher, but the settlement was attacked and destroyed by Caribs six years later; these first French settlers had been encouraged by Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy, the lieutenant-governor of the French West India Company and comprised about 50 to 60 settlers. Led by Jacques Gentes, the new arrivals began cultivating cacao, until the Carib attack forced them to retreat.
De Poincy was a member of the Order of Saint John. He facilitated the transfer of ownership from the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique to the Order, he continued to rule the island until his death in 1660. Five years it was bought by the French West India Company along with the Order's other possessions in the Caribbean. By 1674, the company was dissolved and the islands became part of the French Kingdom. There was a brief takeover by the British in 1758; the island was given to Sweden in 1784 in exchange for trade rights in Gothenburg. It was only after 1784, when King Louis XVI traded the island to Sweden, that the island's fortunes changed for the better; this change of control saw progress and prosperity as the Swedes declared Gustavia a free port, convenient for trading by the Europeans for goods, including contraband material. Slavery was practiced in St. Barthélemy under the "Ordinance concerning the Police of Slaves and free Coloured People" of 1787; the last legally-owned slaves in the Swedish colony of St. Barthélemy were granted their freedom by the state on 9 October 1847.
Since the island was not a plantation area, the freed slaves suffered economic hardships due to lack of opportunities for employment. In 1852, a devastating hurricane hit this was followed by a fire. Following a referendum in 1877, Sweden gave the island back to France in 1878, after which it was administered as part of Guadeloupe. On 19 March 1946, the people of the island became French citizens with full rights. Many men from St. Barthélemy took jobs on Saint Thomas to support their families; the island received electricity circa 1961. Organised tourism and hotels began in earnest the 1960s and developed in the 1970s onwards after the building of the island's landing strip that can accommodate mid-sized aircraft; the coves and beach-side hotels attract catered and self-catered honeymooners. The capital attracts cruise liners. Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, an overseas region and department of France. Through a referendum in 2003, island residents sought separation from the administrative jurisdiction of Guadeloupe, it was accomplished in 2007.
The island of Saint Barthélemy became an Overseas Collectivity. A governing territorial council was elected for its administration, which has provided the island with a certain degree of autonomy; the Hotel de Ville, the town hall, is now the Hotel de la Collectivité. A senator represents the island in Paris. St. Barthélemy has retained its free port status. Saint Barthélemy ceased being an outermost region and left the EU, to become an OCT, on 1 January 2012; the island sustained damage from Hurricane Irma in September 2017 but by March 2018, the airport was handling daily flights and the ferry between St. Martin and St. Barts was operating. Electricity and water had been restored; some hotels were not yet open but most were expected to be operating by the fall of the year. The cruise ship port in Gustavia was operational. Located 250 kilometres east of Puerto Rico and the nearer Virgin Islands, St. Barthélemy lies sou
Guadeloupe is an insular region of France located in the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Administratively, it is an overseas region consisting of a single overseas department. With a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and an estimated population of 400,132 as of January 2015, it is the largest and most populous European Union territory in North America. Guadeloupe's main islands are Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, the Îles des Saintes. Guadeloupe, like the other overseas departments, is an integral part of France; as a constituent territory of the European Union and the Eurozone, the euro is its official currency and any European Union citizen is free to settle and work there indefinitely. As an overseas department, however, it is not part of the Schengen Area; the official language is French, but Antillean Creole is spoken by the entire population except recent arrivals from metropolitan France. The island is called "Gwadada" by the locals.
The island was called "Karukera" by the Arawak people, who settled on there in the year 300. Christopher Columbus named the island Santa María de Guadalupe in 1493 after the Virgin Mary, venerated in the Spanish town of Guadalupe. Upon becoming a French colony, the Spanish name was retained though altered to French orthography and phonology. Archaeological evidence indicates that between 800 and 1000 AD drought led to a period with no habitation. Gradual resettlement occurred after 1000 AD. Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1493. During the 17th century, the Caribs repelled Spanish settlers; the French Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique delegated Charles Liènard de l'Olive and Jean du Plessis d'Ossonville to colonize one or any of the region's islands, Martinique, or Dominica. They settled in Guadeloupe in 1635, took possession of the island, wiped out many of the natives crushing them in 1641. Tobacco cultivation in the early 1600s was sustained by European laborers. In 1654 80% of the population of Guadeloupe was of European origin.
In the 1600s African slaves were brought in, by 1671 13%. Of the population was of European origin. Guadeloupe produced more sugar than all the British islands combined, worth about £6 million a year; the British captured Guadeloupe in 1759. Britain had seized Canada in the war, debate took place in both Britain and France as to, more valuable, Canada or Guadeloupe. Britain decided Canada, although expensive to maintain, was of greater strategic value and returned Guadeloupe to France in the Treaty of Paris. In 1790, following the French Revolution, monarchists refused to obey the new laws of equal rights for the free people of color and declared independence in 1791. In 1793, a slave rebellion broke out, which made the upper classes turn to the British and ask them to occupy the island. Britain seized Guadeloupe in April 1794. In December 1794, republican governor Victor Hugues used military force, helped by the slave population, to force the British to surrender. Hugues ended slavery, but in 1802, Napoleon I of France restored it, sending a force to recapture the island.
