UK’s Global Footprint

Discovering the UK Overseas Territories – UK’s Global Footprint

The UK is able to extend its diplomatic reach and promote its democratic values across the world through its Overseas Territories. As the Overseas Territories are located in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and in Antarctica, the UK’s global footprint in unrivalled and truly extends across the world.

Territories such as the Sovereign Base Areas, Gibraltar, Ascension, and the Falkland Islands are home to key military assets, helping defend UK and her allies’ interests around the world. Bermuda has been a strategic post since the War of Independence and in every major war following. The Territories provide the UK’s Armed Forces with strategically vital military bases around the world, helping to protect and safeguard British citizens from threats that include terrorism, people trafficking, and organised crime.

The British Antarctic Territory is the largest and most southerly of the UK’s Overseas Territories, with the land portion of the territory covering about 660,000 square miles.

The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia lie on a geo-strategic highway, at the crossroads of three major continents. This enables the Sovereign Base Areas to provide the UK with a modern, integrated and sovereign national security platform, delivering a 24/7 global defence and security hub in the Eastern Mediterranean. For example, this Overseas Territory played a crucial role as a staging location for the UK to support operations in Syria, Iraq and the Levant, and other humanitarian support in the region.

The Pitcairn Islands provide the UK with a critically important footprint in the Pacific.

Similar to the Sovereign Base Areas, Gibraltar is strategically located at the intersection of two continents, Europe and Africa, and two major water bodies, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the Territory is home to a military presence including the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, as well as the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.

There are 34 miles of tunnels inside the Rock making it a valuable location for military exercises.

Bermuda is considered to be the Atlantic bridge between the UK and the Americas. Historically, the Overseas Territory was of great strategic importance to the UK, and its allies, as a crucial defensive naval post dating back to the American War of Independence. Also, the Royal Bermuda Regiment has a proud history of service on the Overseas Territory and beyond. Bermudian servicemen and women played a role in both World Wars and contingents saw action in Northwest Europe, North Africa and Asia when joining the Royal British and Royal Canadian Armies and Air Forces.

A monitoring station on Tristan da Cunha helps the UK deliver on its obligations under the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty.

The Falkland Islands are strategically important to the UK due to their location in the South Atlantic, providing a presence in the region to counter the influence of competing nations and as a gateway to Antarctica. The Overseas Territory is also home to all three branches of the UK’s Armed Forces, including the permanent presence of HMS Forth and four permanently based Typhoon fighter jets.

In 2023, the Cayman Islands celebrated 120 years since being recognised as a British Port of Registry. The Registry, known as The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, is a division of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands and has a register of over 2,300 vessels.

Without the Overseas Territories the UK would be unable to engage internationally to the extent that it does.

Quiz answer: B. 300