Tortola
Overview
 
Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands, often called the British Virgin Islands , is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union, 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...

, a group of islands that form part of the archipelago
Archipelago
An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

 of the Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, which form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

. Local tradition recounts that Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 named it Tortola, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove
The European Turtle Dove , also known as Turtle Dove, is a member of the bird family Columbidae, which includes the doves and pigeons.-Distribution & Status:...

". Columbus named the island Santa Ana. The later Dutch settled and called it Ter Tholen
Tholen
Tholen is a municipality in the southwest of the Netherlands. The municipality of Tholen has lent its name from the town of Tholen, which is the largest population center in the municipality....

, after a coastal island forming part of the west coast of the Netherlands. When the British took over, they altered the name to its present-day Tortola.
Europeans began making their mark in Tortola history after 1493, when Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 spotted what are now called the British and US Virgin Islands and named them after the 11,000 virgins of the 4th-century martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 St.
Encyclopedia
Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands, often called the British Virgin Islands , is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union, 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...

, a group of islands that form part of the archipelago
Archipelago
An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

 of the Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, which form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

. Local tradition recounts that Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 named it Tortola, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove
The European Turtle Dove , also known as Turtle Dove, is a member of the bird family Columbidae, which includes the doves and pigeons.-Distribution & Status:...

". Columbus named the island Santa Ana. The later Dutch settled and called it Ter Tholen
Tholen
Tholen is a municipality in the southwest of the Netherlands. The municipality of Tholen has lent its name from the town of Tholen, which is the largest population center in the municipality....

, after a coastal island forming part of the west coast of the Netherlands. When the British took over, they altered the name to its present-day Tortola.

History

Europeans began making their mark in Tortola history after 1493, when Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 spotted what are now called the British and US Virgin Islands and named them after the 11,000 virgins of the 4th-century martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 St. Ursula. The Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 made a few attempts to settle the area, but pirates such as Blackbeard
Blackbeard
Edward Teach , better known as Blackbeard, was a notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies....

 and Captain Kidd were the first permanent inhabitants of the island.

In the 17th century, the English
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

, who had successfully usurped control of the area from the Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

, established a permanent plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

 colony on Tortola and the surrounding islands. The sugar cane industry, dependent on the slave labor of Africans transported from the continent, dominated Tortola history over the next 150 years. It diminished in the mid-19th century after the abolition
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 of slavery. A large proportion of the white landowning population left the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands, often called the British Virgin Islands , is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union, 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...

 during the economic downturn, but the political relationship between the island and the British continued and has been maintained.

Geography

Tortola is a mountainous island 13.5 miles (19 km) long and 3 miles (5 km) wide, with an area of 21.5 square miles (55.7 square km). Formed by volcanic activity
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

, its highest peak is Mount Sage
Mount Sage
Mount Sage is a volcanic peak which is the highest point in the British Virgin Islands. It is located on the island of Tortola to the southwest of the island group's capital Road Town, and rises to a height of 530 m ....

 at 1750 feet (530 m). Tortola lies near an earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 fault, and minor earthquakes are common.

Economy and demographics

The population of Tortola is 23,908. The principal settlement is Road Town
Road Town
-See also:* Government House, the official residence of the Governor of the British Virgin Islands located in Road Town-External links:*****...

, the capital of the British Virgin Islands.

Financial services
Offshore financial centre
An offshore financial centre , though not precisely defined, is usually a small, low-tax jurisdiction specializing in providing corporate and commercial services to non-resident offshore companies, and for the investment of offshore funds....

 are the main source of income to the island. The popular International Business Companies Act
International Business Companies Act
The International Business Companies Act, 1984 was a statute of the British Virgin Islands which permitted the incorporation of International Business Companies within the Territory...

, passed in the early 1980s, led to significant growth in government revenue. BVI residents are amongst the most affluent in the Eastern Caribbean. Numerous residents from other Caribbean islands work there.

Although the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are under the British flag, it uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency. The island is home to many offshore companies
Offshore company
The term offshore company is ambiguous. It may refer to either:# A company which is incorporated outside the jurisdiction of its primary operations regardless of whether that jurisdiction is an offshore financial centre i.e...

 that do business worldwide.

Attractions

East end has the best beaches on the island, including Josiah's Bay and Lambert beach.

Transportation

Tortola can be reached both by sea and by air.

Flights to Tortola arrive at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport. The airport is located on Beef Island
Beef Island
Beef Island is an island in the British Virgin Islands. It is located to the east of Tortola, and the two islands are connected by the Queen Elizabeth Bridge. Beef Island is the site of the Terrance B...

, just to the East of Tortola, but it is connected by the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge
Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, British Virgin Islands
The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge is a bridge that links Beef Island with Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Two bridges have shared the same name, with one lasting from 1966 to 2003, and a new bridge that was completed in 2002.-The First Bridge:...

. American Eagle and Air Sunshine provide scheduled service from San Juan. Island Birds Air Charter can connect you from San Juan, St Thomas, Antigua or St Maarten. Tortola also has public busses.
There are many ferry companies providing travellers with the opportunity to arrive by sea. The ferries run between Charlotte Amalie
Charlotte Amalie, United States Virgin Islands
-Education:St. Thomas-St. John School District serves the community. and Charlotte Amalie High School serve the area.-Gallery:-See also:* Anna's Retreat* Cruz Bay* Saint Thomas* Water Island-External links:* *...

, St. John, USVI, Red Hook in the East End of St. Thomas and either Road Town
Road Town
-See also:* Government House, the official residence of the Governor of the British Virgin Islands located in Road Town-External links:*****...

 or the West End of Tortola.

Education

The British Virgin Islands operates several government schools. http://www.bvi.gov.vg/products.asp?iProd=35&iCat=12&hierarchy=0

The following pre-primary schools serve Tortola residents:
  • Enid Scatliffe Pre-Primary School


The following elementary schools serve Tortola residents: http://www.onepaper.com/bvireview/?v=d&i=&s=Welcome+to+the+BVI:Schools&p=46123
  • Enis Adams Primary School
  • Joyce Samuel Primary School (formerly Belle Vue Primary School)
  • Ivan Dawson Primary School
  • Leonora Delville Primary School
  • Francis Lettsome Primary School
  • Alexandrina Maduro Primary School
  • Isabella Morris Primary School
  • Althea Scatliffe Primary School
  • Ebenezer Thomas Primary School
  • Willard Wheatley Primary School


The following High schools serve Tortola Residents:
  • Elmore Stout High School (formerly British Virgin Islands High School)
  • St George's Secondary School http://www.stgeorgesbvi.com
  • Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School
  • Cedar School International


Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre serves as Tortola's special needs school.http://bvibeacon.com/main/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1070&Itemid=26

The H. Lavity Stoutt Community College provides Tortola's Tertiary education

See also

  • British colonization of the Americas
    British colonization of the Americas
    British colonization of the Americas began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas...

  • Dutch colonization of the Americas
    Dutch colonization of the Americas
    Dutch trading posts and plantations in the Americas precede the much wider known colonization activities of the Dutch in Asia. Whereas the first Dutch fort in Asia was built in 1600 , the first forts and settlements on the Essequibo river in Guyana and on the Amazon date from the 1590s...



External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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