a group of over 90 islands in the Caribbean. The western ones have belonged to the US since 1917 and the eastern ones to Britain since 1666. Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit them, in 1493, and they have long been a popular place for tourists. The US Virgin Islands cover 133 square miles/344 square kilometres, with a population of more than 97 000. The capital is Charlotte Amalie. The British Virgin Islands cover 59 square miles/153 square kilometres, with a population of more than 13 000. The capital is Road Town.