The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke, along with over fifty other smaller islands and cays. Approximately fifteen of the islands are inhabited. The largest island, Tortola, is approximately 20 km (approx. 12 mi) long and 5 km (approx. 3 mi) wide. The islands have a total population of about 22,000, of whom approximately 18,000 live on Tortola. Road Town, the capital, is situated on Tortola.
The name is derived from the nautical term "the roads", a place less sheltered than a harbour but which ships can easily get to. A 67-acre (27 ha) area called Wickhams Cay was reclaimed from the sea and is the center of tourism. The oldest building in Road Town, the old HM Prison on Main Street, dates from the 1840s. (more...)