Like France, the Netherlands, and arguably the United States, the United Kingdom retains a number of vestiges of its formerly vast empire on which the sun never sat (until it did). These take two forms - Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.

The relationship of the United Kingdom with these is complicated and none are part of the integral United Kingdom (that is solely made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland).

The British Crown Dependencies

There are three Crown Dependencies and these are self-governing possessions of the British Crown. People in these countries consider themselves to be independent countries with the British just responsible for defense, foreign affairs, and the like. They are basically akin to miniature states with wide powers of self-government.

  • Status: Territories For Which The United Kingdom Is Responsible

The Bailiwick of Guernsey:

The Bailiwick of Guernsey is one of the states making up the Channel Islands. It was separated from the Duchy of Normandy in 1204 with its main island being Guernsey (the largest), Alderney, and Sark.

  • Population: 67,000
  • Date: 1204 - Separated From The Duchy of Normandy
  • Size: 844/km2 (2,185.9/sq miles)

The Bailiwick of Jersey:

The Bailiwick of Jersey is the other of the Channel Islands and is the larger one of the Channel Islands. Like Guernsey, while it was separated from the Duchy of Normandy being lost to the kings of England in the 13th century, it never became part of the Kingdom of England.

  • Population: 108,000
  • Size: 119.6 km2 (46.2 sq miles)

The Isle of Man:

The Isle of Man is a very quaint and stunning island in the Irish Sea. It is famous for annual racing and is a very chill and quiet place to visit for the rest of the year. It is easily reached by ferry from England or by flight.

It has a long and complex history being variously controlled by Scotland, England, and the Vikings. People of the Isle of Man are called "Manx".

  • Population: 84,000
  • Size: 148/km2 (383.3/sq mi)

Related: Discover The Rabbit Warren Of The Military Tunnels Of Gibraltar

What To Know Of The British Overseas Territories

The United Kingdom retains 14 British Overseas Territories. They are the last remnants of the former British Empire that spanned a quarter of the world's landmass. The Empire was so large that if all the countries were put back into the empire now, it would account for around a third of the world's population.

None of these territories are part of the United Kingdom itself and some are not even permanently inhabited. Some hare internally self-governing with the UK retaining responsibility for defense and foreign relations (as was put on display in the 1982 Falklands War).

Three of the territories are only inhabited by a transitory population of military or scientific personnel. Some of the territories have disputes with other states including Argentina claiming the Falkland Islands and Spain claiming Gibraltar.

These territories are far-flung from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, to the South Atlantic, to the Indian Ocean, to the Pacific Ocean.

Related: Why Tiny Gibraltar Is Worth Visiting (And How You Can See Its Resident Monkeys)

List of British Overseas Territories


  • Location: The Caribbean
  • Size: 91 km2 (35.1 sq miles)
  • Population: 15,000
  • Capital: The Valley
  • Dispute: None


  • Location: North Atlantic
  • Size: 54 km2 (20.8 sq miles)
  • Population: 62,000
  • Capital: Hamilton
  • Dispute: None

British Antarctic Territory:

  • Location: Antarctica
  • Size: 1,709,400 km2 (660,000 sq mi)
  • Population: 0 (50 Non-Permanent Winter Scientists and 400 Summer Scientists
  • Capital: Not Applicable
  • Dispute: Argentina and Chile (No Antarctic Claim Recognised By Many Countries Including The United States

British Indian Ocean Territory:

  • Location: Indian Ocean
  • Size: 60 km2 (23 sq miles)
  • Population: 0 (3,000 Non-Permanent American and British Defense Personal)
  • Capital: Not Applicable
  • Dispute: Claimed by Mauritius

British Virgin Islands:

  • Location: The Caribbean
  • Size: 153 km2 (59 sq miles)
  • Population: 32,000
  • Capital: Road Town
  • Dispute: None

Cayman Islands:

  • Location: The Caribbean
  • Size: 264 km2 (101 sq miles)
  • Population: 70,000
  • Capital: George Town
  • Dispute: None

Falkland Islands:

  • Location: South Atlantic Ocean
  • Size: 12,000 km2 (4,700 sq miles)
  • Population: 3,400 (Plus 1,350 British Military Personnel)
  • Capital: Stanley
  • Dispute: Claimed by Argentina


  • Location: The Iberian Peninsula At The Entrance to the Mediterranean
  • Size: 6.5 km2 (2.5 sq miles)
  • Population: 34,000
  • Capital: Not Applicable
  • Dispute: Claimed By Spain


Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands:

  • Location: Pacific Ocean
  • Size: 47 km2 (18 sq miles)
  • Population: 50
  • Capital: Adamstown
  • Dispute: None

Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha:

  • Location: South Atlantic Ocean
  • Size: 420 km2 (162 sq miles)
  • Population: 5,600
  • Capital: Jamestown
  • Dispute: None

South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands:

  • Location: South Atlantic Ocean
  • Size: 3,900 km2 (1,500 sq miles)
  • Population: 0
  • Capital: Not Applicable
  • Dispute: Claimed By Argentina

Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia:

  • Location: Cyprus
  • Size: 255 km2 (98 sq miles)
  • Population: 8,000
  • Capital: Episkopi Cantonment
  • Dispute: None

Turks and Caicos Islands:

  • Location: North Atlantic Ocean
  • Size: 950 km2 (366 sq miles)
  • Population: 38,000
  • Capital: Cockburn Town
  • Dispute: None

Next: So, What Caribbean Islands Are Still Owned By Other Countries?