All economic activity is concentrated on the largest island of diego garcia, where a joint uk-us military facility is located. construction projects and various services needed to support the military installation are performed by military and contract employees from the uk, mauritius, the philippines, and the us. there are no industrial or agricultural activities on the islands. when the native ilois return, they plan to reestablish sugarcane production and fishing. the territory earns foreign exchange by selling fishing licenses and postage stamps.
No indigenous inhabitants note: approximately 1,200 former agricultural workers resident in the chagos archipelago, often referred to as chagossians or ilois, were relocated to mauritius and the seychelles in the 1960s and 1970s; in november 2000 they were granted the right of return by a british high court ruling, though no timetable has been set; in november 2004, approximately 4,000 uk and us military personnel and civilian contractors were living on the island of diego garcia
Archipelago in the indian ocean, south of india, about halfway between africa and indonesia
Total: 54,400 sq km land: 60 sq km; diego garcia 44 sq km water: 54,340 sq km note: includes the entire chagos archipelago of 55 islands
Land area is about 0.3 times the size of washington, dc
Conventional long form: british indian ocean territory conventional short form: none abbreviation: biot
Mauritius claims the chagos archipelago including diego garcia; in 2001, the former inhabitants of the chagos archipelago, evicted in 1967 and 1973 and now residing chiefly in mauritius, were granted uk citizenship and the right to repatriation; in may 2007, the uk court of appeals upheld the may 2006 high court of london judgment reversing the uk government's 2004 orders of council that banned habitation on the islands; a small group of chagossians visited diego garcia in april 2006; repatriation is complicated by the exclusive us military lease of diego garcia that restricts access to the largest viable island in the chain