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British Virgin Islands History Timeline

British Virgin Islands's Information

Flag of British Virgin Islands
Land Area 151 km2
Total Area 151km2
Population 34,232 (#213)
Population Density 226.70/km2
Government Type Parliamentary Democracy (House Of Assembly); Self-governing Overseas Territory Of The UK
GDP (PPP) $500.00 Million
GDP Per Capita $42,300
Currency Dollar (USD)
  • (100BC) Arawak from South America settled Virgin Islands
1400s - 1600s
  • (1493) Islands sighted by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage, named them Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes (Saint Ursula and her 11,000 Virgins)
  • (1555) Spanish claimed the Islands
  • (1615) Dutch privateer, Joost van Dyk, organized first permanent settlement on Tortola
  • (1625) Dutch settled on Tortola; Spanish led full assault on Tortola, destroyed settlements
  • (1628) Islands claimed by England
  • (1631) Dutch West India Company built a settlement on Virgin Gorda after copper was discovered
  • (1647) Spanish attacked Dutch on Tortola, massacred them; went on to Road Town, killed everyone, destroyed the settlement
  • (1665) English occupied Tortola
  • (1672) Britain ousted the Dutch; Islands became a British colony; Quakers established settlements and plantations; sugar cane was introduced and became main crop, slaves brought in from Africa to work the plantations
  • (1672 - 1733) Dutch gained control of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix
  • (1680) English settled Anegada and Virgin Gorda
1700s - 1800s
  • (1713) British crown colony was established (British Virgin Islands)
  • (1773) British Virgin Islands administratively united (Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Peter, Norman, Guana, Ginger and Salt Islands
  • (1834) Slaves were emancipated
  • (1837) Hurricane struck, destroyed 17 of the territory's sugar works
  • (1846) United Kingdom passed Sugar Duties Act 1846, equalized duties on sugar grown in the colonies, prices fell, caused severe economic blow to plantations
  • (1853) Outbreak of cholera killed almost 15% of the population; protests on new taxes and poor economics led to violence, several constables, magistrates were badly beaten, most of Road Town was burned, large number of plantation houses and sugar mills destroyed, cane fields burned
  • (1872) Islands were incorporated into the British colony of the Leeward Islands
  • (1901) Legislative council was formally dissolved, Islands officially administered though Governor of the Leeward Island
  • (1950) Legislative Council was reinstated
  • (1956) Leeward Islands Federation dissolved
  • (1960) Islands became separate administered entity
  • (1967) Islands became autonomous
  • (2003) National Democratic Party won elections
  • (2007) Virgin Island Party won a landslide victory over National Democratic Party; new constitution was adopted
  • (2010) William Boyd McCleary appointed Governor; Hurricane Otto caused severe flooding and damages
This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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