Virgin Islands Day is observed on July 1 every year in the British Virgin Islands. Something important is that the date of this holiday may differ to create a long weekend. This holiday was known as Territory Day, until 2021. The British Virgin Islands is located in the eastern part of the Caribbean Sea. It is an island chain consisting of four larger islands, Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke, and 32 smaller islands and islets, including Great Tobago, Salt, Peter, Cooper, Norman, Guana, Beef, Great Thatch, Little Thatch, and Marina Cay, of which more than 20 are uninhabited.
History of Virgin Islands Day
The first European to see the islands was Christopher Columbus, who arrived at the islands on his second voyage in 1493. Columbus named the islands ‘Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes.’ The Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, sent a Spanish invasion force to claim the islands in 1555. Most of the Caribbeans had fled or had been killed by 1596. The islands were pursued by buccaneers and pirates. The U.K. has the control of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) since 1672.
In 1871, BVI, along with other British colonies in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, became part of the Federation of Leeward Islands. The date on which this holiday originated was when the federation was dissolved and the Colony of the Virgin Islands came into existence in 1956. The holiday used to be called Colony Day. By the late 1960s, official records began to refer to the Virgin Islands as a territory rather than a colony since the larger colonies in the region were moving towards independence. The Public Holiday Act was amended in 1978 replacing Colony Day with Territory Day.
On December 2nd, 2020, Cabinet decided that Territory Day would be replaced by Virgin Islands Day, following the advice of the BVI Public Holidays Review Committee. Natalio D. Wheatley, Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries, and Agriculture.
Virgin Islands Day timeline
Christopher Columbus Arrives at the British Virgin Islands
The Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, sends a Spanish invasion force to claim the islands.
The Virgin Islands becomes part of the Federation, along with other British colonies in the northeastern Caribbean Sea.
This holiday originates when the federation was dissolved and the Colony of the Virgin Islands came into existence.
Virgin Islands Day FAQs
Are the British Virgin Islands still British?
Yes, they are and are considered a British overseas territory.
Can British citizens live in the British Virgin Islands?
They must request long-term permission to stay just like any other foreigners, even if they have a UK passport.
Is it expensive to travel to BVI?
A vacation to the British Virgin Islands costs around $1,850 for one person for one week.
Virgin Islands Day Activities
Travel to the British Virgin Islands
This group of islands is a paradise. They are globally legendary for their powder-white sand, jewel-toned waters, and rich diversity of ocean life.
Plan your next trip to the BVI
Maybe you do not have the chance to travel to the BVI this year, but you can start planning your trip. Start deciding which places to visit there!
Watch videos of the BVI
Another way to celebrate this day is by watching videos of the BVI. If you watch videos of the surrounding ocean, you can release feel-good hormones, including dopamine and oxytocin.
5 Facts About The British Virgin Islands (BVI)
They have U.K. citizenship
Since 2002, British Virgin Islanders have been known as ‘British Overseas Territories citizens’ and they enjoy the rights of other U.K. citizens.
It’s British Billionaire Richard Branson’s haven
Not only has he named his business — Virgin Atlantic Airlines after the island, but he also owns one of the islands and he spends half the year there.
The tourism industry is very important
Being one of the wealthiest places in the Caribbean, the island has shifted its focus from agriculture to tourism.
The renowned tourist destination
Baths National Park is a beautiful and popular tourist destination that’s located on one of the larger islands.
It’s been hit by several hurricanes
Like many islands in the Caribbean, the BVI was hit by Hurricane Irma in 2017, which resulted in considerable damage, especially in Tortola, and the tragic death of four people.
Why We Love Virgin Islands Day
We love the beach
Who does not look forward to a beautiful, sunny day at the beach? The truth is that the beaches in BVI are like nothing you have ever seen — they are paradise.
There are many things that you can do there
In the BVI you can head out for a hike, go snorkeling, and diving, and enjoy lying on the beach in a beautiful environment. You can also go to restaurants and eat the typical dishes.
They are full of incredible places
The BVI is surrounded by striking reefs, underwater caves, tunnel formations, and age-old shipwrecks. There are also five stars hotels where you can enjoy an all-inclusive holiday.
Virgin Islands Day dates