The Virgin Islands are situated, west of Anguilla, 60 miles east of Puerto Rico, and adjacent to the USVI. The archipelago spreads over some 1,330 square miles of ocean and includes nearly 60 islands and cays, with a total land area of just 59 square miles. The largest islands are Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke. Road Town, the capital, is on Tortola, and Mount Sage towers above at 1,716 feet, the highest point in all the Virgin Islands.
Topographically most of the islands are hilly, with verdant, rugged slopes; sandy beaches; and coastal cliffs. More unusual are Anegada, a coral atoll, and the islands of Virgin Gorda and Fallen Jerusalem, with areas of enormous boulders.
The climate is sub-tropical, with moderate rainfall and maximum sunshine. At sea level the temperatures rarely drop below 70°F (21°C) in the winter or rise above 94°F (34°C) in the summer. The islands are cooled by breezes from the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
The BVI is a British Overseas Territory, with the Queen as the Head of State and Her Majesty’s representative, the Governor, responsible for external affairs, defence and internal security, the Civil Service and administration of the courts. Since 1967, the BVI has held responsibility for its own internal affairs.
The Constitution provides for the people of the BVI to be represented by a ministerial system of government, led by an elected Premier, a Cabinet of Ministers and the House of Assembly. The House of Assembly comprises 13 elected representatives, the Attorney General, and the Speaker.
The judicial system, based on English law, is under the direction of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which includes the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal. The ultimate appellate court is the Privy Council in London.