"Chagos archipelago and the Chagossians (Ilois)" British Indian Ocean Territory by Ekahau

Is Ilos spoken anymore

So do you want to see Chagos Islands (BIOT) 2,300 beautiful little Island with nobody living on them (just one base) or the Chagossians. If you want to met the Chagossian people you need to go to Mauritius because they live there now. I had the wonderful experiance of visiting the Islands of BIOT once, in 1983 and the Chagossian people, on Mauritius 8 times between 1987 and 1991.
All I can say is I was shocked at the living conditions of the Chagossian people.

The Overseas British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). is an archipelago of 2,300 islands; Diego Garcia, largest and southernmost island with its “joint” US-UK military facility, is what most people think of if they think at all about this VT destination.

Location: Southern Asia, archipelago in the Indian Ocean, about one-half the way from Africa to Indonesia
Unfortunately for the people that use to live in the Islands before 1966 it occupied a strategic location in central Indian Ocean during much of the cold war. The name of the island archipelago is the Chagos archipelago and the people that are from this place are Chagossians. The Chagos archipelago was part of Mauritius which had been a British colony for 150 years until 1968 when Mauritius became independent. In 1966 following US UK talks Britain and America reached agreement on the establishment of a major American military base on Diego Garcia, one of the islands that make up the Chagos Archipelago. In order to facilitate the establishment of the base, Britain detached the Chagos from Mauritius on 8 November 1965 and created the new British colony known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The Chagossians.who live in the Chagos archipelago were ordered to move to Mauritius. This was very similar to what happen to the Islanders that inhabited Bikin when it was need to do the H-bomb testing. Between 1965 and 1973 the entire Chagossian population of some 2000 people was forcibly evacuated, 1400 to Mauritius and 600 to Seychelles. The Chagossian language is know as Ilos and it is a part of the specific culture that developed in Chagos over those 200 years of French and British control.
By the way the status of the Islands is officially disputed claimed by both the UK and Mauritius and the UN does not recognize the British claim..


In 1776 ,the Chagos Islands became a French possession and remained so for the ensuing forty years. Shortly after the French took possession of it in 1776 French colons were encouraged to go and open up the islands. They were granted land concessions. As incentives to start copra plantations the colons were provided with seeds and animals and allowed to bring in African slaves. The Chagossians are descendent of the mixture that resulted between the French and the African slaves with some mixture with the other peoples of French Asian of the 1700ed (part of India and Indochina were French controlled). In 1814 the French lost at Waterloo, Napoleon was dropped of in St Helena and the ship proceed on to Port Louis , Mauritius where the place was ceded along with Chagos to Britain.

Chagossians can go home

Friday, 3 November, 2000 The Chagossians won in Britsh court the right to return home with the help of The Labour MP for Linlithgow Tam's Isle or Isla Dalyell is named after Tam Dalyell in thanks for his help.

So may be this will be an easer to get to VT distination


Pros and Cons
  • Pros:hard to get to
  • Cons:hard to get to
  • In a nutshell:wonderful unspoiled part of the planet
  • Last visit to British Indian Ocean Territory: Jan 1991
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (15)

Comments (28)

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    Jul 1, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    What an extraordinarily obscure page - and a fabulous read! This is what VT should be about!

  • mayasun's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2008 at 11:39 AM

    I am so impress after, Europa, Basa da India, you are now in BIOT . Just spectacular I bet there are maybe a handful of people who have been to all the places you have been. It's a great inspiration. Keep us inform and sharing. Thank You

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2008 at 8:39 AM

    Paul, congratulations on your numerous exciting visits to those remote places! Thanks a lot!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Dec 6, 2007 at 8:11 AM

    A very complicated situation perhaps handled poorly. Why not choose an uninhabited island? It can't be both a restricted nature preserve & a military base in reality. On the other hand, it is unbelievably beautiful. Wish I had a postcard from here!!

  • AALEX's Profile Photo
    Jul 26, 2007 at 4:00 AM

    So sad about these poor people made to move it would be like the french putting us on a boat and moving us from St Pierre so sad

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2007 at 7:09 AM


  • ollyf's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2007 at 9:16 AM

    Great stuff - just my kind of place! Wouldn't mind pitching up here and dodging the planes for a while :)

  • NeverBeenThere's Profile Photo
    Apr 5, 2007 at 6:04 PM

    beautiful gallery!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2007 at 11:04 AM

    Oh my god, this must be heaven ! I can't get enough of the blue colours and the out of this world atmosphere in your photos. Good that the locals could move back home. And.. yes, now I know the coconut crab of the forum post :-)

  • Jan 27, 2007 at 10:20 PM

    Kudos for a great page, Paul!! Next stop: Mars? (grin)


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