In 1810 the British again seized the island. In the Treaty of Paris of 1814, Sweden ceded Guadeloupe to France, giving rise to the Guadeloupe Fund; the Treaty of Vienna definitively acknowledged French control of Guadeloupe. In 1848, slavery was abolished. Slaves were replaced by indentured servants imported from India to work in the sugar fields. An earthquake in 1843 caused the La Soufrière volcano to erupt. Guadeloupe lost 12,000 of its 150,000 residents in the cholera epidemic of 1865–66. In 1925, after the trial of Henry Sidambarom French nationality and the vote was granted to Indian citizens. In 1946, the colony of Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France. In 2007 the island communes of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy were detached from Guadeloupe and became two separate French overseas collectivities with their own local administration. In January 2009, labour unions and others known as the Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon went on strike for more pay; the strike lasted 44 days. Tourism suffered during this time and affected the 2010 tourist season as well.
The 2009 French Caribbean general strikes exposed deep ethnic and class tensions and disparities within Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe is an archipelago of more than 12 islands, as well as islets and rocks situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean, it is in the Leeward Islands, in the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, an island arc a volcanic arc. Most of the inhabitants live on a pair of islands, Basse-Terre Island and Grande-Terre, which form a butterfly shape, viewed from above, the two wings of which are separated by a narrow sea channel, the Salée River. More than half of Guadeloupe's land surface is on Basse-Terre. Western Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic relief while eastern Grande-Terre features rolling hills and flat plains. La Grande Soufrière is the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles, with an elevation of 1,467 metres; the adjacent islands of La Désirade, Les Saintes, Marie-Galante are under jurisdiction of Guadeloupe. The Lesser Antilles are at the outer edge of the Caribbean Plate.
Many of the islands were formed as a result of the subduction of oceanic crust of the Atlantic Plate under the Caribbean Plate in the Lesser Antilles subduction zone. This process is responsible for volcanic and earthquake activity in the region. Guadeloupe was formed from multiple volcanoes. There is an act
Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean. It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin; the territory consists of the main island of Anguilla 16 miles long by 3 miles wide at its widest point, together with a number of much smaller islands and cays with no permanent population. The island's capital is The Valley; the total land area of the territory is 35 square miles, with a population of 14,764. Anguilla has become a popular tax haven, having no capital gains, profit, sales, or corporate taxes. In April 2011, faced with a mounting deficit, it introduced a 3% "Interim Stabilisation Levy", Anguilla's first form of income tax. Anguilla has a 0.75% property tax. The name Anguilla is from the Italian anguilla meaning "eel" in reference to the island's shape, it is believed by most sources to have been named by Christopher Columbus. For similar reasons, it was known as Snake or Snake Island.
Anguilla was first settled by Indigenous Amerindian peoples. The earliest Native American artefacts found on Anguilla have been dated to around 1300 BC; the Arawak name for the island seems to have been Malliouhana. The date of European colonisation is uncertain: some sources claim that Columbus sighted the island during his second voyage in 1493, while others state that the island's first European explorer was the French Huguenot nobleman and merchant mariner René Goulaine de Laudonnière in 1564; the Dutch West India Company established a fort on the island in 1631. The Dutch withdrew after the destruction of the fort by Spanish forces in 1633. Traditional accounts state that Anguilla was first colonized by English settlers from Saint Kitts beginning in 1650. In this early colonial period, Anguilla sometimes served as a place of refuge and recent scholarship focused on Anguilla has placed greater significance on other Europeans and creoles migrating from St. Christopher, Barbados and Antigua.
The French temporarily took over the island in 1666 but returned it to English control under the terms of the Treaty of Breda the next year. A Major John Scott who visited in September 1667, wrote of leaving the island "in good condition" and noted that in July 1668, "200 or 300 people fled thither in time of war", it is that some of these early Europeans brought enslaved Africans with them. Historians confirm. For example, Africans from Senegal lived in St. Christopher in 1626. By 1672 a slave depot existed on the island of Nevis. While the time of African arrival in Anguilla is difficult to place archival evidence indicates a substantial African presence of at least 100 enslaved people by 1683; these seem to have come from Central Africa as well as West Africa. Attempts by the French to capture the island during the War of Austrian Succession and the Napoleonic Wars ended in failure. During the early colonial period, Anguilla was administered by the British through Antigua. In 1967, Britain granted Saint Nevis full internal autonomy.
