Formerly administered as part of the British Crown Colony of Mauritius, the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) was established as an overseas territory of the UK in 1965. A number of the islands of the territory were later transferred to the Seychelles when it attained independence in 1976.



total: 60 sq km

land: 60 sq km

water: 54,340 sq km


tropical marine; hot, humid, moderated by trade winds

Natural resources

coconuts, fish, sugarcane

People and Society


Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022)

head of government: Commissioner Paul CANDLER (since 8 July 2021); Administrator Kit PYMAN; note - both reside in the UK and are represented by Commander Steven R. DRYSDALE, RN, commanding British Forces on Diego Garcia (since 19 February 2021)


Economic overview

small island territory economy; economic activity mainly on Diego Garcia with national military installations; recently settled disputes with Mauritius have increased oil exports; established marine reserve has limited commercial fishing

Page last updated: Monday, September 12, 2022