British Indian Ocean Territory

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British Indian Ocean Territory aerial

Claimed in 1814, it was then established as a territory of the United Kingdom (UK) in 1965. In just over a decade later, many of the smaller islands were transferred (or given) to the Seychelles when it gained its own independence in 1976. 

After that, transfer of the Chagos Archipelago was all that remained of the B.I.O.T. The largest and most southerly of the islands, Diego Garcia, contains a joint UK-US naval support facility. All of the remaining islands in the archipelago are uninhabited. 

When the UK first established the territory in 1965, the original residents of the islands (against their will) were relocated to Mauritius and the Seychelles. In 2001, as a form of compensation, the transferees were granted UK citizenship and eventually demanded that they be allowed to return to their home. 

Lately there have been consistent rumors that the British will finally allow the original inhabitants (Chagossians) to return to the islands, much to the consternation of the Americanmilitary force on Diego Garcia, as they still hold the exclusive lease to this strategically placed island. 

Fast Facts

  • Name: British Indian Ocean Territory (B.I.O.T.)
  • Capital City: N/A
  • Population: 0 (military personnel and supportive civilian contractors comprise the only temporary population)
  • World Populations (all countries)
  • Currency: United States dollar (USD) 
    (conversion rates)
    us dollar
    One US Dollar
  • Ethnicity: 95.8% British and American, 4.12% other
  • Language: English (official)
  • Largest Cities: (by population) N/A
  • National Day: N/A
  • Religion: N/A


BIOT flag

The BIOT flag was officially adopted on in 1990. 

The blue and white wavy lines represent the waters of the Indian Ocean, and the palm recalls the natural vegetation on the islands. The crown is indicative of it being a British possession. 

Larger BIOT flag

Geo Statistics

  • Coastline: 432 miles (698 km)
  • Land Area
    (land) 23 sq miles (60 sq km) 
    (water) 0 sq miles (0 sq km) 
    (TOTAL) 23 sq miles (60 sq km) To convert sq km (kilometers) to sq mi (miles)
    use our converter
  • Land Area: (all countries)
  • Latitude & Longitude: Diego Garcia 
    (06° 34' N, 72° 24' W)
  • Horizontal Width: unknown
  • Vertical Length: unknownNote: Lengths and widths are point-to-point, straight-line measurements from a Mercator map projection, and will vary some using other map projections
  • Geographic Center: unknown
  • Highest Point: on Diego Garcia 49 ft. (15 m)
  • Lowest Point: Indian Ocean 0 m


All of the islands within the British Indian Ocean Territory are flat coral atolls with no lakes or rivers.  




Travel Info

ATTRACTIONS: (a few major)

The British Indian Ocean Territory is the site of a joint U.S. - UK military facility with no approved tourism opportunities. 


A tropical marine climate with consistently high temperatures and elevated humidity levels. 

Windy days are common, however, trade winds do help moderate temperatures, as daily highs (year-round) average near 88°f, while lows seldom fall below 75°f. 

Diego Garcia
East Point, Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory
USS Saratoga
USS Saratoga moored, British Indian Ocean Territory

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