Britain leased Diego Garcia to the United States in 1965. Several years later, the rest of the Chago's Islands were included. As a result, all of the inhabitants were forced to relocate and the United States built an air base on the island of Diego Garcia. While the original inhabitants have been fighting to be allowed back on the island, the House of Lords upheld a ruling in 2008 denying them entry. As of 2009, nobody is allowed on the islands without the permission of the United States. Consequently, unless you are a sailor in the U.S. Navy, you are not likely to set foot on these remote islands anytime soon.
Chagos Archipelago serves as a refuge for at least 220 coral species and over 1,000 species of fish. Moreover, the water surrounding the islands has been determined to be the cleanest water in the world. Because the islands an uninhabited (with the exception of Diego Garcia) many scientists believe the environment provides us with a nearly perfect model of how an an area exists without pollution and other environmental degradation. The Chagos Conservation Trust has been established by a group of scientists to promote the conservation of the area.
The largest individual islands are Diego Garcia, (27.20 km²), Eagle (Great Chagos Bank, 2.45 km²), Île Pierre (Peros Banhos, 1.50 km²), Eastern Egmont (Egmont Islands, 1.50 km²), Île du Coin (Peros Banhos, 1.28 km²) and Île Boddam (Salomon Islands, 1.08 km²). With the exception of Diego Garcia, none of these islands are inhabited. However, some of them serve as stopping points for sailors. Moreover, yachts have been known to cross through the waters surrounding them.