Tortola, largest of the British Virgin Islands.
Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands which form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. Local belief is that the name was originally given to the island by Christopher Columbus, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove"


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, its highest peak is Mount Sage at 1750 feet (530 m). Tortola lies near an earthquake fault, and minor earthquakes are common.

Economy and demographics

The population of Tortola is 23,908. The principal settlement is Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands.

Financial services are the main source of income to the island. The hugely popular International Business Companies Act, passed in the early 1980s, led to huge growth in government revenue. BVI residents are amongst the most affluent in the Eastern Caribbean. Because of this, a large number of residents from other Caribbean islands work there.

Even though the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are under the British flag, the U.S. dollar is the official currency. The island is home to many offshore companies that do business worldwide.

Visitors either arrive by boat or fly to Beef Island and drive across the short Queen Elizabeth Bridge to Tortola. White-sand beaches, such as Cane Garden Bay, are popular attractions. Cane Garden Bay also offers an abyss of surfing potential if you catch it on the right tide and swell. Located Just north of Apple Bay (a second good break that can hold swell significally longer than Cane Garden), Cane Garden Bay is a large bay that is usually filled with boats and activities. However, access to the spot is relatively easy. Park in the dirt lot located on the right side and walk out on the dock.


The British Virgin Islands operates several government schools.

The following pre-primary schools serve Tortola residents:

  • Enid Scatliffe Pre-Primary School

The following elementary schools serve Tortola residents:

  • Enis Adams Primary School
  • Belle Vue (Joyce Samuel) 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

Tortola residents are served by Elmore Stout High School.

Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Center serves as Tortola's special needs school.

The H. Lavity Stoutt Community College is on Tortola.


See also

External links

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