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chief town and port of Tortola Island and tourist centre for the British Virgin Islands, situated on the western side of Road Bay about halfway along the southern coast. The name derives from the nautical term "the roads," a place less sheltered than a harbour but in which ships may lie at anchor. A 67-acre (27-hectare) area called Wickham's Cay was joined to the mainland as part of a large reclamation project undertaken to develop tourism. Fires periodically swept the town, and the oldest extant building dates from 1840 (though some water cisterns are older). Pop. (2000 est.) 8,000.