British Overseas Territories

British Overseas Territories
Flag of British Overseas Territories
Location of the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories
Location of the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories
Largest settlements George Town, Gibraltar, Road Town
Official language English
Demonym British, Briton
•  Monarch
Elizabeth II
Boris Johnson
• Minister of State
Tariq Ahmad
• Minister of State
Alan Duncan
• Total
1,727,570 km2 (667,020 sq mi)
• 2010 estimate
Date format dd/mm/yyyy ( AD)

The British Overseas Territories (BOT) or alternatively, United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are 14 territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom. [1] [2] They are the parts of the British Empire that have not been granted independence or have voted to remain British territories. These territories do not form part of the United Kingdom and, with the exception of Gibraltar, are not part of the European Union. Most of the inhabited territories are internally self-governing, with the UK retaining responsibility for defence and foreign relations. The rest are either uninhabited or have a transitory population of military or scientific personnel. They share the British monarch (currently Elizabeth II) as head of state.

The term "British Overseas Territory" was introduced by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, replacing the term British Dependent Territory, introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981. Prior to 1 January 1983, the territories were officially referred to as British Crown Colonies. With the exceptions of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (which host only officials and research station staff) and the British Indian Ocean Territory (used as a military base), the Territories retain permanent civilian populations. Permanent residency for the 7,000 or so civilians living in the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia is limited to citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.

Collectively, the Territories encompass a population of about 250,000 people and a land area of about 1,727,570 square kilometres (667,020 sq mi). The vast majority of this land area, 1,700,000 square kilometres (660,000 sq mi), constitutes the almost uninhabited British Antarctic Territory, while the largest territory by population, Bermuda, accounts for almost a quarter of the total BOT population. At the other end of the scale, three territories have no civilian population; the Antarctic territory, the British Indian Ocean Territory (from which the Chagos Islanders were controversially removed) and South Georgia. Pitcairn Islands, settled by the survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty, is the smallest settled territory with 49 inhabitants, while the smallest by land area is Gibraltar on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula. [3] [4] The United Kingdom participates in the Antarctic Treaty System [5] and, as part of a mutual agreement, the British Antarctic Territory is recognised by four of the six other sovereign nations making claims to Antarctic territory.

Although the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are also under the sovereignty of the British monarch, they are in a different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom. [6] [7] The British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are themselves distinct from the Commonwealth realms, a group of 15 independent countries (and the United Kingdom) each having Elizabeth II as their reigning monarch, and from the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 52 countries mostly with historic links to the British Empire (which also includes all Commonwealth realms).

As of August 2014 the Minister responsible for the Territories excluding the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and the Sovereign Base Areas is Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN. The other three territories are the responsibility of Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas. [8]

Current overseas territories

The fourteen British Overseas Territories are: [9]

Flag Arms Name Location Motto Area Population Capital
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Akrotiri and Dhekelia Cyprus, Mediterranean Sea 255 km2 (98 sq mi) [10] 7,700 (Cypriots; estimate)
8,000 non-permanent (UK military personnel and their families; estimate)
Episkopi Cantonment
Flag of Anguilla.svg
Coat of arms of Anguilla.svg
Anguilla Caribbean, North Atlantic Ocean "Strength and Endurance" 91 km2 (35.1 sq mi) [11] 13,500 (2006 estimate) [12] The Valley
Flag of Bermuda.svg
Coat of arms of Bermuda.svg
Bermuda North Atlantic Ocean between Puerto Rico and Cape Sable Island, Canada "Quo fata ferunt" ( Latin; "Whither the Fates carry [us]") 54 km2 (20.8 sq mi) [13] 64,000 (2007 estimate) [14] Hamilton
Flag of the British Antarctic Territory.svg
Coat of arms of the British Antarctic Territory.svg
British Antarctic Territory Antarctica "Research and discovery" 1,709,400 km2 (660,000 sq mi) [11] 0
50 non-permanent in winter, over 400 in summer (research personnel) [15]
Rothera (main base)
Flag of the British Indian Ocean Territory.svg
Coat of arms of the British Indian Ocean Territory.svg
British Indian Ocean Territory Indian Ocean "In tutela nostra Limuria" ( Latin; " Limuria is in our charge") 46 km2 (18 sq mi) [16] 0
3,000 non-permanent (UK and US military and staff personnel; estimate) [17]
Diego Garcia (base)
Flag of the British Virgin Islands.svg
Coat of arms of the British Virgin Islands.svg
British Virgin Islands Caribbean, North Atlantic Ocean "Vigilate" ( Latin; "Be watchful") 153 km2 (59 sq mi) [18] 27,000 (2005 estimate) [18] Road Town
Flag of the Cayman Islands.svg
Coat of arms of the Cayman Islands.svg
Cayman Islands Caribbean, North Atlantic Ocean "He hath founded it upon the seas" 264 km2 (101.9 sq mi) [19] 56,092 (2013 estimate) [19] George Town
Flag of the Falkland Islands.svg
Coat of arms of the Falkland Islands.svg
Falkland Islands South Atlantic Ocean "Desire the right" 12,173 km2 (4,700 sq mi) [13] 2,955 (2006 census) [20]
1,350 non-permanent (UK military personnel; 2012 estimate)
Flag of Gibraltar.svg
Coat of arms of Gibraltar1.svg
Gibraltar Iberian Peninsula, Continental Europe "Nulli expugnabilis hosti" ( Latin; "No enemy shall expel us") 6.5 km2 (2.5 sq mi) [21] 28,800 (2005 estimate) [22]
1,250 non-permanent (UK military personnel; 2012 estimate)
Flag of Montserrat.svg
Coat of arms of Montserrat.svg
Montserrat Caribbean, North Atlantic Ocean "A people of excellence, moulded by nature, nurtured by God" 101 km2 (39 sq mi) [23] 4,655 (2006 estimate) [23] Plymouth (abandoned due to volcano—de facto capital is Brades)
Flag of the Pitcairn Islands.svg
Coat of arms of the Pitcairn Islands.svg
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands Pacific Ocean 47 km2 (18 sq mi) [24] 49 (2014 estimate) [25]
6 non-permanent (2014 estimate) [26]
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha,
South Atlantic Ocean 420 km2 (162 sq mi) 5,530 (total; estimate) Jamestown
Flag of Saint Helena.svg
Coat of arms of Saint Helena.svg
Saint Helena "Loyal and Unshakeable" (Saint Helena) 4,255 (Saint Helena; 2008 census) [27]
Flag of Ascension Island.svg
Coat of Arms of Ascension Island.svg
Ascension Island 880 (Ascension; estimate) [28]
1,000 non-permanent (Ascension; UK military personnel; estimate) [28]
Flag of Tristan da Cunha.svg
Coat of arms of Tristan da Cunha.svg
Tristan da Cunha "Our faith is our strength" (Tristan da Cunha) 300 (Tristan da Cunha; estimate) [28]
9 non-permanent (Tristan da Cunha; weather personnel)
Flag of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.svg
Coat of arms of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.svg
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Atlantic Ocean "Leo terram propriam protegat" ( Latin; "Let the lion protect his own land") 4,066 km2 (1,570 sq mi) [29] 0
99 non-permanent (officials and research personnel) [30]
King Edward Point
Flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands.svg
Coat of arms of the Turks and Caicos Islands.svg
Turks and Caicos Islands Lucayan Archipelago, North Atlantic Ocean 430 km2 (166 sq mi) [31] 32,000 (2006 census) [31] Cockburn Town
Overall 1,727,570 km2 c. 250,000


  British Overseas Territories
  United Kingdom
Other Languages
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Britanski prekomorski teritoriji