Anguilla was incorporated into the new unified dependency, named Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, against the wishes of many Anguillians. This led to two Anguillian Revolutions in 1969 headed by Atlin Harrigan and Ronald Webster; the island operated as the independent "Republic of Anguilla". The goal of the revolution was not independence per se, but rather independence from Saint Kitts and Nevis and a return to being a British colony. British authority was restored in July 1971. Anguilla is an internally self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom, its politics take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic dependency, whereby the Chief Minister is the head of government, of a pluriform multi-party system. The United Nations Committee on Decolonization includes Anguilla on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories; the territory's constitution is Anguilla Constitutional Order 1 April 1982. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the House of Assembly.
The judiciary is independent of the legislature. As a dependency of the UK, the UK is responsible for Anguilla's military defence, although there are no active garrisons or armed forces present. Anguilla has a small marine police force, comprising around 32 personnel, which operates one VT Halmatic M160-class 52-foot fast patrol boat; the majority of residents are black, the descendants of slaves transported from Africa. Minorities include whites at 3.74% and people of mixed race at 4.65%. 72 % of the population is Anguillian. Of the non-Anguillian population, many are citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, St Kitts & Nevis, the Dominican Republic and Nigeria. 2006 and 2007 saw an influx of large numbers of Chinese and Mexican workers, brought in as labour for major tourist developments due to the local population not being large enough to support the labour requirements. Christian churches did not have a consistent or strong presence during the initial period of English colonisation. Spiritual and religious practic
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands simply the Virgin Islands, are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles; the British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited; the capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, about 20 km long and 5 km wide. The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom 23,500 lived on Tortola. For the islands, the latest United Nations estimate is 30,661. British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, British Virgin Islanders are deemed to be citizens of the EU by virtue of their British citizenship.
The official name of the territory is still the "Virgin Islands", but the prefix "British" is used. This is believed to distinguish it from the neighbouring American territory which changed its name from the "Danish West Indies" to "Virgin Islands of the United States" in 1917. However, local historians have disputed this, pointing to a variety of publications and public records dating from between 21 February 1857 and 12 September 1919 where the Territory is referred to as the British Virgin Islands. British Virgin Islands government publications continue to begin with the name "The territory of the Virgin Islands", the territory's passports refer to the "Virgin Islands", all laws begin with the words "Virgin Islands". Moreover, the territory's Constitutional Commission has expressed the view that "every effort should be made" to encourage the use of the name "Virgin Islands", but various public and quasi-public bodies continue to use the name "British Virgin Islands" or "BVI", including BVI Finance, BVI Electricity Corporation, BVI Tourist Board, BVI Athletic Association, BVI Bar Association and others.
In 1968 the British Government issued a memorandum requiring that the postage stamps in the territory should say "British Virgin Islands", a practice, still followed today. This was to prevent confusion following on from the adoption of US currency in the Territory in 1959, the references to US currency on the stamps of the Territory; the Virgin Islands were first settled by the Arawak from South America around 100 BC. The Arawaks inhabited the islands until the 15th century when they were displaced by the more aggressive Caribs, a tribe from the Lesser Antilles islands, after whom the Caribbean Sea is named; the first European sighting of the Virgin Islands was by the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus in 1493 on his second voyage to the Americas. Columbus gave them the fanciful name Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Vírgenes, shortened to Las Vírgenes, after the legend of Saint Ursula; the Spanish Empire claimed the islands by discovery in the early 16th century, but never settled them, subsequent years saw the English, French and Danish all jostling for control of the region, which became a notorious haunt for pirates.
There is no record of any native Amerindian population in the British Virgin Islands during this period, although most of the native population on nearby Saint Croix was killed or dispersed. The Dutch established a permanent settlement on the island of Tortola by 1648. In 1672, the English captured Tortola from the Dutch, the English annexation of Anegada and Virgin Gorda followed in 1680. Meanwhile, over the period 1672–1733, the Danish gained control of the nearby islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix; the British islands were considered principally a strategic possession, but were planted when economic conditions were favourable. The British introduced sugar cane, to become the main crop and source of foreign trade, slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugar cane plantations; the islands prospered economically until the middle of the nineteenth century, when a combination of the abolition of slavery in the territory, a series of disastrous hurricanes, the growth in the sugar beet crop in Europe and the United States reduced sugar cane production and led to a period of economic decline.
In 1917, the United States purchased St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix from Denmark for US$25 million, renaming them the United States Virgin Islands; the British Virgin Islands were administered variously as part of the British Leeward Islands or with St. Kitts and Nevis, with an administrator representing the British Government on the islands; the islands gained separate colony status in 1960 and became autonomous in 1967. Since the 1960s, the islands have diversified away from their traditionally agriculture-based economy towards tourism and financial services, becoming one of the wealthiest areas in the Caribbean; the British Virgin Islands comprise around 60 tropical Caribbean islands, ranging in size from the largest, being 20 km long and 5 km wide, to tiny uninhabited islets, altogether about 150 square kilometres in extent. They are located in the Virgin Islands archipelago, a few miles east of the US Virgin Islands, about 95 km from the Puerto Rican mainland. About 150 km east south-east lies Anguilla.
The North Atlantic Ocean lies to the east of the islands, the Caribbean Sea lies to the