Welcome to the British Virgin Islands
Imagine yourself stretched out upon the beach. The sand is sugary white, the water is crystal clear and the palm tree shade is refreshingly cool. Sip upon a tall margarita and fee the warm trade winds caress your face. In the British Virgin Islands, relaxation is the name of the game.
With this many islets, cays and islands, the British Virgin Islands (BVI for short) look like a multi-studded gem necklace that gets better with every island. Simply gazing upon these Caribbean treasures is impressive. Their dramatic volcanic hills are topped with a thick layer of jungle love, and their promise of idyllic serenity is far from broken to any happy vacationer who is lucky enough to step upon one of these islands.
A Little BVI History...
The first big name to come across the British Virgin Islands as a "discoverer" was Christopher Columbus. Indeed, he is the father of the islands' name-both the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands were sweepingly brought under nomenclature derived from an ancient Catholic myth. As it turns out, there was a St. Ursula back in the Fourth Century who went to be a martyred and was accompanied by none less than 11,000 virgins. So, upon seeing the countless islands scattered throughout the sea in unspeakable glory, Columbus let these words escape from his lips and so the islands are thus named today.
Then, after the Virgin Islands (at that point, of course, there was no distinction between the "USVI" and the "BVI") were discovered, they were scoured for natural resources, precious minerals and more. The Spaniards' repeated searches for gold, however, yielded nothing. Therefore, the islands were left forgotten until the next tide of foreign inhabitants came along - these were the surly types such as pirates who took advantage of the great hideaways provided by the islands' wavy contours and countless hidden coves. They found gold in their own way-by surprise attacking cargo ships passing by.
The next phase of settlers surging in was the Dutch. This happened some time in the 1600's. However, their colonial reign here in the British Virgin Islands was short lived. That's because the British then flexed their military muscles, and showed their might so forcibly that that the Dutch buckled under the pressure and were sent scurrying away. The shrewd and industrious settlers then took advantage of the vast economic potential presented by sugar production, and aggressively developed the market for the next century and a half. The grim reality, however, was that this industry was fueled on by the immense capacity for cheap labor - a bustling slave trade at the time made massive production possible. When the passage of abolition laws made slavery illegal, the industry then collapsed and the British were sent back home.
The Islands of the BVI
One of the most treasured islands in the BVI is Tortola. It's certainly the biggest, featuring the highest population and the most culture when it comes to nightlife, dining and luxury lodging destinations. Another beloved tropical island in the BVI is Jost van Dyke - a veritable treasure when it comes to seclusion and fun.
The Virgin Gorda island will knock the socks off of any traveler with its diverse volcanic terrain. Whether enjoying the scenic view from the high mountain peak or bathing in the sparkling hot baths, Virgin Gorda is superb. Other fantastic islands in the BVI include Norman, Peter, Great Camanoe, Cooper, Ginger, Anegada, Salt, and the exceptional Dead Chest destination.
Currently BVI is under loose rule from England, although there's very little time for politics or unrest here in paradise. That said, they do have a queen-appointed governor and a local legislature elected every four years.
Jost Van Dyke ·
Virgin Gorda ·
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