12 Facts About Chagossians


Chagossians are a currently exiled Creole ethnic group native to the Chagos Islands, specifically Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos, and the Salomon island chain, as well as other parts of the Chagos Archipelago, from the late 18th century until the middle of 20th century.

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Today, no Chagossians are allowed to live on the island of Diego Garcia, as it is the site of the military base dubbed Camp Thunder Cove.

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Chagossians speak Chagossian Creole, a French-based creole language whose vocabulary incorporates words originating in various African and Asian languages and is part of the Bourbonnais Creole family.

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In February 2022, five Chagossians visited the disputed archipelago with the assistance of Mauritius, fifty years after the United Kingdom forcibly exiled them.

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Between 1967 and 1973, the Chagossians, then numbering over 1,000 people, were expelled by the British government, first to the island of Peros Banhos, 100 miles away from their homeland, and then, in 1973, to Mauritius.

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The Chagossians owned no real property on the islands and lived in housing provided for farm workers by the absentee landowners of the plantations.

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In early April 2006, in an excursion organised and financed by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a group of around a hundred Chagossians were permitted to visit the British Indian Ocean Territory for the first time in over thirty years.

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On 11 May 2006, the Chagossians won their case in the High Court of Justice in England, which found that they were entitled to return to the Chagos Archipelago.

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Armed with the WikiLeaks revelations, the Chagossians launched an appeal, seeking a judgement that the reserve was unlawfully aimed at preventing them from returning home.

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In June 2013, the pair of judges turned down the appeal brought by the Chagossians, ruling that the reserve was compatible with EU law.

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When we Chagossians lived on our islands, the seas and lagoons were pristine.

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Chagossians asserted that establishing a marine park would, in effect, put paid to resettlement claims of the archipelago's former residents.

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