British Virgin Islands government publications continue to begin with the name "The territory of the Virgin Islands", and the territory's passports simply refer to the "Virgin Islands", and all laws begin with the words "Virgin Islands".Moreover, the territory's Constitutional Commission has expressed the view that "every effort should be made" to encourage the use of the name "Virgin Islands".
The first European sighting of the Virgin Islands was by Christopher Columbus in 1493 on his second voyage to the Americas.
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The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom approximately 23,500 lived on Tortola.
British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well.
This is commonly believed to distinguish it from the neighbouring American territory which changed its name from the "Danish West Indies" to "Virgin Islands of the United States" in 1917.