The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a British overseas territory, located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constituting the U.S. Virgin Islands. Technically the name of the Territory is simply the "Virgin Islands", but in practice since 1917 they have been almost universally referred to as the "British Virgin Islands" to distinguish the islands from the American Territory. To add to the regional confusion, the Puerto Rican islands of Culebra, Vieques and surrounding islands began referring to themselves as the "Spanish Virgin Islands" as part of a tourism drive in the early 2000s. Administratively, these islands are part of Spanish speaking Puerto Rico, and were historically ruled by Spain.
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.
Fort Charlotte is a fort built on Harrigan's Hill (above Macnamara), Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The fort was named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was the wife of King George III.
The fort was built by the British Royal Engineers in 1794 at an elevation of approximately 947 feet over Road Town. However, it was constructed on top of an earlier wooden stockade believed to have been originally erected by the privateer Joost van Dyk to act as a lookout post. The fort was not a walled fort in the traditional sense, but only an earthen one. However, its elevation meant that there was absolutely no prospect of receiving cannon fire from incoming ships. The only way in which the Fort could have been taken (it never fell) would have been for troops to climb the hill whilst under heavy musket and cannon fire. (more...)