Pobjoy Mint issues First Coin for British Indian Ocean Territories
The British Indian Ocean Territories is a selection of Islands located halfway between India and Indonesia in the Chagos Archipelago. They were administered by Mauritius until 1965 and in 1976 some of the Islands were granted to Seychelles when it attained independence. The remaining six groups of Islands has held it's status as a British Overseas Territory through to today.
In earlier days a number of the BIOT Islands were inhabited, but UK policy forced relocation of most people to Mauritius or Seychelles over the years. Chagossians have fought against this forced relocation and have won some compensation, but in the end the UK court system has upheld their own immigration policies, leaving mose of the islands uninhabitied, with the exception of Diego Garcia, which houses a very strategic joint UK-US naval support base. It's a messy situation between the US, UK and the Chagossians, who want to return to thier Islands.
Two coins are being struck for the British Indian Ocean Territories by the Pobjoy Mint. Both host the same design which features QE II on the obverse and BIOT Arms supported indigenous sea turtles on the reverse. The legend on the reverse indicates that this is indeed the first commemorative issue from this territory. The copper nickel versious is priced at 8.65 Pounds and the silver proof strike is available from Pobjoy for 39.09 Pounds. Check this link to the Pobjoy website for ordering information.
While I really do enjoy adding new countries into the Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001-Date edition, I have mixed feelings about this issue. On the up side, it's great for collectors to have commemorative coins finally issued for the BIOT, on the down side it's a shame that native Chagossians are no longer able to enjoy their homelands.