The only inhabitants of this territory are American and British military personnel and associated contractors, with the territory being off-limits to casual tourists, Chagossians and the media. There use to be a native population, the aforementioned Chagossians, but they were expelled from the territory by the United Kingdom at the request of the United States in 1973, and the exiled Chagossians are still trying to return to this day, arguing that the forced expulsion and dispossession was illegal. There is also an ongoing territorial dispute between Mauritius and the UK over this territory, as it was separated from Mauritius in 1965.
During the Cold War, the territory serve as the U.S. and the UK's pressence in the Indian Ocean to counter any Soviet threat. B-52 Bombers and warships based in Diego Garcia saw action against Saddam Hussein's forces during the Gulf War. As the War on Terror commenced, it is also alleged to be a detainment facility for captured terrorists similar to the U.S. Naval facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The British Indian Ocean Territory recently gained media coverage in March 2014 after the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 after conspiracy theorists suggested it landed in Diego Garcia. The Pentagon denied such claims.
The British Indian Ocean Territory in fiction:
- 1983: Doomsday: The joint U.S./UK military facility in Diego Garcia is targeted by 10kt tactical Soviet nuclear weapon on Doomsday. Decades after Doomsday, the remaining islands of the Chagos archipelago is reclaimed by Mauritius and is designated as the Mauritius Indian Ocean Territory.
- In the Fanfic timeline of 28 Days Later called Death of A Nation has a 21-year old Andy Harris executed by firing squad in Diego Garcia on September 20, 2015 after being found guilty of being the perpetuator the Second London Outbreak and European Rage Epidemic.
- Dragon Strike 1997
- Invasion!: The Chinese People's Liberation Army - Navy reroutes the European fleet near Diego Garcia, all while U.S. Navy submarines stand idle on the orders of an incompetent U.S. President.
- Last Resort: The fictional island of Sainte Marina is located near or where Diego Garcia should be.
- Polandball: British Indian Ocean Territoryball.
The British Indian Ocean Territory flag