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Beneath Saint Ursula is a scroll that reads, in Latin, Vigilate (Be careful).BVI flora and fauna are symbolized on national stamps, and the tourist board's depiction of the BVI as "Nature's Little Secrets" also is a source of national pride.S.) is exceeded only by the per capita incomes of the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.The economic development that fostered radical demographic and social change has gone hand in hand with a growth in BVI nationalist sentiment. As legislative changes abetted BVI political autonomy and consolidation and as economic prosperity fostered a sense of economic security, improved transportation and communication among far-flung BVI islands and communities made possible centralized banking and a national educational system.
Tortola is the largest of the sixteen inhabited islands of the BVI, followed by Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke. With the exception of Anegada, which is a low-lying coral atoll, the islands of the BVI are hilly and dry, with rugged coastlines interrupted by coves, sandy beaches, and palm and mangrove swamps.
One finds numerous examples of traditional wooden hip-roofed houses throughout the countryside, and even contemporary buildings, that are constructed of concrete and cinder block incorporate into their design wide verandas, high ceilings, hip roofs, and bright colors.
Building codes establish strict guidelines for new home construction, and government legislation limits the size and height of hotels.
BVI's tropical climate and sandy beaches attract 400,000 tourists annually. The population of the BVI is approximately twenty thousand, with three-quarters on Tortola.
Fifty percent of the population is made up of native British Virgin Islanders, with the remainder comprised largely of nationals from other Caribbean countries.
, and were encountered by Columbus on 22 October 1493.