The students in Professor Dominic Alessio’s International History class (HST 6225 Culture, Power & Empire) at Richmond recently attended an illuminating in class talk at our Kensington Campus by guest speaker President Allen Vincatassin, President of the Provisional Government of Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands Council.

President Allen talked to the students about the history of the islands and the way in which the UK, Mauritius and the US arranged to evict his people in order to build the big US military base there.

The history of the islands is fascinating. The secretive base may be 1,000 miles from the nearest continent, but it has all the trappings of a modern American town. While cars drive on the right hand side of the road, Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands are leased to America and are, in fact, a remote remnant of the British Empire.  Diego Garcia has helped to launch two invasions of Iraq and served as a vital landing spot for bombers that fly missions across Asia, including over the South China Sea.  Now Britain has been instructed to return the Islands to Mauritius.