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British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands, Political System

The British Virgin Islands are among the 14 British overseas territories (Engl. British Overseas Territories). The island empire is therefore not part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but is under its sovereignty and has the British Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, who therefore represents the highest executive authority of the islands. In this capacity, however, the Queen is represented in the British Virgin Islands by a governor, who is appointed by the British monarch on the proposal of the British government. The United Kingdom is responsible for the foreign and defense policy of the Virgin Islands.

British Virgin Islands, Political System

The British Virgin Islands have a constitution that was last enacted in 2007. The Prime Minister (called Chief Minister until 2007) acts as head of government. Together with the four other members of the government, he is appointed by the governor from the members of the Legislative Council (House of Assembly). This Legislative Council is composed of a total of 13 members, as well as a speaker and the Attorney General, the government's highest legal advisor. The latter is not entitled to vote. All members of the Legislative Council are elected by the people.

David Pearey has been Governor of the British Virgin Islands since 2006, and Ralph T. O'Neal has been Prime Minister since 2007.

The British Virgin Islands belong to the Caribbean Community, an international organization based in Georgetown (Guyana), and are a member of the Organization of East Caribbean States, a supranational federation of states. They are also one of the sponsors of the University of the West Indies.

According to, the official name of the country is:

British Virgin Islands

National anthem

Since the British Virgin Islands belong to Great Britain, they also share the common hymn "God save the Queen" with this country. The exact origin and timing of the national anthem of Great Britain is the cause of much speculation. Among other things, the composition of Dr. John Bull from 1619 and a number of pieces by Henry Purcell. The first publication of the hymn was in Thesaurus Musicus in 1744 and was made public for the first time to King George II the following year .listed. Although it is not the oldest, "God Save the Queen" is the first national anthem, which is where other European countries developed it. She was also adopted for the Prussian hymn "Heil Dir im Siegerkranz". Inspired by one of his trips to London, Joseph Haydn composed a very similar hymn around 1794 for the birthday of the Austrian Emperor (God preserve Franz the Kaiser). It is also still one of the two national anthems of New Zealand and the royal anthem for Canada, Australia and the other Commonwealth of Nations.

In English

God save our gracious Queen,

Long live our noble Queen,

God save the Queen!

Send her victorious,

Happy and glorious,

Long to reign over us;

God save the Queen! O Lord, our God arise,

Scatter her enemies

And make them fall;

Confound their politics,

Frustrate their knavish tricks,

On Thee our hopes we fix,

God save us all!Thy choicest gifts in store

On her be pleased to pour;

Long may she reign;

May she defend our laws,

And ever give us cause

To sing with heart and voice,

God save the Queen!Not in this land alone,

But be God's mercies known,

From shore to shore!

Lord make the nations see,

That men should be brothers,

And form one family,

The wide world over.

And in the English translation

God protect our gracious queen!

Long live our noble queen,

God protect the queen!

Make her victorious,

happy and glorious,

That she may rule over us long!

God Save the Queen! O Lord our God, help her,

Scatter her enemies,

And let her perish;

Confuse their (the enemy's) policy,

Thwart their evil plans!

We place our hopes on you.

God protect us all!Shower her with your choicest gifts, to please you,

That she will rule for a long time,

That she enforce justice

And always give us reason

to sing

loudly and from the heart: God protect the Queen! God's grace be known not only in this country,

but on all coasts!

Lord, make the peoples realize

That people should be brothers

And be one family

All over the world.

National flag

The national flag or national flag symbolizes certain historical developments or special characteristics of a country. Today every country has its own national flag, which is often supplemented by numerous other flags inside.

The flag of the British Virgin Islands shows the Union Jack of the British motherland on a dark blue background in the upper left corner. In the lower right corner you can see the coat of arms of the British Virgin Islands, which consists of a green shield with twelve golden lamps with red flames, in the middle of which a standing woman has been placed. This female figure dressed in white shows St. Ursula of Cologne, who is considered the patron saint of the British Virgin Islands. It is also she who holds one of the lamps in her hand.

Based on flag descriptions by, the remaining eleven lamps refer to the eleven (or rather the eleven thousand) companions of St. Ursula, who were also virgins and, according to legend, went to martyrdom with Ursula. The Latin saying "Vigilate" noted below the shield means "Be vigilant" in its translation and in all likelihood relates to the New Testament (Mt 25: 1-13a), where the parable of five wise and five foolish virgins is reported.

It is written there that, in contrast to the foolish virgins, the wise virgins supplied themselves with oil in good time and therefore prepared themselves in good time for Christ's arrival. Jesus now finds these virgins watching at his return and leads them into the kingdom of heaven. With regard to the national flag of the Virgin Islands, it means that St. Ursula and her companions are internally prepared for martyrdom and also approach the entry into the kingdom of heaven.

British Virgin Islands flag and coat of arms

British Virgin Islands: Known People

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)

Probably the most famous seafarer in human history was a native of Genoese. Soon he put himself into Spanish service. One of his greatest achievements was the "discovery" of America in 1492. A year later he discovered the Virgin Islands, which he named "Las Virgenes" (= "The Virgins"), in honor of St. Ursula and her companions.

Orlando D. Smith (born 1944)

Smith was the Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands from June 2003 to August 2007. He was replaced in his office by Ralph T. O'Neal.

William Thornton (1759-1828)

The British-American architect and inventor was born in Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands in 1759. After emigrating to the United States in 1787, he built the building for which he has become best known, the Washington Capitol. Other important buildings that he designed in the course of his work included the Library Company in Philadelphia and the Octagon House in Washington, DC

Ursula von Köln (4th century)

This saint of the Roman Catholic Church is said to have lived in the 4th century. However, she can also be a pure legend figure. As a white-clad woman with a lamp in her hand, she is depicted on the coat of arms of the British Virgin Islands.

British Virgin Islands: Animals

There aren't too many animals in the British Virgin Islands. In addition to marine life such as lobsters, sharks, dolphins and whales, there are turtles, especially in the north of the island of Anegada. In addition, numerous smaller fish swim in the sea here, which are a great pleasure for divers.

In the west of this island there are also some salt lakes where some resettled flamingos live. The Virgin Islands iguana can also be found here. A specialty, however, is the local slim boa.


Islands slender boa The non-toxic Virgin Islands slender boa (Epicrates monensis) is one of a total of 10 species from the genus of slender boas (Epicrates). The snake reaches an average length of about 150 cm.

The upper side of this slender boa has variable dark brown bands and spots on a light brown background, while the underside is yellowish-white. Males and females look alike, but on average the females are slightly larger than the males.

Its distribution ranges from the island of Mona - from which its scientific name "Monensis" comes from - which lies between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico via Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to the British Virgin Islands.

British Virgin Islands: Plants

The British Virgin Islands offer a relatively large variety of plants due to their rainfall, soil conditions and sunshine duration. Often bushes grow here.

Palm trees and various tropical fruit trees thrive there, wild tamarinds, cacti, loblolly and frangipani plants grow on the hills, and in the valleys of the island paradise you can admire the most beautiful tropical flowers, including bougainvillea, hibiscus flowers and flame trees. Sea Grape Trees and Paletuvier also grow on the islands.






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