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Chagos Island Archipelago

Updated: Mar 1, 2023


The Chagos Archipelago is a group of islands located in the Indian Ocean, south of the Maldives and about 1000 nautical miles east of the Seychelles. The archipelago is made up of more than 50 small islands and islets, with a total land area of about 60 square kilometers.


The Chagos Archipelago was originally part of the British colony of Mauritius, but was separated from the colony in 1965, when the United Kingdom declared it a British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The population of the islands, which was primarily made up of people of African, Indian, and Malay descent, was forcibly removed between 1968 and 1973 by the British government to make way for a United States military base on the island of Diego Garcia.

The forced removal of the Chagossian people has been the subject of much controversy and legal action, with many arguing that it was a violation of human rights. In 2019, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion that the United Kingdom's separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 was unlawful, and that the United Kingdom must return the archipelago to Mauritius as soon as possible. The United Kingdom, however, has refused to comply with the ruling


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