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 United States 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.
[1]

Sovereign History[edit | edit source]

  • Sovereignty. The earliest European colonization of what is now the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) involved Spain, the Netherlands, Knights of Malta, and England trading control of the islands. [1] [2]
  • St. Thomas  The Netherlands colonized St. Thomas in 1657. Denmark conquered the island in 1666. Great Britain invaded St. Thomas in 1801, but returned it to Denmark in 1802. Great Britain again seized control of St. Thomas (and St. Croix) in 1807 and stayed until 1815. [3]
  • St. John  Denmark settled St. John in 1718. [4]
  • St. Croix  In 1650 France took control of St. Croix. In 1733 Denmark purchased St. Croix and added it to St. Thomas and St. John to create the Danish West Indies. Great Britain seized control of both St. Croix and St. Thomas in 1807 and stayed until 1815. [2]

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]

  1. History of the United States Virgin Islands in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 15 October 2015).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 15 October 2015).
  3. Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 15 October 2015).
  4. Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 15 October 2015).