MAP – Chagos Archipelago

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The Chagos Archipelago or Chagos Islands (formerly the Bassas de Chagas, and later the Oil Islands) is a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres (310 mi) south of the Maldives archipelago. This chain of islands is the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a long submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean.

In the north are Peros Banhos, Salomon Islands and Nelsons Island; in the south-west are Three Brothers, Eagle, Egmont and Danger Islands. Diego Garcia is the largest and lies in the southeast part of the Archipelago.

The Chagos was home to the Chagossians, a Bourbonnais Creole-speaking people, until the United Kingdom evicted them between 1967 and 1973 to allow the United States to build a military base on Diego Garcia. Since 1971, only the atoll of Diego Garcia is inhabited, and only by military and civilian contracted personnel. Since being expelled, the Chagossian have been prevented from returning to the islands.

When Mauritius was a French colony, the Chagos Islands were administered as a dependency of Mauritius. With the Treaty of Paris of 1814, France ceded Mauritius and its dependencies to the United Kingdom.

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