A dependency of the British Crown since 1765, the Isle of Man, situated in the Irish Sea, midway between England, Scotland and Ireland has the oldest parliament in the world in continuous existence (since 979) and was the first country anywhere to give women the vote (in 1881). It is an Independent State with a long history, distinctive language and culture, and many proud traditions. Manx coinage was used intermittently from the Middle Ages onwards and regularly from 1679 to 1841. It was revived again in the 1960s and both circulating coins and collectors versions are now issued.
The Isle of Man has established an enviable reputation for innovation combined with technical excellence, with such notable achievements are the World's first circulation base-metal pound coin (1979), the only seven sided coins with an edge inscription, the first coins inscribed in Braille, the World's first bi-metal coin in gold and titanium and the first Christmas coins. Such coins as the platinum Noble, the gold Angel and the award-winning Penny Black Crown have placed the Isle of Man in the forefront of contemporary numismatics.
Ascension Island is a British Overseas Territory located in the South Atlantic and covers an area of 34 square miles. The island is volcanic and enjoys warm weather all year round. There are five settlements on the island, with Georgetown being the administrative capital and port. The island is home to around 1,100 inhabitants, mostly Saint Helenians but also 200 British and 150 US Citizens.
The British Antarctic Territory is situated in Antarctica and lies south of latitude 60°S and between longitudes 20° and 80°W. The Territory comprises the Antarctic Peninsula with all adjacent islands, the South Orkney and South Shetlands and the Weddell Sea, as well as the landmass extending to the South Pole.
The Chagos Islands were first discovered by Portuguese mariners in the early 16th century. The French assumed sovereignty more than two centuries later and began to exploit the hitherto uninhabited islands for copra in the 1780s. The Islands became British when ceded by France to Britain, together with Mauritius and Seychelles, in 1814. Prior to Mauritius achieving independence and with the agreement of the Mauritius Council of Ministers, the Islands were detached in 1965 to form part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.
The British Virgin Islands is a British Overseas Territory, located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The Islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constituting the U.S Virgin Islands. The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke along with fifty other smaller islands and cays. Approximately fifteen of the islands are inhabited. The largest island, Tortola and the islands have a total population of about 22,000, of whom approximately 18,000 live on Tortola.
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located 300 miles from the coast of Argentina, 671 miles west of South Georgia, and 584 miles north of the British Antarctic Territory. There are two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, as well as 776 smaller islands. Stanley, on East Falkland, is the capital. The Islands are a self-governing Oversea Territory of the United Kingdom.
Liberia is situated in West Africa bordering Sierra Leone, Guinea Republic and Côte d'Ivoire and has a population of just under 3 million people. The country is richly endowed with water, mineral resources, and a climate favourable to agriculture. The oldest republic in Africa, established in 1847, Liberia has been divided spiritually between descendants of the first settlers and the local people. This division erupted into civil war in 1989, but peace has returned with the democratic election of the current government.
Among the Queen's far-reaching territories is the small, but historically important group of islands known as the Pitcairn Islands. They're located in the South Pacific Ocean midway between Peru and New Zealand. One of the islands is inhabited (with a population of around 50 people who live in the settlement of Adamstown) and the other three remain uninhabited, but are regularly visited by Pitcairn residents. The Islands are important because they were the landing point for the mutineers of HMAV Bounty, including the notorious Fletcher Christian. The group arrived on the islands in January 1790 and their descendants inhabit the island today.
The Seychelles consists of 115 different islands situated in the Indian Ocean. Made up of both granite and coral islands and described as one of the most unspoilt environments on earth, 46% of the land is set aside for National Parks, Nature Reserves and Protected Areas and more than 200 species of fish and 250 types of coral are found on the Islands reefs. The Island of Mah contains the capital, Victoria and is a true holiday paradise.
Sierra Leone is situated on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Guinea to the north, Liberia to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It was annexed in 1787, and settled first by former slaves who had fought for the British in the American Revolution and then later by others who had been freed from slave ships on their way to the Americas (the national capital is, appropriately, called Freetown). it formally became a colony in 1808, remaining under British rule until independence in 1961. In more recent years, the Country has suffered from internal strife but the warring parties are now laying down their arms and normailty is returning.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. This Territory was formed in 1985; previously they were governed as part of the Falkland Islands dependencies. The Territory is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, the South Sandwich Islands. There is no native population on any of the islands, and the only present inhabitants are the British Government Officer, the Deputy Postmaster and mainly scientists, as well as museum staff at nearby Grytviken.
Vanuatu is an archipelago of islands based in the South Pacific Ocean. It was first inhabited by Melanesian people but Europeans began to settle in the area in the late 18th century. In the 1880s France and the United Kingdom claimed parts of the country and in 1906 they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago as the New Hebrides through a British-French Condominium. Gaining Independence from France and Britain in 1980, Vanuatu is experiencing an economic upturn thanks to better access via Air, expanding Tourism and a good relationship with Australia.