Introduction

Background

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.

Geography

Area

total: 60 sq km

land: 60 sq km

water: 54,340 sq km

Climate

tropical marine; hot, humid, moderated by trade winds

Natural resources

coconuts, fish, sugarcane

People and Society

Government

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)

head of government: Commissioner Ben MERRICK (since August 2017); 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)

Economy

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: Thursday, May 12, 2022