BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY COINS
The British Indian Ocean Territory is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom situated in the Indian Ocean halfway between Tanzania and Indonesia. The territory comprises the seven atolls of the Chagos Archipelago with over 1,000 individual islands.
The largest island is Diego Garcia, 17 sq miles, the site of a joint military facility of the United Kingdom and the United States. Following the eviction of the native population in the 1960s and 1970s, the only inhabitants are US and British military personnel and associated contractors, who collectively number around 2,500. The islands are off-limits to casual tourists, the media, and their former inhabitants.
Mauritius sought to resume control over the Chagos Archipelago which was split from its territory by the UK in 1965 to form the British Indian Ocean Territory. Between 1968 and 1973 the Chagossians were expelled by the British government to Mauritius and Seychelles to allow the United States to establish a military base on the island. Today, the exiled Chagossians are still trying to return, claiming that the forced expulsion and dispossession was illegal.