U.S. Virgin Islands History

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History[edit | edit source]

This territory of the United States was a territory of Denmark from the 1600s until 1917. The U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, were purchased from Denmark on January 17, 1917. They are about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico, in the northeast Caribbean Sea, helping to separate the Caribbean from the North Atlantic Ocean.

The U.S. Virgin Islands lie southwest of the British Virgin Islands. In Danish records they are called De Danskvestindiske Øer.

The early economy centered around cane sugar plantations worked by African slaves. Slaves were emancipated in 1848. Sugar cane lost its competitive advantage by the 1800s. Now, tourism has become the major industry.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

Settled by the Ciboney, Carib, and Arawaks
1493 - Spanish Arrival
1625 - Dutch Settlement on St. Croix and abandoned by 1645
1650 - Spanish occupation on St. Croix
1651 - French Settlements
1672 - The Danish West India & Guinea Company settle on St. Thomas
1694 - The Danish West India & Guinea Company settle on St. John
1695 - The French abandon St. Croix
1733 - The Danish West India & Guinea Co. purchase St. Croix from the French
1754 - The Virgin Islands were proclaimed a Royal Danish Colony
1792 - Danish Crown issued a 10-year grace period for the abolition of the slave trade that became effective in 1803
1801 - 1802 British occupation during Napoleonic Wars
1803 - Abolition of the slave trade.
1820's - 1840's - Economic depression as sugar beet production in Europe replaced the need for sugar cane
1848 - Slaves Freed
1878 - Frederiksted is burned dduring a social revolt
1917 - The Danish government sells the Danish U.S. Virgin Islands to the United States Government
Reference: World History at KMLA

Historic Economic Activities[edit | edit source]

  • Tobacco
  • Indigo
  • Sugar (from sugar cane)
  • Last Sugar harvest 1966
  • Oil (St.Croix)
  • Tourism

Websites[edit | edit source]