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.
Copper was first discovered on Virgin Gorda in the 17th century by the Dutch, but they were never able to successfully exploit it. Local legends also suggest the shafts were originally dug by Spanish adventurers to mine silver in the late-fifteenth century, but no documentary evidence can be found to support this theory, and no firm evidence of Spanish occupation of the islands prior to the Dutch settlement exists, much less the size of settlement which would be needed to sink shafts. (more...)
Ruth Dancia Penn, OBE, QC is a British Virgin Islands politician and former deputy governor of the British Virgin Islands. Dancia Penn also formerly served as the Attorney General of the British Virgin Islands from 1992 to 1999. She was the first woman to be appointed to either post, and the first British Virgin Islander to serve as Attorney General. She served briefly as the acting Governor of the British Virgin Islands during 2006 in the gap between Tom Macan leaving office and David Pearey taking up his appointment. Professionally Dancia Penn goes by her maiden name, but her legal name has been changed to Mrs Dancia Penn-Sallah since her marriage to Captain Sallah, Registrar of Ships in the British Virgin Islands. (more...)