Souvenirs from British Indian Ocean Territory
Many native craftsmen are attempting to make souvenirs from the British Indian Ocean Territory, also called the Chagos Islands, in an effort to recapture the spirit of their people. Traditional boat making skills, which are not in demand in these modern times, are being used to create model ship replicas of centuries worth of sailing vessels to stock hotel gift shops and markets. They have also used their woodworking skills to create trunks, trinket boxes and other small wooden objects for sale. Coconut products, such as oil and milk, are also processed by native Chagossian citizens. Visitors to the Islands who are seeking memorabilia should also visit the post office to seek out special commemorative stamps, featuring celebrities, international political figures and other intriguing subject matter. You will also be able to find photos postcards, T-shirts, water globes, printed key chains and colorful refrigerator magnets to use as Chagossian souvenirs.
A Brief Overlook of the British Indian Ocean Territory
The British Indian Ocean Territory, also known as the Chagos Archipelago, was first discovered by stranded Maldivian fishermen and traders. They would often be rescued from these islands, but no permanent colony was every established here, as it has decided the location was too far away from the Maldives. Vasco de Gama officially charted Chagos in the 1500's, but no settlement occurred here until the 18th century, when France claimed it as a part of Mauritius. As a part of the Treaty of Paris in the early 1800's, the United Kingdom was given the entire territory. In 1965, the Chagos Archipelago was combined with 3 other islands from the Seychelles to form the British Indian Ocean Territory as a strategic military facility. The 3 islands were returned to Seychelles when it gained independence in 1976. Many of the native Chaggossian population were forcibly transferred from the homes in order to create room for military bases, an effort that is still being protested to this day.