The United Kingdom has 14 overseas territories under its jurisdiction. The territories are part of the British Empire that have yet to be granted independence or have chosen to remain as such. The occupied British territories are self-governing; the UK maintains only their foreign relations and the responsibility of defending them. The British Overseas Territories collectively have a population of approximately 250,000 people and cove a total area of 667,000 square miles. The overseas territories do not form part of the UK and are not also part of the European Union.
1. British Antarctic Territory
The British Antarctic Territory is a section of the Antarctic under the jurisdiction of the UK. It is geographically the largest of the 14 British Overseas Territories with an area of 660,000 square miles. BAT was formed on March 3, 1962, although the UK claimed it both in 1908 and 1917. The territory includes three regions which were administered independently as part of the Falkland Islands before 1962. The Southern part of BAT was named Queen Elizabeth Land in honor of the queen. British Antarctic Territory is inhabited by the staff of a research station maintained by British Antarctic Survey. The British claim to the territory is disputed by Argentina and Chile who have also made claims.
2. Falkland Islands
The Falklands are in the South Atlantic Ocean east of South America’s Patagonia coast. The islands cover an area of 4,700 square miles and comprise of East and West Falklands as well as several other smaller islands. Falklands have a system of self-governance with the UK providing defence and maintaining foreign relations. Although the British asserted its claim to the islands in 1833, Argentina also maintains its claim to the islands. The Falkland Islands have a population of about 3,000 inhabitants with the majority being native-born Falklanders. Falklanders are British Citizens with English as the official language. The Governor exercises the executive authority on the island on behalf of the monarch.
3. South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are found in the South Atlantic Ocean. The inhospitable islands consist of the island of South Georgia and several other islands referred to the South Sandwich Islands. SGSSI has a total area of 3,903 square miles with South Georgia as the largest of the islands. The islands have no permanent population with the present inhabitants being the British Government Officers and the support staff of the British Antarctic Survey. The territory was formed in 1985 having been previously governed as part of Falkland Island. Argentina also claimed the islands in 1927 and 1938.
4. The Turks And Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands are sets of islands in the Lucayan Archipelago. These islands are known for tourism and their position as offshore financial centers. The islands have a total population of over 31,000 inhabitants with the majority living on the Prudenciales in the Caicos Islands. The islands were first inhabited by the Tainos in the 500 AD. The Queen is represented on the islands by the Governor who is appointed by the monarch. The territory adopted its constitution on August 30, 1976, with a Constitution Day celebrated every year on August 30, as a national holiday.