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British Overseas Territories

British Overseas Territories
Flag of the United Kingdom of British Overseas Territories
Location of British Overseas Territories
Largest settlements George Town, Gibraltar, Road Town
Languages English, Greek, Spanish, Llanito, Turkish, Portuguese and Pitkern
Demonym British, Briton
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
Boris Johnson
• Minister of State
Baroness Anelay
• Minister of State
Alan Duncan
• Total
1,727,570 km2 (667,020 sq mi)
• 2010 estimate
Date format dd/mm/yyyy (AD)
British Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council
Dialogue forum
Seats 28-30
All members elected either as MPs in the UK cabinet or as heads of Government or Ministers in Overseas Territories.
Meeting place
Westminster, London

The 14 British Overseas Territories (BOT) are territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom. They are those parts of the former British Empire that have not chosen independence or have voted to remain British territories. Most of the inhabited territories are internally self-governing, with the UK retaining responsibility for defence and foreign relations. The rest are either uninhabited or have a transitory population of military or scientific personnel. They share the British monarch (Elizabeth II) as head of state.

The term "British Overseas Territory" was introduced by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, replacing the term British Dependent Territory, introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981. Prior to 1 January 1983, the territories were officially referred to as British Crown Colonies. With the exceptions of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (which host only officials and research station staff) and the British Indian Ocean Territory (used as a military base), the Territories retain permanent civilian populations. Permanent residency for the 7,000 or so civilians living in the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia is limited to citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.

Collectively, the Territories encompass a population of about 250,000 people and a land area of about 667,018 square miles (1,727,570 km2). The vast majority of this, 660,000 square miles (1,700,000 km2), constitutes the British Antarctic Territory. The United Kingdom participates in the Antarctic Treaty System and, as part of a mutual agreement, the British Antarctic Territory is recognised by four of the other sovereign nations making claims to Antarctic territory.


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