The Virgin islands- Caribbean
The Virgin islands Contain Three small Islands:
Largest City: Christiansted Population:
Largest City: Cruz Bay Population:4,197
Largest City: Charlotte Population: 51,181
The United States Virgin Islands is a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United
States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward
Islands of the Lesser Antilles.
The U.S. Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Saint
Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas, along with the much smaller but historically distinct Water
Island, and many other surrounding minor islands. The total land area of the territory is 133.73 square miles
(346.4 km2). As of the 2000 census the population was 108,612.
The main islands have nicknames often used by locals: "Twin City" (St. Croix), "Rock City" (St. Thomas), "Love
City" (St. John), and "Small City" (Water Island).
Main article: History of the United States Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands were originally settled by the Ciboney, Carib, and Arawaks. The islands were
named by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493 for Saint Ursula and her virgin
followers. Over the next three hundred years, the islands were held by many European powers,
including Spain, Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Denmark-Norway.
The Danish West India Company settled on Saint Thomas in 1672, on Saint John in 1694, and
purchased Saint Croix from France in 1733. The islands became royal Danish colonies in 1754, named
the Danish-West Indian islands - De dansk-vestindiske øer in Danish. Sugarcane, produced by slave
labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries, until the abolition of
slavery by Governor Peter von Scholten on July 3, 1848.
For the remainder of the period of Danish rule, the islands were not economically viable and
significant transfers were made from the Danish state budgets to the authorities in the islands. In
1867 a treaty to sell Saint Thomas and Saint John to the United States was agreed, but the sale was
never affected. A number of reforms aimed at reviving the islands' economy were attempted, but none
had great success. A second draft treaty to sell the islands to the United States was negotiated in
1902 but was narrowly defeated in the Danish parliament.
The onset of World War I brought the reforms to a close and again left the islands isolated and
exposed. During the submarine warfare phases of the First World War, the United States, fearing
that the islands might be seized by Germany as a submarine base, again approached Denmark with a
view to buying them. After a few months of negotiations, a selling price of $25 million was agreed.
The Danish Crown may have felt some pressure to accept the sale, thinking that the United States
would seize the islands if Denmark was invaded by Germany. At the same time the economics of
continued possession weighed heavily on the minds of Danish decision makers, and a bipartisan
consensus in favor of selling emerged in the Danish parliament. A subsequent referendum held in
late 1916 confirmed the decision to sell by a wide margin. The deal was thus finalized on January
17, 1917, when the United States and Denmark exchanged their respective treaty ratifications. The
U.S. took possession of the islands on March 31, 1917 and the territory was renamed the Virgin
Islands of the United States.
U.S. citizenship was granted to the inhabitants of the islands in 1927.
Water Island, a small island to the south of Saint Thomas, was initially administered by the
U.S. Federal government and did not become a part of the U.S. Virgin Islands territory until 1996,
when 50 acres (20 ha) of land was transferred to the territorial government. The remaining 200
acres (81 ha) of the island were purchased from the US Department of the Interior in May 2005 for
$10, a transaction which marked the official change in jurisdiction
Virgin Islander culture represents the various peoples that have inhabited the present-day U.S.
Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands throughout history. Although both territories are
politically separate, they maintain close cultural ties.
Like much of the English speaking Caribbean, Virgin Islander culture is syncretic, deriving
chiefly from West African, European and American influences. Though the Danish controlled the
present-day U.S. Virgin Islands for many years, the dominant language has been an English-based
Creole since the 19th century, and the islands remain much more receptive to English language
popular culture than any other. The Dutch, the French and the Danish also contributed elements to
the island's culture, as have immigrants from the Arab world, India and other Caribbean islands.
The single largest influence on modern Virgin Islander culture, however, comes from the Africans
enslaved to work in canfields from the 17th to the mid-19th century. These African slaves brought
with them traditions from across a wide swathe of Africa, including what is now Nigeria, Senegal,
both Congos, Gambia and Ghana.
Virgin Islands culture continues to undergo creolization, the result of inter-Caribbean
migration and cultural contact with other islands in the region, as well as the United States.
Migration has altered the social landscape of both countries to the extent that in the British
Virgin Islands, half of the population is of foreign (mostly Caribbean) origin and in the U.S.
Virgin Islands, most native-born residents can trace their ancestry to other Caribbean
The U.S. Virgin Islands enjoy a dry climate, moderated by trade winds. Temperatures vary little throughout the
year. In the capital, Charlotte Amalie, typical daily maximum temperatures are around 91 °F (33 °C) in the summer
and 86 °F (30 °C) in the winter. Typical daily minimum temperatures are around 78 °F (26 °C) in the summer and 72
°F (22 °C) in the winter. Rainfall averages about 38 inches (965 mm) per year. Rainfall can be quite variable, but
the wettest months on average are September to November and the driest months on average are February and March.
Hurricanes occasionally hit the islands, with the hurricane season running from June to November.
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