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British Indian Ocean Territory

Background

British Indian Ocean Territory

The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's five oceans (after the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, but larger than the Southern Ocean and Arctic Ocean). Four critically important access waterways are the Suez Canal (Egypt), Bab el Mandeb (Djibouti-Yemen), Strait of Hormuz (Iran-Oman), and Strait of Malacca (Indonesia-Malaysia). The decision by the International Hydrographic Organization in the spring of 2000 to delimit a fifth ocean, the Southern Ocean, removed the portion of the Indian Ocean south of 60 degrees south latitude.

About

British Indian Ocean Territory is unsurprisingly among the islands of the Indian Ocean, south of India, about halfway between Madagascar and Indonesia.

Read more about British Indian Ocean Territory in our British Indian Ocean Territory travel guide »

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British Indian Ocean Territory

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British Indian Ocean Territory

Capital
Diego Garcia
Location

body of water between Africa, the Southern Ocean, Asia, and Australia

Geographic coordinates

20 00 S, 80 00 E

Area comparative

about 5.5 times the size of the US

Coastline

66,526 km

Climate

northeast monsoon (December to April), southwest monsoon (June to October); tropical cyclones occur during May/June and October/November in the northern Indian Ocean and January/February in the southern Indian Ocean

Terrain

surface dominated by counterclockwise gyre (broad, circular system of currents) in the southern Indian Ocean; unique reversal of surface currents in the northern Indian Ocean; low atmospheric pressure over southwest Asia from hot, rising, summer air results in the southwest monsoon and southwest-to-northeast winds and currents, while high pressure over northern Asia from cold, falling, winter air results in the northeast monsoon and northeast-to-southwest winds and currents; ocean floor is dominated by the Mid-Indian Ocean Ridge and subdivided by the Southeast Indian Ocean Ridge, Southwest Indian Ocean Ridge, and Ninetyeast Ridge

Lowest point

Java Trench -7,258 m

Highest point

sea level 0 m

Natural resources

oil and gas fields, fish, shrimp, sand and gravel aggregates, placer deposits, polymetallic nodules

Ports and terminals

Chennai (Madras; India), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Durban (South Africa), Jakarta (Indonesia), Kolkata (Calcutta; India) Melbourne (Australia), Mumbai (Bombay; India), Richards Bay (South Africa)

Other countries in the region